North Korea Op/Ed

Mike’s answers to 10 questions regarding his article Casey and Yeon-mi ‘Puppet’ Show

Written by Mike Bassett

Before we start, I want to let the audience know that my goal is to simply make the world a better place for all of us. I appreciate the opportunity I am being given to communicate with, and connect with people who I have regretfully upset – as it was never my intent to do so. Thank you. – Mike Bassett

Mike’s article Casey and Yeon-mi ‘Puppet’ Show was published on Monday. Click here to read the article. The following questions were asked by people who read his previous article.


Question 1. Have you bothered to actually watch/attend/listen to any of Park Yeon-mi’s speeches? If so, how many and for how long?

Answer 1: I’ve listened to her very carefully over the course of the past year. Hearing a defector publicly state what many analysts already recognized – that the rise of black markets and information inflow were reducing dependency on the regime, causing independent thinking, and empowering them to achieve their goals of attaining individual freedoms and material goods – has been absolutely fascinating.

That said, I am raising criticism because like so many other analysts have noticed, there was an irrefutable change in her narrative and behavior, which seems to have pivoted around the time that Casey Lartigue began to pave her path to celebrity status.

Her speech from a LiNK event above shows her happy, peppy, and speaking in her natural voice. Her speech about the markets sounded very organic, natural, apolitical, and unscripted.

Her speech from last week at the One Young World Summit had a clear political agenda, and was highly dramatic, and highly sensationalized.

It focused on the “horrors and brutality of the regime” and made three recommendations 1. Raise awareness of this narrative, 2. Donate to financially support refugees, and 3. Pressure `China to stop repatriation. The audience was left with a very skewed impression that has more to do with politics than her original narratives.

I fully agree with her recommendations, but feel that had she been “beating her own drum,” the speech would’ve focused more on how to actually help improve the lives of the 24 million North Koreans still being oppressed by the regime – and advocated recommendations to incite the Korean Spring such as; empowering markets, getting information in, and fostering people-to-people exchanges.


Question 2. Do you have any evidence whatsoever to back up that Yeon-mi is a puppet and to back up that Casey is a puppet master who is pulling her strings?

Answer:   I think the burden of proof lies on Casey and Yeon-mi.  Instead of earnestly addressing their critics’ concerns, they’ve responded with hostility and name-calling. I am merely asking questions based on observable phenomenon. If there was a legitimate explanation for these observations, I believe they would have calmly provided it at least a month ago.

Mike blog

Mike’s blog,

My blog’s focus is to monitor and foster discourse about international narratives and the negative impact they have on resolving the Korean conflict. I understand that it will upset a great many people but it is a selfless and worthwhile endeavor in my opinion. I think this is what EAHRNK and LiNK have been talking about when they discuss the importance of “changing the narrative.” I believe the truth will set people free.

Additionally, I feel it necessary to point out that it is not my agenda to “get famous by humiliating Yeon-mi,” rather I am trying to shed light on a much larger machine that they are merely cogs in the wheel of – because their current advocacy is counterproductive to progress on human rights in North Korea front.


Question 3. Why are you such a commie?

10735645_10203842813847931_1485173896_nAnswer: Questions like this represent how emotional and controversial an issue this is. Here I am a U.S. Army veteran who was severely injured in the line of duty, who still works in DC, who still puts my life in danger to initiate projects designed to liberate North Korea, yet am labeled a “commie.” It really defies logic. It is hurtful, and borders libel and slander. I get it though.

People feel personally threatened when their own views are called into question. So I again want to iterate that I think Yeon-mi – like many defectors and refugees – is a victim  (or cogs in the wheel) of a larger machine that is part agenda, part resultant of human nature, and totally destroys chances of progress in global human relations. Stories don’t sell unless they’re sensationalized and cause a stir of emotions. That addiction to the sensational is really politically counterproductive.


Question 4. You are a pro-North Korean apologizer? Don’t you think the U.S. is worse than North Korea?


Mike with South Korean comedian Noh Hong-chul in Seoul

Answer: I am a humanitarian that believes in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as it applies universally. Sadly, most have a pedagogically flawed understanding of North Korea and apparently care little about human rights in the universal sense.

Sensationalized rhetoric is easy to get away with because North Korea has a long history of lying & propaganda; and severely lacks freedom of the press. These factors undermine general knowledge of progress actually taking place in the country, and allows for external actors to get away with saying anything they want about the situation.

There are atrocities going on everywhere in the world, but because North Korea is so isolated we focus on what little information we can get on about the country. The most popular rhetoric revolves around nukes and human rights abuses, while generally ignoring other developments or reforms actually taking place – or just have a skewed perspective of them. That does not make me an apologist or mean that I don’t recognize how bad it is there. “Analytically objective and detached” would describe me much more appropriately if I must be “placed in a box.”

North Korea, while systematically brutal and disturbingly inhumane, is to some extent a product of its environment, like an abused dog in a cage, but far from the only “brutal beast” on the planet. North Korea has for centuries and even millennia been a “speedbump” in historical regional conflicts. Their brutal survivalist mentality is very much attributable to that historical development. That path has very much led to their image as the “boogeyman of Asia”.

The conflict needs be humanized, and the world needs to decide whether to reform (respectfully engage) the dog or put it to sleep (combat offensive). Keeping it in a cage and beating it (sanctions, demonization, & isolation) is not productive. It only makes the dog grow meaner over time (and 60 years is long enough to grow pretty mean).

As a final and lighter more anecdotal defense, I would refer you to the rap video I made in the country where we “busted rhymes on the Palace of the Sun” – something that obviously offended them deeply. If I were an apologist I would’ve made something that glorified them, which I did not.


Question 5. Can you clarify and provide evidence of the statement: “Since her rise to fame Yeon-mi’s messages have changed”?

CaptureAnswer: When Yeon-mi hit the scene she spoke about how she played Mario Brothers, watched foreign romance and actions films, travelled the country, went swimming and hiking etc. She was a Pyongyang elite and lived like one. She’s shared photos of herself as a child wearing t-shirts that said “princess” on them and group photos of her family who were in the Korean Workers’ Party and Korean People’s Army.

I understand that her life was vastly different after her father’s arrest but that does not validate her sensational rhetoric. In her recent interviews she claimed that there’s a holocaust going on, that she saw bodies piled up everywhere, and that she had to eat insects and grass to survive.

These are obvious untruths and should not be accepted simply because “they could have happened” – according to one journalist who defended her rhetoric about Kim Jong-un machine-gunning 80 in a stadium. [On that note, a Seoul-based EFE correspondent threatened me saying that If I am man enough, I should come to Seoul and have a face-to-face with him before I think of further pursuing this issue. If I cannot expect integrity from journalists, how can I expect it from anybody else?]

There’s an obvious difference between when she tells the truth and when she doesn’t. It can be seen in her speech where she appears giving crocodile tears reminiscent (why was she crying?) of those North Koreans gave when Kim Jong-il died. Her tears suddenly stopped when she made her political recommendations. Her political recommendations seemed a lot less sincere than when she spoke about the jangmadangs and getting information into the country. You can see the difference in facial expression and hear it in her tone.

One reason I believe that she wore the hanbok to her summit speech is because it signals to audiences subliminally (or directly for Koreans) an image of purity, innocence, tradition, and honor. Her moniker “I followed the stars to freedom” – in the same sense gives her the appearance of being small, vulnerable, in a hopeless dark void, cold, alone, frail, helpless, innocent, and with just specks of light at the end of her tunnel. Her public appearances, in my view, were much more sincere and genuine before she met Casey and adopted a seemingly political agenda-based narrative.


Question 6. Is there any evidence to suggest that Freedom Factory’s agenda “appears to have the political intent of halting current reforms in North Korea?

Answer: Casey Lartigue has served as a fellow at both the Cato Institute, and now the Atlas Network. Both of them have a reputation of manipulating foreign policy in favor of their agendas by pushing public sentiment in the direction of favoring their agenda. Freedom Factory and Atlas network seemingly have the agenda of promoting  “libertarian freedom,” which is very different from “freedom freedom.”

A Screenshot of the Freedom Factory's Website

A Screenshot of the Freedom Factory’s Website


Libertarianism in Asia could likely result in greater social disparity and inequity than equity and prosperity.  Also, isolating North Korea from any economic measures is highly ill-advised, it seems their agenda. Again, I don’t know for certain but I know that if Casey had nothing to hide, he would have publicly provided an articulate response to critics by now.

While I do not have concrete evidence that he is complicity trying to isolate North Korea, it is clear to me that he would be aware of the effect demonization and nation branding has on foreign policy. It is suspicious that the speech at One Young World aimed to achieve that end, instead of speaking sincerely about using markets and information to liberate North Korea by inducing a Korean Spring.

Again, it would be wonderful to have Casey comment on the agenda of Freedom Factory, and the Atlas Network in Asia, and especially regarding North Korea, but to my knowledge, he has combatively rejected answering those questions.


Question 7. Is there is any evidence that Freedom Factory “seeks not only to profiteer off of refugees, but also off of the maintaining of an oppressed status quo in North Korea.”?

Answer: Previous responses have expressed my points that people feed off of sensational stories, and that this is such an emotional issue that people call me an “apologist” or a “commie” even though I am obviously not. As U.S. combat veteran I find it ironic that I would be criticized as a commie for questioning the rhetoric of a North Korean former member of a Korean Workers Party family…

I am a humanitarian; my goal is to advocate the liberation of all 24 million North Koreans in the country. If I was giving a speech at the One Young World Summit and I wanted to improve human rights in the country, then it would make sense to advocate measures that induce a Korean Spring, instead of only helping refugees and demonizing the country (which will influence containment policies).

In this sense and without any explanation from him, it seems like he’s just in it for profit. I hope to be proven wrong and eagerly invite him to do so.


Question 8. Do you have a mental disorder?

MIke2Answer: I’ve seen and survived more traumas in my life than most, even refugees. I won’t talk about my childhood much but I will say that I envy the fact that Yeon-mi had a father she loved, unlike me who was beaten violently by mine on a regular basis. Unlike Yeon-mi, I have actually spent months on end waking up to bodies piled up all around me. I have actually seen regular executions. I have seen and contributed to entire villages bombed and burnt to the ground. Sadly, I have also seen more of my brothers kill themselves after their service than died on deployment because war is hauntingly so hard to live with.

Sharing with the world these lessons I’ve learned about what contributes to conflicts and human suffering is not any easier than trying to teach people how best to peacefully resolve these issues. Peaceful conflict resolution starts with collaboration and communication, (not demonizing people like me who want to work together toward the same goal as everyone else). I would discourage people from letting their emotions get the best of them.


Question 9. Are there any similarities between her speeches? Or are their tones completely different like you falsely claimed in your article?

Answer: I answered this question earlier, but in the course of this interview took a break to watch her latest speech at the Oslo Freedom Forum, which was starkly different from her speech at the One Young World Summit. She still sounded far from genuine, but it also seemed to me like she was undergoing a lot of stress regarding how she should present herself and how her words should come across. None of it sounded very natural or organic. Regardless, I was happy to hear her focusing more on the jangmadang’s again, even though she still peppered it with bits of sensationalism.

Again, my focus is on the big picture. The issue I have taken with Casey and Yeon-mi is relevant because it is contemporary, but they are far from the first to use human rights to manipulate public sentiment counterproductive to improving human rights. My goal is to raise awareness on the larger aspect of the issue, more than to expose them for something.

Politicians will not vote to support engagement (even if they believed it the smartest thing to do) when it is publicly disliked (because of sentiment generated by sensationalized narratives) because they care about winning their next election more than anything else. It is up to us, the people, to work together to learn from each other how to make the world a better place for the future generations to live in.


Question 10. What were you trying to achieve by writing the opinion piece? You would be hated even more and might even face a libel action.


Mike’s family members who served in the U.S. military. He comes from a long line of Asian conflict veterans.

Answer: Liberating the North Korean people and helping refugees have better opportunities is very important to me. I see a future where refugees and defectors play a central and critical role in the cultural, political, and social healing that will take place when the conflict begins to mend.

This special group of continually oppressed people should be sponsored for free housing, medical, educational, and living expenses to prepare them for this role; instead of being used to sensationalize media, influence foreign policy, and treated like exhibits at a zoo to study, write books and documentaries about. They represent the whole peninsula, and will surely become the peninsula’s future leaders.


Statement to Casey, Yeon-mi, and their supporters

There are many questions which Casey has combatively avoided providing genuine responses to, leaving analysts like me to speculate and investigate the many nuances of his campaigns and agendas – if any. I would very much like to hear why he has not focused his campaign on Yeon-mi’s more natural-sounding perspectives regarding the power of information and jangmadangs – especially at the One Young World Summit – and instead solely restricted it to helping refugees and demonizing the regime when it is apparent that “a change is gonna come.” I mean, if Casey has nothing to hide, then why doesn’t he just stop stonewalling and provide non-combative, candid responses to his critics like I am doing here?


 “The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink.” – Orwell, 1984

About the author

Mike Bassett

Michael Bassett served in the US Army for ten years; four of which were spent as a tank commander and intelligence officer on the DMZ. He has a BA and MA in international communications, and a graduate certificate in North Korean affairs. He has lived on the Korean Peninsula for seven years and has family members from both sides of the DMZ. Follow him on Twitter @MikeJB79.

  • MarkRSchulz

    Bodies being piled up everywhere, in rivers, in streets, as well as public executions are well documented from a variety of different sources apart from Yeong-mi, including Jang Jin-Sung, Lee Hyeonseo, and others. I guess they all met up at some stage (probably in a smoke-filled basement frequented by CATO, CFR and CIA operatives) to ‘get their stories straight’ before running to the international press with their ‘scurrilous lies’ and ‘baseless accusations.’

    He also mentioned that they have to prove that they are not puppets of the international libertarian movement. That’s quite ironic, as the burden of proof should always be with the accuser. I we can infer from his tone and statements in these articles that he is definitely left leaning, to caricature him as a ‘commie’ would be to fall into the same trap he has tried to set for the people he has targeted in his posts. Unless you have evidence of him attending Communist Party rallies, having an active memnership, or instances of him stating his support for that particular ideology, rather leave the insinuations to him.

    And as for the ‘brutality’ of the questions: his initial article’s title stripped the poor girl of her humanity by calling her a ‘puppet.’ Let’s not forget that a puppet is an inanimate object, devoid of reason and rationality. A thing; an object. The insult may have been used to the point of cliche’ but that does not dimisih the venom with which it was imbued. To escape a regime that is notorious for turning its citizenry into little more than automatons, serving the whim of the supreme leader, I think it was also particularly callous and inappropriate in this instance.

    • Pablo Nutribar

      “He also mentioned that they have to prove that they are not puppets of the international libertarian movement. That’s quite ironic, as the burden of proof should always be with the accuser. ”

      I found this aspect of Bassett’s argument very curious as well. The burden of proof is on he/she who makes the claim – this is logical reasoning 101. I suppose it’s easier to forward one’s argument by placing the burden of proof on the accused, but then you are assuming that someone is “guilty until proven innocent” – not what I consider a wise approach.

    • Lenin

      “a variety of different sources apart from Yeon-mi”

      Nope, aid workers, photographic evidence, experts state otherwise, how would Yeon Mi Park experience any of this in her gilded life in Pyongyang? She literally says in a early interview she doesn’t know what life is like outside of Pyongyang.

      “they all met up at some stage”
      No, but celebrity defectors ARE fed a narrative to say. This has been proven without a doubt with a senior Reuters Journalist even being offered “custom made stories”

      “he is definitely left leaning”
      Lol you Lolbertarians are a joke. Do you idiots even know who Mike Bassett is or his history?

      • Mark Ryan Schulz

        Do you honestly expect anyone to engage with a person who has based their name on the grand engineer of the Ukrainian Famine, or that uses made-up words like ‘lolbertarian’? The only joker ignorant of history here is you, little man.

  • northkoreacapitalist


    She was the child of an elite
    family who wore “Princess” t-shirts, had fun with her friends, went
    swimming and trekking and enjoyed foreign games and movies. She lived in
    Hyesan and in the capital Pyongyang and left North Korea at the age of 13.

    In South Korea, she has become a political activist to overthrow the
    elite she had been part of. She updated her narrative to meet the
    expectations of her constituency: She has now become an ordinary North
    Korean who survived on grass. And like many other world media, the BBC
    loved the new version too: “Yeonmi Park, a young woman who survived
    extraordinary hardship in North Korea.”

    • MarkRSchulz

      Some of apartheid’s fiercest critics came from the white elite in South Africa – not just English speaking whites but the offspring of ‘cream of the crop’ Afrikaners that the system was created by. You guys have no idea of the power dynamics in such a system, especially how a family can fall from grace in the blink of an eye for saying or doing the wrong thing, or the sense of guilt one feels when one realizes how one had been living compared to the worst off in that kind of highly stratified society.
      What you are really doing is claiming that people can’t change, or better themselves by coming to certain realizations, thereby redeeming themselves; that people are born to roles and must live their entire lives according to that… sounds a bit like the concepts of ‘unwavering,’ ‘wavering’ and ‘hostile’ classes. In that sense, you are no better than the Kims.

      • defconn

        There is a difference between redeeming onself and being a educated poster child of a political propaganda campaign that dehumanizes north korea as well as the opponents. If “redeemability” means assimilation to democracy, capitalism, and championing of human rights, the only defectors who were able to do this were former elites like Yeonmi not the farmer kids from hamkyungbukdo who drop out of school, work in the sex industry, or even kill themselves.

        • MarkRSchulz

          North Korea is a state, not human, therefore it cannot be ‘dehumanized.’ Only actual North Koreans can be dehumanized, and I think the North Korean state is doing a pretty fine job of that all by itself.

          Part of redemption is to realize that the way you were living before was wrong, and trying to help the people that you once oppressed and ignored. That is why I used the example of white dissidents in apartheid South Africa.

          The last part of your reply makes little sense. Do you mean to say that if you can’t have the poor people represented in the in the refugee movement, then you don’t want any representation at all? I fail to see how, once someone has killed themselves, they can speak for anyone.

          It would be interesting if you had lived in Japanese colonial times. What would your attitude towards the Korean delegation that went to the League of Nations be? Surely, because they came from outside Korea (a bunch of ‘gyopos’ that didn’t even live in Korea anymore!) they had no business petitioning for Korean independence from Japan on behalf of the rest of Korean society! I mean, they didn’t even really suffer that much, right? They were helped by China for the sole purpose of embarassing Japan! They were clearly puppets of, and sellouts to, the Chinese imperialist agenda!

          The extension of your logic fails, categorically, to acknowledge certain realities in the international relations and domestic policies of oppresive regimes such as North Korean, Imperial Japan dominated Korea and apartheid South Africa in that hardly anyone that does not have power and resources derived from their ‘elite’ social status is able to leave, let alone find the ear of international public opinion.

          Maybe relatively rich whites were not the best international representatives of poor blacks. Maybe the Korean expats were not the best representatives for poor Korean peasants enslaved by Japan. Maybe Yeon-mi and Jang Jin-sung are not the best representatives for poor North Koreans – but they were/are a lot better than a whole lot of nothing.

          • Mike Bassett

            Still waiting for Casey and Yeonmi to speak for themselves…

          • MarkRSchulz

            See that there has been no movement on that front. I wonder why that is?

            If you would like to play a game, here is a little thought experiment for you… Keep that in mind, and try to retain your composure while we proceed; I know you have a problem with reading things properly, but this is for your own good and mental enhancement…

            Would you like to respond to someone if they had said something like this to you:

            [Ridiculous Hypothesis begins]

            Look at this lying propaganda artist Mike Bassett in his wheelchair. It’s clearly a prop designed to get sympathy for his position of defending the North Korean regime. I think his boss at the Rendon Group probably taught him how to sit in that, so it looks like he really is in discomfort. Those bandages complete the effect, but I have to question why this photo appears in what he claims to be an intellectual piece. Mike really shouldn’t be so emotionally manipulative of his audience.

            Notice how Mike’s story has also changed rapidly between photo shoots; where is that wheelchair in the picture of him hugging the North Korean guard? Is he really a cripple, or a fraud just milking the ‘disabled vet’ card for all its worth? Which is it, Mike? You had better get your story straight!

            As for his handlers, the Rendon group clearly profits off global conflicts, as it has done in Kuwait, Iraq, Kosovo, the so-called ‘War on Terror’ and every other one, post-911, all the while on the payroll of the Pentagon. It even calims, unironically, to be a ‘propaganda’ outlet on Wikipedia. He’s no more than a chimp dancing around to the tune of his organ grinder, or rolling around in his remote-controled wheelchair, if that photo is to be believed.

            His only goal is the prolonging the Korean crisis until his paymasters can get in there with little American flags for the North Koreans to buy, as they did in Kuwait during the Gulf War. I believe the sales of US-related paraphernalia to be quite lucrative. [Consult the wiki page here:

            Finally, I demand that Mike proves that the wheelchair was not a prop! The photo says ‘no’ but what do his medical records have to say on the matter? I further demand that he proves that his agenda is not to turn North Korea into a new market for tiny American flags!

            I’m still waiting for a response. He has not even left a reply dealing with these accusations, so I must resort to the fallacy of appealing to ignorance:

            1. I have never seen, or heard Mike say that his wheelchair was NOT a prop, therefore it is.
            2. I have never seen Mike DENY that he profits off the sale of American flags in war-torn countries, therefore he is profiteering off the suffering of people.

            Oh, by the way, don’t ask me for facts, this is ‘just my opinion.’

            [Ridiculous Hypothesis Ends]

          • Michael Bassett

            You’re missing a few key points Mark. First, I have evidence of my traumas. Second, I have responded the incessant plethora of abuses from ignoramus like yourself and the rest of the human rights ideologue league, and third, I have done everything in my life selflessly – something you might try someday – rather than seeking fame and fortune and bragging about how great I am. You are all so pathetic that I’m going to have to construct another blog just to dedicate to your daily ironies and hypocrisies if you continue to harass me. In the meantime, why don’t you go find a nice train to play with?

          • MarkRSchulz

            Calm down please. It was only my opinion. Who’s bragging? I only attempted to ask you some very valid questions, it was you who brought this discussion down to the level of personal attacks.

            You’re so defensive, you surely must have something to hide. I am very disappointed that I could not get a real answer from you.

            Would you like to try again?

            Let me remind you that the only time I directly spoke to you was in my initial comment, where I told people to avoid calling you a ‘commie.’ It was you that came down here to my replies to your sycophantic entourage, and demanded that the victims of your blatant harassment speak for themselves, and later left an abusive Twitter on something I wrote on Yeon-mi’s channel.

            That is, unless these people are just aliases that you created to make yourself look more popular, and you just forgot to switch users before replying to me. I guess we’ll never know, but groundless speculation is fun.

          • Michael Bassett

            Mark, I’m not in the mood for discussion anymore. I honestly wanted six months ago to have nothing more than a private discussion to resolve this but time and time again they’ve spit in my eye everytime I offerred an olive branch.

            I recently wrote Yeonmi a very nice letter in both english and korean and she just arrogantly taunted me just like Casey did on his blog and on Wikipedia and Twitter and on facebook; and the whole time I was just trying to talk even though I had to go to the hospital for severe panic after his army of ideologies bullied me so traimatically. And then after I came back I am informed that because my investigation has been presented as a flame war that Casey is gonna avoid my publication being released and that if I do it myself on my blog it will make me look like I’ve stooped to his level.

            So let me leave you with two things. 1. I have nothing nice to say about human rights groups and never will. This experience has only cemented my belief about how abusive they are and how little care they have for actual human rights. 2. That said, I am going to forever be hostile to these camps and raise awareness about their hypocrisy because of the way they’ve treated me when my only intention was to show them my own perspective of how to improve human rights and why I have the belief that theirs is not effective.

            Again, I am sorry for the hostility but I’ve been enduring this debate for years, but in particular for six months with Casey and Yeonmi, and it has taken a decade off my life already. Good day, Mark.

  • thekoreaobserver

    An addition question has been asked to Mike “Do you have proof that either Cato or Atlas Network manipulate foreign policy? You realize that both promote nearly complete military disengagement with the rest of the world, right? Cato has long proposed pulling every single American soldier out of Germany, Japan, and Korea, much less Afghanistan and Iraq. So… where is this manipulation that he speaks of? If they are manipulating the US government to do things they want, I think they’re doing it wrong.”

    • Mike Bassett

      I’ve received dozens of emails since writing this piece and it seems they’re just trying to get rich and famous by any pathetic means necessary – even if it does mean influencing foreign policy in the wrong direction. I’m sure CATO and ATLAS Network can’t be any happier with Casey than anyone else in DC right now.

    • MarkRSchulz

      I doubt Mike has even read CATO releases on North Korea. These are instructive to the point where I don’t even need to offer further explanation, save for the fact that the second article actually PLAYS DOWN THE ROLE OF SANCTIONS IN CHANGING NORTH KOREA. There can be no more damning evidence of Mike’s analysis than that he is absolutely misrepresenting the position of an organisationhe used in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of his ideological opponents.

    • Lenin

      >Believing anything CATO says at face value

      Yeah totally against militarization while secretly pushing for military intervention in Venezuela and funding hundreds of thousands into far-right agitators. *yawn* you Lolbertarians are a joke.

  • Sujin Lee Exactly. I watched this talk show ‘지금 만나러 갑니다’. Yeonmi Park used different her name ‘ Yeojoo Park’. She and her mother confessed that ‘we did not realize how hard life is for N.Korean nations.’ After Yeonmi Park has settled down in S.Korea, She could know the real state of the North Korean society from other defectors as coming out on TV. And as she are on the media and talk show, she has learned and realized the fact. These two people were called as ‘ Paris Hilton’ in N.Korea. They said ‘We are watching our mouth whenever we join meeting consists of normal North Korean defectors.

  • Pingback: Anything for fame: Casey Lartigue censors critics, spins the media, and combatively insults ethical inquiries – Peace|Wager()

  • Casey

    Shame on you, Tae Hoon Lee, The Korea Observer, for posting Michael Bassett’s baseless and libelous claims. I have invited Bassett to back up his claims, something you surely did not do before you posted his lies and distortions.

  • Pingback: Dear world, can you square this circle? – Peace|Wager()

  • JaySee

    The author is clearly biased and irrational. The burden of proof is never on the accused, it is always on the accuser. This author, as the accuser, clearly has no proof.

    “Freedom Factory and Atlas network seemingly have the agenda of promoting
    “libertarian freedom,” which is very different from “freedom freedom.””

    Freedom freedom? What exactly is that? What is libertarian freedom? Google defines freedom as: the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint. Libertarianism seeks to limit government powers to maximize individual freedom. So, what’s this “freedom freedom” and how is it better than libertarian freedom?

    “Libertarianism in Asia could likely result in greater social disparity
    and inequity than equity and prosperity. Also, isolating North Korea
    from any economic measures is highly ill-advised, it seems their agenda.”

    Likely how and why? Libertarianism goes in direct defiance to much of what Asia lives by: collectivism and bureaucracy. It promotes individuality, limited government, and free trade. Why would so-called libertarian organizations promote isolation aka blocking trade? Libertarians promote free trade and hands-off international relations. Promoting trade barriers is the exact opposite of that.

  • Craig Urquhart

    The problem is the the Wounded Warrior, Michael Bassett, has no actual proof or evidence for any of his claims. If you re-read his entire piece, it’s clearly a desperate attempt to get attention. In his mind, North Korea can’t commit human rights abuses. If it does commit the occasional faux pax, some minor infringemet, it’s irrelevant. All human rights issues are mere tiny distractions from the greater cause : A peace treaty, one that North Korea has no interest in, and which would signal the end of the regime. But, as usual for such udeful idiots, they’re very useful for unreformed communists and other odd fools.

    At best, the Wounded Superwarrior is playing “useful idiot” for truly evil people, and though he may not intend to do it, he does nothing but carry water for an oppressive government.

    Worse, in his zeal, he decides to attack refugees, because, obviously, they’re inconvenient truths.

    It would be sad and pathetically naive, if it wasn’t so desperately repugnant.

    Michael Bassett has never made any claims about any of these people that can be verified, and they’re all based on, at best, a hallucinogenic and wholly incorrect assessment of virtually everything he thinks they represent.

    His hallucinations about vast conspiracies of money-grubbing Libertarian Schemers is so laughable, it would be a great comic interlude is it wasn’t an indication of some kind of serious mental lapse on his part. If what Michael Bassett didn’t reinforce a pro-North Korea, anti-human rights agenda, it would be something we could all laugh about.

    But, unfortunately, America’s Bravest War Hero makes it his business to hurt people who have been victims all their lives. Now that takes a real hero.


  • Craig Urquhart

    Taehoon – this was a mistake. You should use more care. All of Bassett’s charges are unfounded. It’s like allowing a twelve year-old child insult people by making up stories.

    Whatever Bassett does, it’s not journalism.

    • Lenin

      How are they unfounded? There is literally video and transcripts of her changing her narrative and story, her entire life has literally been rewritten

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