It took a while, since our funding ran out and we had to make do, but as inventive, creative and badass ninja academics we got going when the going got tough. So here is the Korean translation of our research report on DPRK forced labour in the EU, episode 1. We’d thought we make life a bit easier for the Pyongyang apparatchiks tasked with being indignant about our research (please send your complaints here or here; AFAIK anything you’ll send will end up at the second address also). You’ll just have to look past the South Korean spelling, comrades, but the sunny side is that you won’t have to translate it yourself.
The report on DPRK forced labour in the EU by the Slaves to the System research team is receiving much attention. Not just from the media, some of whose less esteemed members are having a field day misquoting me in different languages, but also from non-media folks, such as for example members of the EU parliament (who asked question in parliament),
The initial findings of the Slaves to the System project have just been published at the LeidenAsiaCentre website. Peruse the report at your own risk, for it is a ‘grave provocation’ to the DPRK, an ‘act of hostility’ and an “attempt to damage the dignity” of the Supreme Leader. Judge for yourself and read the report. But first back up your hard drive, because if only one tenth of the stories about DPRK hackers is true, they are already listening in on your phone and watching you saving your precious bitcoins.
The blog post I wrote for Policy Forum just went live here. According to my computer it went live tomorrow, November 27. Yes, that is right, I am using the past tense for something that happened tomorrow (there! I did it again!). Not because I am a time traveller (coincidentally – or not – I was sent this link today on time travel and the proper use of grammar),
I told myself that I wasn’t going to write anything about Shin Dong-hyuk and his confession that key elements of his escape narrative were omitted, changed around or left out. I have never met Shin and I’ve never been able to vouch for the veracity of his book. I have talked about his book in public, however, and have always maintained that I did not doubt his story. Altough I could not verify the details, I believed its general structure to be valid.
What if North Korea did not hack Sony? Recent news seems to suggest that there is a lot of debate surrounding this question in knowledgeable circles. Since I am not much of a cyberdetective, I can’t really contribute. But permit me to list a few considerations that should perhaps be taken seriously in the game of assigning blame for Angelina Jolie now knowing what Sony’s top producer really thinks of her:
You know it’s that kind of Sunday when this is what you get to read early in the morning: “UK Funding Korean Tyrant! Kim Jong’s Spin Doctors Trained at OUR Expense.” Coffee-deprived as I was, for a fleeting moment I wondered whether I hadn’t been paying attention lately and missed a fourth-generation Kim scion taking the helm in Pyongyang. That wasn’t the case of course. It was just a case of a missing Un (endless pun possibilities here: UN?).
This has been quite a week, I must say. I have been subjected to everything ranging from intense media attention (just google OGD or Organisation and Guidance Department; Organization of course if you’re a cousin from across the pond), vilification, accusations of mystification (my personal favorite) to patronizing passive-aggressive advice/inquiries on what it is real academics do (as opposed to what I am doing, I hazard a guess) and made the New York Times