Organized Crime and North Korea: U.S. Security Nightmare
North Korea (DPRK) is one of the world's most impoverished nations. Yet it supports a huge Army and Air Force, a growing Navy with missile submarines, and a rapidly developing nuclear weapons program and ICBM production. How does it support itself and especially its attempt to dominate the Asian region and threaten the USA? International organized crime... And that opens up a whole can of worms for U.S. security.
by Tom Brennan, Copyright © SecretsofSurvival.com
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The "North Korean Connection": How an outlaw state funds its weapons programs, army and lifestyles of the rich and infamous Kim Jong Un family and friends
North Korea (DPRK) is one of the world's most impoverished nations. Yet it supports a huge Army and Air Force, a growing Navy with missile submarines, and a rapidly developing nuclear weapons program and ICBM production. How does it support itself and especially its attempt to dominate the Asian region and threaten the USA?
North Korea imports an average total of $3.47 billion of goods and services.
It exports $2.83 billion to various trading partners (China 85%).
How does North Korea finance it's huge and growing military?
The DPRK is a tightly ruled dynastic nation where the political leaders live in luxury and all else live in poverty and fear. So how does a nation ranked among the lowest for GNP and personal income afford a huge standing army and a nuclear weapons program? North Korea is not only an outlaw state by its renegade political actions but a country funded by robbery.
A significant portion of North Korea's State income is derived from criminal activities funded and supported by the government.
These activities include sales of arms, illicit drugs, human trafficking (workers sent overseas whose wages are collected by the government) and supplying terrorist groups worldwide through a network of arms dealers.
International relationships with narco-terrorists, Islamic extremist groups, and mafia groups
Working relationships and partnerships with narco-terrorist syndicates in collaboration with Hezbollah, the Iranian Republican Guard, Russian mafia and Chinese PLA (People's Liberation Army) backed groups have expanded the nation's reach into the pockets and treasuries of many nations. Connections with an increasing number of shadowy national groups on a world wide scale who network and collaborate in criminal activities on a monumental scale are overwhelming attempts to control or even track them all. The internet has multiplied the network even more than anyone can imagine.
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Project 39 is one of the titles assigned to the government branch that oversees, manages and engages in the criminal enterprises that bring money into North Korea's treasury. The recent defection
of a high ranking official opened up doors into the operations of this secretive and inventive government department. Every manner of bringing in money is explored and used, from drug manufacture and sales to ransomware such as the recent "WannaCry" event is developed and engineered here.
In the 1970's North Korea preyed on its neighbor China by smuggling huge amounts of heroin across the vast border. Weather damage to the poppy fields ended this lucrative trade and a turn to methamphetamine products was substituted with serious consequences for China. Several meth products and numerous manufacturing facilities were developed and a worldwide trade was developed.
In the 1980's a relationship with Lebanon-based Hezbollah began and has become an anchor of North Korea's expansion into arms trading and Hezbollah's own drug trade. Recent disclosures of the Obama Administration's actions to curtail the Cassandra Project, a DEA investigation into Hezbollah's cocaine smuggling into the USA drew attention to the terrorist group's financial operations.
Hezbollah receives massive support from Iran and is now operational in several South American nations. The Obama Administration did not want any issues to upset the JCPOA Iran nuclear "deal". Iran supports Hezbollah as proxy forces and North Korea is a major producer and supplier of meth variants. There are many spiders in the web.
Cash not Ideology
Originally North Korea acted in its own stead in smuggling goods across national borders but has in recent years developed a sophisticated network of proxy agents that deliver via various means the goods in and out of the nation. North Korea smuggles goods and services not by overtly transporting these by itself -- which would open their activities up to intelligence sources such as the CIA, MI-5 and Mossad -- but via third party sources, partners in crime and international syndicates with political ideologies and those without.
The goal is cash, not spreading ideology. Kim Jong Un's chief personal goals are self-enrichment, securing his stranglehold (and that of his dynasty) and control of the entire Korean Peninsula and eventual reunification under the North. There is no mission to export North Korean style Communism, only money and more of it any way they can.
Are there North Korean agents in the USA? Maybe
During the Obama Administration a tsunami of illegal immigrants crossed the Mexican and Canadian borders with the acquiescence of the Administration. The illegals included many nationalities and an alarming number of Middle Eastern and Asians. The Mexican drug cartels constructed sophisticated tunnels to transport underground drugs and other dangerous cargoes into the USA.
From eye witnesses the nationalities of the illegals were usually confused. Much of this is because of the acknowledged shortcomings of many Americans in knowledge of basic geography. This is a variation of the "they all look alike" syndrome. North Korean agents would be mistaken for many other nationalities. There is no "James Bond" spying here. Hostile governments and groups merely walked across the line (or through tunnels) and brought whatever they had to sell with them and the Government did nothing.
Are North Korean agents here, working in the drug trade, spying, hacking and otherwise infiltrating our defense and financial sectors? Perhaps, since the open borders during the Obama years resulted in an influx of totally untraceable aliens and the safe harbors of Sanctuary Cities have offered them refuge from legal action and a free reign to operate.
But the ever increasing technology available on line, the "dark web" of illegal trade and trafficking that criminal syndicates, terrorists and now outlaw nations like North Korea use increasingly to network and deal make physical presence unnecessary. We can only hope the new administration follows through on its commitment to deter North Korea and its partner's crime wave and secure our borders, finances and national defense.
It's unfortunate that legitimate refugees that could make productive American citizens if given a chance are being turned away by policies that close up borders, but America finds itself between a rock and a hard place. Perhaps if Mexico and other Latin American countries could make their nations safer and healthier places to live, we wouldn't have so many problems with immigration.
How to fix America's immigration problem? Fix Latin America
One has to wonder, just when is the spotlight going to be put on those governments to make their nations much better places to live, with opportunity, with safer communities, and zero threats from cartels, gangs and rogue militants? That would drastically help America's immigration problem, and may even lead to Latin Americans leaving the United States to return to their homelands.
That's another topic for another day. Back to North Korea...
Kim Jong-Un: more Don Corleone than Dictator
There are few ruling dynasties left in the world. North Korea has been in the hands of one family since its founding. Ideology takes second place to egos, wealth and power here. Communism is a control mechanism to maintain the deposit power of one family and its co-conspirators at the expense of its people. North Korea uses any means to fund its existence and outright crime is at the top of the list. The Kim Jong Un ruling clique uses fear and intimidation in a controlled State where no opposition is allowed. He is as ruthless as any Mafioso and even more so.
We can only hope the Government will keep pace with the growing crime syndicates that feed his wallet and ego.
International shipping also needs to be "fixed"
In the court of public opinion, North Korea is guilty of international crimes and right about now would be a good time for the countries of the world to sink all North Korean cargo ships that are outbound carrying "exports". Considering how much smuggling is alleged to have taken place, and continues to take place each year, we should all agree that North Korea has lost it's right to operate on the world's oceans.
The North Korean threat is real. Each year that we do nothing the threat only grows. One day it will be too late.