• North Korean Sanctions Don’t Interfere with Making Money

    April 4, 2013

    Tags: , ,
    Posted in: Democracy

    Oh, a new crisis in North Korea!

    (Drumbeat) On June 26, 2008, the President issued Executive Order 13466, declaring “a national emergency to deal with the threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States constituted by the current existence and risk of the proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula,” and continued certain restrictions with respect to North Korea that had been imposed under the authority of the Trading With the Enemy Act.

    (Drumbeat) On August 30, 2010, another President issued Executive Order 13551, expanding the scope of the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and adding new restrictions.

    (Drumbeat) On April 18, 2011, the President issued Executive Order 13570 to take additional steps to address the national emergency declared in E.O. 13466 and expanded in E.O. 13551 that will ensure implementation of the import restrictions contained in several United Nations Security Council Resolutions and complement the import restrictions provided for in the Arms Export Control Act.

    (More Dramatic Drumbeat) Criminal fines for violating the E.O.s range up to $1,000,000; individuals may also face imprisonment up to 20 years. In addition, civil penalties of up to the greater of $250,000 or twice the amount of the underlying transaction may be imposed administratively for each violation.

    The path was clear: The United States would apply a variety of economic sanctions to both punish North Korea for going nuclear and, more importantly, choke off its access to the world markets and the hard currencies needed to keep the evil regime alive. By cutting off its money supply, sanctions wold starve North Korea of the real fuel– money– needed to drive its nuclear program.

    Except of course if real money is involved.


    Meanwhile, a South Korea-North Korea joint venture project happily churns away, generating some two billion dollars a year in hard currency for the North. At the Kaesong project, 123 South Korean firms employ more than 50,000 North Koreans to make whatever “household goods” are. In addition, Kaesong also generates more than $80 million a year in cash in wages, paid directly by South Korean firms to the North Korean government rather than to workers.

    Business is done in the international currency of U.S. dollars, ensuring North Korea of plenty of sanctions-free moolah.

    Business Could Not be Better

    In fact, business couldn’t be better. According to North Korean Economy Watch, despite rising cross-border tension, the trade between South and North Korea reached a record high last year. South Korean products worth $896.26 million were shipped to North Korea, up 13.4 percent from the previous year. The amount of products that came from the North jumped 19.3 percent on-year to $1.07 billion.

    In fact, since 2004, total wage payments for North Korean workers in Kaesong totaled $245.7 million, rising from $380,000 in 2004 (the first year of operation) to $61.76 million in 2011 and $45.93 million in the first half of 2012. To keep things humming along, electrical power and telephone service are supplied from South Korea.

    All About the Benjamins

    The appeal to South Korean industrialists is counted in dollars and cents; the monthly wage for a North Korean worker in Kaesong is about US$128, pennies compared to the labor costs in the South. The Kaesong complex is only a short one hour drive from Seoul, rail service exists to move goods and heavy raw materials, the labor force speaks Korean and shares cultural ties and hey, if a worker gets out of line, demands labor union rights or simply a day off, he can be “replaced,” replaced with extreme prejudice as they say. This is capitalism on steroids, baby.

    And while on April 3 the North Koreans banned South Korean personnel from Kaesong, they continue to accept South Korean money there. In addition, some 261 South Korean workers remain in Kaesong; although new workers are banned from coming in, the old ones are conveniently allowed to stay on. Follow the money.

    One sweet deal: while the U.S. throws sanctions at North Korea in a hissy fit because they went nuclear while we were looking the other way (wars in Iraq and Afghanistan), what really matters on the Peninsula is money. It’s all about the Benjamins.

    BONUS: The U.S. just spent $5.5 million of your sequester tax dollars flying two B-2 bombers over South Korea to intimidate North Korea. They did not bomb the industrial complex at Kaesong described above.

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    Copyright © 2020. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity.

  • Recent Comments

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Mmm, lots of good info here, however Karl Marx was totally wrong in his unhistorical doctrine that economics determines everything. A LOT of “it” is “about the money”, but never underestimate the ability of sheer lunacy to start wars.

      04/4/13 5:56 AM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      MLCLT: Yes but it don’t write off a Messiah complex POTUS wanting to trip the Armageddon wire so he can shake the hand of Jesus while the globe glows.

      04/4/13 1:22 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Well well well..no wonder the USG vaporized 16yr old “imminent threat” American citizen Abdulrahman al-Awlaki..he didn’t have a nuclear deterrent nor an economic agreement with one of our allies. Meanwhile, the one WITH nuclear weapons, while slurping up billions from it’s southern Amerikan ally, threatens to annihilate it’s money machine as well as the Pacific portions of the USA… is thereby “sanctioned”.

      Imminent threat. Fucking priceless. Someone please ask Obama to stop it. I mean..c’maaan man, yer killen me fer chist’s sake. One more bout of side splitting laughter and I’ll have to puke on ya.

      04/4/13 1:23 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      04/4/13 1:32 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..I wish I could posthumously grant Abdulrahman al-Awlaki a death free sanction. I’ma sure he’d ‘preciate it.

      04/4/13 1:34 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...



      Oh for fucks sake. Bartender, set em up.
      Let’s toast. Here’s to hoping it gets a 10.5 million BTU gas leak.

      04/4/13 1:46 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...



      “I’m not going to waste my time writing you about how great Hillary is or how formidable she’d be – you know it all already,” Carville says in the e-mail, which was shared with Post Politics. “But it isn’t worth squat to have the fastest car at the racetrack if there ain’t any gas in the tank — and that’s why the work that Ready for Hillary PAC is doing is absolutely critical. We need to convert the hunger that’s out there for Hillary’s candidacy into a real grassroots organization.”

      04/4/13 2:00 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Well sooprise sooprise sooprise. Bet this baby helps pay Chelseas mortgage.
      “A Hillary Rodham Clinton book deal is in place.

      Simon & Schuster announced Thursday that it will publish the former secretary of State’s memoir next year.

      The tentative publication date is June 2014, and will likely inspire a book tour that will be filled with speculation about whether Clinton will seek the presidency in 2016.” unquote
      Book tour. 2016.
      whudda thunk. goddamn, would someone help me off the floor now.

      04/4/13 2:04 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Wouldn’t surprise me if a certain Central bank announces her appointment as a consultant…at least till 2016.

      04/4/13 2:15 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ps..geezus..you couldn’t make this stuff up.

      04/4/13 2:21 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      holy shit. Did I say “make this stuff up”?
      quote from the Chelsea article.
      “In other words, she’d become a consummate politician. She has since gone on to earn a Master’s Degree from University College, Oxford, and from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University. She serves on a slew of boards, including Common Sense Media, the School of American Ballet, and, of course, the Clinton Global Initiative. She campaigned tirelessly during her mother’s Presidential run in 2008, and she is currently completing her doctorate at the University of Oxford. Oh, and she managed to get married in there somewhere, too. Her marriage, to Marc Mezbinsky, a successful investment banker, has made it possible for her to enjoy a very pleasant lifestyle, as she travels around the world for various political engagements, and completes her studies. “unquote

      A consummate politician.. serves on a slew of boards, including…the Clinton Global Initiative.
      ..campaigned tirelessly….married to a SUCCESSFUL INVESTMENT BANKER..made it possible for her to enjoy a very pleasant lifestyle as she travels around the world for various political engagements.
      yesireeebob..couldn’t make this stuff up.

      bartender, another round please.

      04/4/13 2:30 PM | Comment Link

    • wemeantwell said...


      “bartender, another round please.”

      Leave the bottle.

      04/4/13 2:40 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      geesus h..that’s about it for today. Not one more laugh. Not one. Not even a gaffaw. I’ve splt my gut for the last time. If ONE of you post something funny…I’ll drone yer ass.

      04/4/13 2:38 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      oh fuck it. Marc Mezbinsky. Try to say that last name three times in row. Hahahahahahaha…choke arrrrrgggggggg..owwwe..fuck..damit.

      04/4/13 2:43 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Leave the bottle. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH…AH UH..OUCH FUCCK…damn you PVB.

      04/4/13 2:44 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      ok ok…I’ll see your bottle of schnapz, and raise you a fifth of gin.

      04/4/13 2:50 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...



      sorry didn’t mean to hijack the north korean thread but these fucking clintons…

      04/4/13 3:57 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      I have a little side note. My son and Marc Mezvinsky were classmates a Quaker school and we went to the Mezvinsky’s house for a few birthdays. It was an ostentatious home with an entire UN bevy of adoptees to give Marjorie a possible beautific radiance for her political aspirations. We know how that turned out. Prediction: a double candidancy of Chelsea and Mark in twenty five years. The first “couple” running for POTUS. Why not?

      04/4/13 4:03 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote”Prediction: a double candidancy of Chelsea and Mark in twenty five years. The first “couple” running for POTUS. Why not?”unquote

      Hell yeah ‘merika. King and Queen Mezvinsky. I can see the coronation now. All the ‘merikan dukes, duchess’s and earls..lined up to kiss their rings.

      ‘Merica would go nuts. Shit, I see a TV reality show in the makings..”Merican Royal Idol! Damn. I should be a producer.

      Meanwhile, back in reality land, just got around to reading a couple of week old tabs on my


      excuse me..I think I’m gonna be sick.

      04/4/13 4:29 PM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Prediction: in 25 years the few survivors left will be living in ostentatious stone caves

      04/4/13 4:31 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      quote:sorry didn’t mean to hijack the north korean thread but these fucking clintons…” unquote

      Me bad too. but… these clintons fucking….OOPS! hehehehehe! did I mention sick?

      04/4/13 5:02 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Pitch- you be laughin’ now but Mark and Chelsea will not be inviting you to tea in the White House.

      04/4/13 5:44 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      I apologize for straying from the fascinating topic of North Korea, which does have at least some relevance to the part of the world in which I live, but for sheer side-splitting official chutzpah from the State Department, I don’t think anyone has ever — or will ever — surpass this bit of shamelessness bullshit blogging from Secretary John Kerry: “More Work to Bring War Criminals to Justice” (at The Huffington Post)


      If comedy hadn’t already died the day Henry Kissinger won the Nobel Peace Prize (as Tom Lehrer once said) this little jewel of obtuse cluelessness would surely have done the job.

      04/4/13 6:34 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Mr. Murry- nice link. Perhaps the timing is perfect for the plutocracy (Mr. Kerry) to achieve sainthood by personally offering $5 million to take out the bad guys. His wife’s trust could easily write the check. Money incentives do work- check out Durrenmatt’s THE VISIT.

      04/4/13 7:39 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      I can only offer anyone $100- not $5 million in bringing America’s Most Wanted War Criminals to justice. If you live near DC your travel expenses will be minimal. My double deck of cards inhabiters all live within fifty miles of the White House (these guys don’t retire far from the mother ship). Colin Powell only merits a ten of clubs- low pickings of course- and hardly worth the bus fair.

      04/4/13 10:06 PM | Comment Link

    • pitchfork said...


      Michael said:
      quote”…but for sheer side-splitting official chutzpah from the State Department, I don’t think anyone has ever — or will ever — surpass this bit of shamelessness bullshit blogging from Secretary John Kerry: “More Work to Bring War Criminals to Justice” unquote

      More Work to Bring War Criminals to Justice. right.

      BWAHAH…AGH..BWAH..OUCH! BWA..gak… BWAHAH BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA..BWAHAHA…arghrr goddamn bwahahah..hehe..oooohoho haha..geezus..fuck it.. BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..lord that hurts..BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..oh christ, stop it stop it..damnit..I warned you gu..BWAHAHAHA..OHOHOHOHAHAHOHOHO..fuck, I can’t stand it. BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH..hahahahahahaha ohohohahahhoo ohho oha ….ahhhh…oh fuck, I give up.

      hahahaaha, fucking priceless….war criminals..BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA..HOHOHOHAHAHAha ha h…(bending over holding sides)..oh.. god that was worth two days of Shingles..hahahahahahah..

      michael..you know I gotta kill ya now don’tcha?

      04/4/13 10:07 PM | Comment Link

    • Stephen said...


      I have a twenty dollar bill to add to the kitty. You know, twenty here a hundred there and pretty soon it adds up to real money. I might know a guy in South Philly…

      04/4/13 11:40 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      North Korea obviously has a shaky dynastic succession on its plate and thinks that acting crazy for a while will keep the United States and other predators away while the North Koreans straighten out which of their own powerful factions will actually run the country into the near future. The United States, for its part, has its own shaky dynastic succession shaping up for 2016 (the second Clinton or the third Bush) with the interim Obama administration already beginning to fade into early irrelevance. Those people making hay off the mutual antagonisms will no doubt continue socializing the costs upon their respectively browbeaten peoples while privatizing the profits unto their offshore corporate personhoods.

      04/5/13 3:37 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      We are on a winning streak with these SecState Mistakes: To paraphrase my fav’ philosopher, ex-Congressman Ozzie Myers: “Money talks and the dumb-asses in this country swallow State’s bullshit likes its honey in their mouth.”

      Speaking of bullshit, how’s that Keystone pipeline SecState approval working out for your oily portfolio, almost SecState Susan Rice?

      Speaking of money talks, Slick Willie may have a future as the spokesman for the Marlboro Marijuana brand. http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-marijuana-legalization-majority-support-20130404,0,2533952.story

      Bill: “I not only inhaled, I blew my brains out on that shit.”

      04/5/13 12:05 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      PVB Save us! We’re way off subject! shut us down please or I’ll rant more about Mark and Chelsea. Oh. it was your fault Bauer. You suckered us all in.

      04/5/13 1:14 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Murry- I agree. I had a lucky hunch that Obama would end up being one of the weakest and least significant presidencies ever regardless of his so called historical precedence. He’ll retire on his ranch in Hawaii and be very content. He only wanted to sit on the throne. He had no plans of what to actually do. He accomplished his goal and in his own mind is quite a historically exalted person. He needed that.

      04/5/13 1:45 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      re “Obama would end up being one of the weakest and least significant presidencies ever regardless of his so called historical precedence”

      Indeed, and I’m still trying to figure out what made his election historically unprecedented. Growing up middle class and attending private schools for privileged youths? Lots of Presidents did that. White Anglo-American ancestry going back to Colonial times? Ditto. Personal descent from American slaves? That would have been unusual, but his father wasn’t African-American, so strike that. Personal ties to “Africa”? Strike that one too, he has none, culturally he’s no more African than I am. (And “Africa” isn’t a nation or a culture, it’s a land mass three times the size of Europe and far more diverse than Europe both racially AND culturally.)

      So what’s left? Oh, the fact that he’s the darkest skinned President ever elected? Which is significant, WHY? Because America is a deeply racist country? But America elected him, so strike that.

      Oh, is it because he represents the “unprecedented” progressive evolution of Westerners to choose a dark skinned head of state for the first time in history? Strike that one too, there were a number of Black African Roman Emperors.

      04/5/13 3:44 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Behold Roman Emperor Septimius Severus (the chap at upper left), born in Libya, a REAL African “Commander in Chief” of a mostly White empire! Notice his face has been deliberately painted a lot darker than his wife’s, about as dark as Obama’s:


      04/5/13 3:49 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      Error in above, sorry I meant he’s at upper right.

      04/5/13 3:49 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      MLCLT- Nice points! I’m only left with Obama being brilliantly vetted and prepped to take the baton of empire from the preceding administration to run his leg for the plutocrats.

      04/5/13 4:02 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      MLCLT- I thought Obama’s father was from Kenya? His step dad was Indonesian. African American is a rather hollow term. If someone asks my lineage it is German/English not European American.

      04/5/13 5:12 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      John Poole:

      Yes as far as Obama says, his putative father was Kenyan (a state of several nationalities) – which as you indicate is NOT “African-American”, the latter term conventionally indicating descent from American slaves.

      Further as you wrote: “If someone asks my lineage it is German/English not European American”…

      …yes and that relates to my above point about “Africa” being a continent, not a culture or a race. And ON that note, I think it’s INSULTING TO BLACK AMERICANS to reduce all of their heritages to “Africa”. I mean, like you I’m totally of Western European descent (well at least for the past 200-300 years that I can trace), so I have no more personal relationship with bloody Serbia than Obama has with the Berbers of the Sahara.

      In sum, to hell with “race”! And one of my nephews IS a (half) Black American (descendant of Black American slaves), yet like Obama he’s part English too, in fact (like me) he’s a direct descendant of King Charles II of England! In light of which, recently I teased him with THIS!:


      04/5/13 6:05 PM | Comment Link

    • meloveconsullongtime said...


      PS to my several above comments, about “race”, I love this laconic answer by Morgan Freeman:


      04/5/13 6:16 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      Speaking of “race,” my Taiwanese wife and I had two sons, the younger of whom showed early promise as a good student and outstanding athlete. He usually got straight “A” grades in school, but in the second semester of his freshman year of high school he disappointed us when he got mostly A’s but a single “B” in one class. When I demanded to know how such a thing could have happened, he looked me straight in the eye and said: “That’s because I’m only half Chinese, dad.”

      Not that this has anything to do with the United States and its nothing-but-military relations with foreign states like Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. President Obama may look “black” and Secretary Kerry may look “white,” but when it comes to bucking the corporate/military oligarchs of America, Inc., they both look yellow to me. Nothing but arrogant and empty bluster from the both of them. They make the callow Kim Jong-un look like a seasoned statesman by comparison.

      04/5/13 10:34 PM | Comment Link

    • John Poole said...


      Murry- it seems safe now to assume that Barack Obama was a closet plutocrat going way back -a leaning a few gleaned by knowing him back in his early Chicago days. He now gets to attend the same church as his Wall Street heroes. Some say he despised his father for being a loser and that accounts for his overachieving- if you can call his amoral obedience to the golden rule of predatory plutocracy an achievement.

      04/5/13 11:36 PM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      Some relatively straightforward background on the various national — and U.S. political — interests involved in the ongoing North Korea nuclear thing:

      “Missed Opportunities in North Korea”
      Why Obama’s Bellicose Posturing is Backfiring

      by PETER LEE, Counterpunch (Weekend Edition April 5-7, 2013)


      04/6/13 3:18 AM | Comment Link

    • Michael Murry said...


      And yet another excellent skewering of U.S. foreign-policy arrogance and hypocrisy relative to North Korea’s patron, China:

      The soft, weak Chinese cite concerns for international law and due process

      “Beijing considers but rejects drone-killing an elusive foreign killer hiding in the jungle claiming sovereignty issues and the need for a trial”

      Glenn Greenwald, guardian.co.uk, Friday 5 April 2013 13.13 BST


      I wonder how much longer the United States government can go on publicly drinking its own urine while offering it to the rest of the world as wine.

      04/6/13 3:26 AM | Comment Link

    • Rich Bauer said...


      Speaking of making money, perhaps PVB can be the spokesman for this company:


      “Don’t leave home without one.”

      04/6/13 12:09 PM | Comment Link

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