Palm Beach – A serious curse on the Democratic Republic of Korea (North Korea or the DPRK) for apparently murdering one of my schoolmates. Very bad form, Pyongyang!
My old high school, the Ecole International of Geneva, Switzerland had a zany and interesting collection of cosmopolitan students from everywhere.
We had lots of children of movie stars like William Holden, Jack Palance, Yul Brynner, and Lana Turner. There were sons of deposed statesmen from Indonesia, Turkey and the Arab world, children of US European corporate executives, Jewish Britons, even a few Swiss and French as well as some Nepalese, Indians and Japanese. We had the kids of Charlie Chaplin, Gene Kelly, and Robert Graves. The nasty Turkish military junta hanged my friend Turgut’s daddy
We hated sports. For fun, I organized a coup d’état against the hated student government that worked brilliantly. On the `committee for public safety’ were ringleaders from Indonesia, Bolivia and Venezuela whose fathers had overthrown their respective governments. We promised ‘full democratic elections’ at some vague point in the future – a nice touch of cynicism worthy of a Bolivian or Argentine junta.
I also organized student protests against the French colonial war in Algeria that earned me frequent death threats from ’La Main Rouge,’ an extremely violent false front for the DGSE, French intelligence, themselves a bunch of wild and murderous cowboys. I was young and fearless in those days; now I’m not young but still fearless and reckless.
Ecolint had been founded to educate children of Geneva-based United Nations personnel – and, of course, to promote international understanding. What we really cared about in those ancient days was of course girls. Ecolint was coed.
Our deadly rival school, the exclusive Rosey, was chock-a-bloc with Arab and Iranian princes. They had more chic, but we had girls. That’s why I chose Ecolint over Rosey, thus missing the chance to be lifelong best friends with Saudi Arabia’s ruling princes and lot of other very rich kids.
Anyway, it transpires that Kim Jung-nam, the recently assassinated half-brother of North Korea’s fun-loving Communist monarch, Kim Jong-un, was a proud Ecolint attendee. Interestingly, younger brother Kim Jong-un attended another excusive Swiss school outside Bern. Apparently, he learned nothing about Swiss good manners and discretion.
In fact, Kim Jung-un appears to have a proclivity for grisly executions. He is alleged to have fed an irksome uncle to hungry dogs (which is fine because Koreans like to eat dogs) and blown to smithereens a general who had the audacity to nod off during one of Kim’s speeches. The novel method of execution was apparently by a four-barrel heavy anti-aircraft 12.7mm gun.
The assassination of Kim Jung-nam seems to follow this creative pattern. Jung-nam, who has lived for decades in exile, mostly in Macau, was apparently accosted at Malaysia’s modern Kuala Lumpur airport by two women, one Vietnamese, the other Indonesian. One of the women supposedly rubbed her poison-covered hands or a fabric on Kim Jung-nam’s face. He sought help and died on the way to the hospital.
As of this writing, no one really seems to know what happened. Did one or both of the women have a pen that sprays cyanide, an assassination device much favored by Soviet, US and Israeli hit squads, that mimics heart attack? Malaysian police are now suggesting the liquid used to kill Kim was VX, a lethal, fast-acting nerve agent developed for military use.
Was it a harmless promotional stunt, as the arrested women claimed? Or a very clever plot by South Korean intelligence to blacken North Korea’s not so great name? South Korean intelligence is notorious for churning out cock-and-bull stories about its dastardly North Korean brothers, and vice versa.
A number of shady North Korean ‘diplomats’ are on the lam. One was arrested in Kuala Lumpur. North Korean diplomats are hardly innocent social workers. DPRK agents have in the past launched deadly attacks in South Korea and Burma, and kidnapped Japanese civilians.
Malaysia is refusing to return Kim Jung-nam’s body to North Korea. Pyongyang is making the novel claim that Young-nam’s body has diplomatic immunity. North Korea had enjoyed friendly relations with two Asian neighbors, Malaysia and China. Right now, relations with both are beyond bad. China just announced it will cut way back on purchases of North Korean coal, the DRPK’s major export except for trouble and threats.
Meanwhile, DPRK is practicing attacks on South Korea’s presidential palace, the Blue House. The South and its US big brother is practicing war against the North. Kim Jung-un has been launching new medium-range missiles believed able to carry nuclear warheads. Uncle Sam is planning to install an anti-missile system in South Korea that China claims to be a dire threat to its security.
Can one imagine, in this day and age, that if war breaks out in the Korean peninsula, the mighty South Korean army comes immediately under US military command?
Maybe the US and South Koreans could come ask us old Ecolint grads how to overthrow the nasty regime of the Great Leader? We will promise democratic elections at a later date.