Saturday, May 02, 2009

North Korea spy-novels buzz

[North Korean spy Won Jeong-hwa]

More than 4500 people have been exposed as spies for
North Korea since the peninsula was divided in 1948,
according to South Korea's Defence Security Command.
With current crisis added to years of geopolitical
headaches, it is a source of inspiration for well
informed authors. Some of them are spies, others are
genuine ex-spooks.

The real spy

"Mused to the legendary World War One double agent
"Mata Hari", Ms. Won Jeong-hwa's life as a sexy spy
was the stuff of a thrilling movie script. Her
catalogue of deceit makes astonishing reading. There
were plots to assassinate South Korean agents with
poisoned needles, schemes to get a hold of photographs
of military installations and weapons systems,
kidnapping, maintaining a secret file of defectors
from North Korea and even setting up home with an army
officer from whom she extracted information. This
North Korean spy who used sex to extract military
secrets from army officers has been jailed for five
years by a a judge in the South Korean city of Suweon
who found her guilty of spying."

This was last year authentic spy story. This one is
recent: Who is the author? Secret... "Inspector O is
not real. He is the fictional protagonist of a series
of detective novels by a former Western intelligence
officer who uses the pseudonym James Church."

Extracts of Church's book:

"Is the shortage of thermoses in the novel actually a
code for missing centrifuges that used all the
aluminum tubes in the country? Inspector O, a
detective with North Korea's Ministry of People's
Security. He is a man who loves his country but
harbors a knowing skepticism about its leadership. He
rolls his eyes at the communist propaganda and balks
at wearing the red lapel pin of founder Kim Il Sung
that is de rigueur for North Koreans. He struggles to
keep his humanity in an authoritarian and increasingly
corrupt society."

[Picture of the former U.S. intelligence official who
writes under the pseudonym James Church. Ex spy who
studied for two decades North Korea's propaganda.]

Church first novel touches on North Korea's abduction of
Japanese citizens during the 1980s. The plot of
"Bamboo and Blood," the most recent work, revolves
around an Israeli effort to persuade North Korea to
stop selling missiles to Arab countries in return for
economic assistance. All three novels feature
struggles between O's Ministry of Public Security
(basically the police) and Big Brother-like agencies
wielding political power.

Church is convinced that in his frequent trips to
Pyongyang, he has met many Inspector O that is to say,
modern, clear-thinking people whose very existence
proves there is intelligent life within the North
Korean system.

"Inside the regime, whose face people see only through
stereotypes, there is in fact a society of individuals
who behave in recognizable ways,"
Church said during a
recent trip to Beijing.

Click the title for more on this new buzz!

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