News Release

Truth Is Stranger than Fiction? “The Interview” and U.S. Regime-Change Policy Toward North Korea

CHRISTINE HONG, cjhong at ucsc.edu
Hong is a professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz. She said today: “There’s almost a total dearth of knowledge about North Korea in the United States. It has been called a ‘black hole’ by U.S. intelligence, and it’s against this backdrop of near-total ignorance not only about North Korea but also the brutal legacy of U.S. involvement and intervention on the Korean peninsula that Hollywood churns out films that walk in lockstep with a U.S. policy of regime change. North Korea as a ‘bad guy’ is not only the stuff of U.S. fantasies, but also serves as the cornerstone of Obama’s ‘Pivot’ policy toward Asia, in which intensified U.S. militarism in the region that is actually aimed at containing China is overtly justified by an ‘armed and dangerous North Korea.’

“The discussion of ‘freedom of expression’ when it comes to the film, ‘The Interview,’ is a total red herring. Culture when it comes to U.S. enemies has always been a terrain of manipulation and war. During the Korean War, which has never ended, 2.5 billion propaganda leaflets were dropped by the United States on North Korea, and the National Endowment for Democracy, which is completely Congressionally funded, sponsors defector narratives about North Korea as the truth about North Korea. For those who profess to be so concerned about democracy when it comes to the release of ‘The Interview’ as ‘freedom of expression,’ it’s important to consider the profoundly undemocratic implications of Obama’s militarized ‘Pivot” toward Asia and the Pacific.”

“In this case, consider the collusion between Sony executives, the State Department, and Bruce Bennett, a North Korea watcher at the military-funded RAND corporation in the endorsement of ‘The Interview’ as a regime-change narrative.” See: “Sony Emails Say State Department Blessed Kim Jong-Un Assassination in ‘The Interview’.” Hong appeared this morning on “Democracy Now!” with journalist Tim Shorrock (@TimothyS).

CHRISTINE AHN, christineahn at mac.com, @christineahn
Ahn is co-founder of the National Campaign to End the Korean War. She said: “Despite the entire cyber security community discounting North Korea’s role in the Sony hack, Washington is spreading lies to justify its pivot to Asia.

“The connection between Sony and U.S. military and intelligence officials should make us all wary of how much the U.S. needs Hollywood to sell its greatest export: weapons.

“For those who understand the modern history of Korea, ‘The Interview’ is beyond offensive. The film’s plot of assassination of the North Korean leader — and with input from Obama administration officials — is so twisted — not just because of its CIA coups that forced anti-imperial guerrilla fighters such as Castro and Kim Il Sung to pursue closed non-democratic systems — but the tremendous destruction the U.S. wreaked on the northern half of Korea during the Korean War and continues to do through war games and sanctions. It’s beyond words for those of us who are offended by the film and then now see how Washington is exploiting the hack to further isolate North Korea.”

Background: In 2006, Pentagon head designate Ashton Carter outflanked the Bush administration, advocating a strike on North Korea if they did a ballistic missile test in a Washington Post op-ed titled “If Necessary, Strike and Destroy.”