North Korea’s Hacking Of Sony Pictures Is The Least Of Its Crimes

North Korean Cyber Attacks Are Not Funny
The recent cyber attack on Sony Pictures certainly is not a laughing matter, particularly if the response by Sony inspires other hackers to hold companies hostage.

And while entertainment writers can debate whether the movie itself is funny or not, Adrian Hong says no one should view the film as an act of brave defiance of the North Korean dictatorship.

“This film is not an act of courage. It is not a stand against totalitarianism, concentration camps, mass starvation, or state-sponsored terror. It is, based on what we know of the movie so far, simply a comedy, made by a group of talented actors, writers, and directors, and intended, like most comedies, to make money and earn laughs,” he writes.

John Sifton of Human Rights Watch addresses the controversy from a similar perspective, asserting that Hollywood should demonstrate real courage by speaking out against Pyongyang’s abysmal record of human rights violations.

“If Hollywood studios and actors are appalled by what has unfolded in the last week, they should lend their fame to raising awareness about the effort at the United Nations and about North Korea’s human rights situation,” he writes.

Next week, the United Nations Security Council will meet to take up a resolution passed on December 18 by the General Assembly urging North Korea be referred to the International Criminal court for its human rights situation.

“It is easy to dismiss the whole matter with some lighthearted headshaking. But we should take a moment to remember that the reality of life in North Korea is no laughing matter,” continues Sifton.

“Millions of North Koreans every day face terror and abuse at the hands of their government, including fear of arrest and detention in the government’s gulag of political prison camps. There is no freedom of expression, assembly, religion, or even thought. It is a land where people are bereft of hope.”

And, as The Washington Post’s Adam Taylor points out, North Korea has a record of committing acts of terrorism that date back much further than the Sony hack.

“While North Korea’s threats of violence have become frequently absurd and absurdly frequent over the last few years, the country really has been at the center of sometimes spectacular international terror plots before – though the nature of these plots and their frequency has changed significantly over time. Outside of incidents that could be described as terrorism but might also be thought of more along the lines of border disputes (such as the 1969 incident in which North Korean jets shot down a U.S. spy plane or the seizure of the intelligence-gathering ship Pueblo the year before), there have a number of other examples that fit quite easily in what we think of as terrorism these days,” observes Taylor.


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