Kim Jong Un’s Brutal North Korea: Where No Uncle Is Safe


North Korea said Friday that Jang Song Thaek, onetime regent to Kim Jong Un, has been executed for allegedly masterminding a military coup. In a blistering—and bizarre—dispatch, state news agency KCNA called Jang “despicable human scum” and “worse than a dog,” alleging he broke his nephew’s trust by plotting against him. Jang, 67, was killed Thursday, KCNA reported, immediately following his trial.

Jang’s downfall looked all but certain after he was arrested earlier this week in front of top party members for, among other things, the Kafkaesque crime of “dreaming different dreams.”  Given his advanced age and his close ties to the ruling family (Jang was married to Kim Jong Il’s sister), many thought he’d escape with his life—which, as far was we know, he didn’t. “People don’t want to believe that Kim, a 30-year-old, could do this,” says Daniel Pinkston, a Korea expert at the International Crisis…

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