The Plot to Free North Korea With Smuggled Episodes of ‘Friends’ | WIRED
It doesn’t take a decade in a gulag to see that North Korea needs a revolution. Since the Korean Peninsula split at the end of World War II, seven decades of disastrous financial decisions, isolationist economics, and sociopathic military threats against the rest of the world have turned the country into what Georgetown Asian studies professor and former National Security Council adviser Victor Cha calls simply “the worst place on earth.” Its recent history is a litany of disaster: Despite having a stronger economy and better infrastructure than South Korea in 1945, its GDP is now a fortieth the size of its southern neighbor. Only 16 percent of households have adequate access to food, according to a 2012 study by the World Food Program, stunting growth in 28 percent of the population. In some areas of the country, up to 40 percent of children under 5 are affected. The effects are mental as well as physical. A 2008 study by the National Intelligence Council found that a quarter of North Korean military conscripts are disqualified for cognitive disabilities.