North Korea Unveils Bizarre Propaganda Video

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Feb. 5 2013 12:08 PM

North Korea's Bizarre Propaganda Video Is Both Hilarious and Disturbing

We probably didn't need any more evidence that the United States isn't Kim Jong-Un's favorite country. (It was only a little more than a week ago, after all, that North Korea announced plans for new nuclear tests it vowed would "target" the United States, which it dubbed "the sworn enemy of the Korean people.") But just in case, Pyongyang is out with a rather bizarre propaganda video that, depending on just how much you think the reclusive nation has its act together, is either pretty hilarious (note the song choice) or downright frightening (note the nuclear destruction of New York City)—or perhaps a little bit of both.

Australia's AAP news agency provides the best synopsis of the video (or at least of what I think I'm seeing in the video):

The video is shot as a dream sequence, with a young man seeing himself on board a North Korean space shuttle launched into orbit by the same type of rocket Pyongyang successfully tested in December. As the shuttle circles the globe—to the tune of We Are the World—the video zooms in on countries below, including a reunified Korea. The focus then switches to a city—shrouded in the US flag—under apparent missile attack, with its skyscrapers either on fire or in ruins."
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The U.S. city in question appears to be New York City and, as LiveLeak first pointed out, the footage of the virtual destruction is borrowed from video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. It's probably safe to assume that the copyright holders for both the video game and We Are the World didn't sign off on this particular repurposing of their work

The video itself was published over the weekend by North Korean propaganda agency Uriminzokkiri. Behold:

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 

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