By now you’re aware that Dennis Rodman is more than just a fool, he’s an ignorant and insultingly terrible one. To willfully turn a blind eye to the actions of a man responsible for hundreds if not thousands of murders, a man who starves, imprisons, oppresses and tortures countless of his own people while he lives in opulence, enjoying expensive food and drink and preposterously staged basketball games while his people die in prison camps is barely human. To call someone friend who time and again threatens the safety of the entire world with nuclear weapons is idiotic. To keep doing is borderline insane.
But you know that. It’s big news right now. Dennis Rodman melts down on CNN. Dennis Rodman, waste of space, somehow wastes more space in a more offensive way. But there is something ever so slightly curious about this story that you may not have heard yet and it’s about Jameson’s Irish whiskey. A fur coat. An Italian suit. And an English Mulberry handbag.
Head over to FreeKorea.us and you’ll find an interesting story based on this one from the Weekly Standard. A source (so who knows, maybe this isn’t legit, but the writer at FreeKorea is vouching for the Weekly Standard author, at least) has painted a picture of Dennis Rodman arriving in Beijing, China, en route to Pyongyang, with luxurious gifts worth at least $10,000 for Kim Jong-Un. Remember, he’s in North Korea for the little fart’s birthday. Why should we care? Because bringing luxury items into impoverished and heavily sanctioned North Korea is just super illegal.
One of the many fine dining establishments Rodman may be enjoying in his friend's country.
Both the UN and the US have imposed sanctions prohibiting exactly what Dennis Rodman has just done. While Kim and his people enjoy yachting and fine foods, North Korea is undergoing one of this century’s most epic famines. UN Resolution 1718 specifically bans bringing in any luxury items and resolution 2094 expands on this. You can’t bring a tyrannical dictator fancy gifts. It’s kind of gross.
Why sanction luxury items? Because Kim, and his father before him, had a penchant for conducting nuclear tests, letting the citizen of North Korea live on a cup of rice a day, and then doing things like trying to spend $7 million on ski lifts. Kim Jong-Il is reported to have bought over $2 million worth of watches per year. Per year! Literally hundreds of thousands of people in North Korea starved to death during his reign, and that’s how his money was spent.
When the international community gave food aid to the country, the government had it distributed to the military first. Leftovers were given to the people who were actually starving. Nothing has changed now that Kim Jr is behind the wheel. He’s spent $300 million on building a ski resort, a dolphinarium and a 3D movie theater.
Please tell me a dolphinarum is a cafeteria that servs dolphin.
If the UN Sanctions don’t have enough teeth, the US has executive orders in place that echo the UN, including Executive Order 13551, which bans any US citizen from bringing any luxury items of any sort into North Korea and empowers the Treasury Department to use any mean to enforce it. Violating an Executive Order brings with it a punishment of up to $1,000,000 in fines and 20 years in prison, plus civil penalties of up to$250,000.
Did Rodman definitely violate the rules? While the UN sanctions only specify luxury items as gems, jewelry and yachts, the US embargo has listed, very specifically, furs, alcohol, designer clothes and many others, all of which require licenses to be taken into North Korea and all of which are denied licenses as a general policy. Did Rodman somehow get a license? Dude looks like he can’t be bothered to lift the seat half the time. $5 says he never even heard of getting license to import gifts to Korea.
Will the Treasury Department be talking to Rodman when he gets back from his super fun happy trip to his best buddies sleepover birthday bash? Let’s hope so. He broke US law by going there and he insults both nations at the same time by continuing his farce friendship. The only good that comes from Rodman’s involvement is that the seething rage his ignorance provokes has caused people, like myself, to look up facts about what horrors actually go on in Korea and share them with people like you, who may share them again and spread the world to the rest of us who aren’t as ignorant as Rodman. And that, of course, is despite Rodman, not thanks to him.
If you have friends who just shrug and say who cares, what’s the big deal if a washed up basketball player is in Korea, let them know what the big deal is. Show them that video of a starving Korean girl who, less than half a year after this video was taken, was found dead in a field. Let them read this open letter to Rodman from someone who escaped Korea. Maybe they’ll get what he never can.