Korean Spy Agency Accused of Influencing Presidential Election

국정원

A major scandal brews over the possible role of the National Intelligence Service (NIS), the Korean equivalent of the CIA, in the December 19th, 2012, election that saw the ascendance of Park Geun-hye, the daughter of a former military dictator, as the first female president of the country.

On December 11th, the main opposition Democratic United Party staff stormed a studio apartment in Seoul belonging to a female agent of the NIS, a 29-year-old woman identified only by her surname, Kim. They accused her of running a cyber campaign to smear their presidential candidate, Moon Jae-in. After a dramatic stand-off that lasted overnight, the police issued a preliminary report to tentatively absolve Ms. Kim of any crime just four days before the general voting.

But more than a month after Ms. Park won the election as a candidate of the governing Saenuri Party, the incident is again at the forefront of Korean politics, possibly undermining her mandate even before she takes her oath as the country’s next top leader. First, as reported exclusively on January 28th by the Joongang Ilbo, one of the three main conservative newspapers, Ms. Kim stated to the police that her responsibility at the NIS had been to monitor pro-North Korean activities on a popular internet forum, Oneul ui Yumeo (Today Humor).

The evidence submitted by Ms. Kim to the police appeared to legitimize her work and diminish the Democratic United Party’s credibility, showing that she had documented posts written by individuals known for their subversive attitude toward the South Korean state and for praising the North Korean leadership. It also showed that the same posts gained a prominent display on the site due to the support (expressed using an ‘I agree’ function) of groups or people using IP addresses located outside the Korean soil. She denied any involvement in activities related to the presidential election.

Yet in an explosive new analysis of Ms. Kim’s work online by the main liberal daily, The Hankyoreh, her accounts are being called into question. A close examination of her activities has revealed that she published numerous posts and commented on many others on the site, all in order to denounce the opposition presidential candidate and party and promote the policies of the outgoing conservative president, Lee Myung-bak. All of it took place during regular work hours in the four-month period leading up to the December 19th election. The scandal has also cast suspicion on the NIS itself, Ms. Kim’s employer, as systematically manipulating public opinion in order to orchestrate a particular electoral result. The police, too, appears complicit in the cover-up by hastily vouching for the legitimacy of Ms. Kim’s work during the pre-election press briefing.

While the competition over how to shape the public perception of the scandal is being fiercely fought by ideological opponents in the media world, the Hankyoreh analysis has won broad support from online Korean readership expressing both incredulity and rage at what is perceived to be a gross moral failure of state apparatus.

국정원녀

From The Hankyoreh:

[EXCLUSIVE] Female Spy Lied That She ‘Worked Only to Find NK Sympathisers’

Analysis of Activities by Female NIS Agent on Oneul ui Yumeo

11 Different IDs Used

Attacks on Opposition Presidential Candidate and Assemblymen

Speaking out in Favor of Naval Base on Jeju Island

All Activities during Work Hours between Monday and Friday

Difficult to See as Personally Motivated

Systematic Manipulation of Media Possible

Ms. Kim (29), an employee of the National Intelligence Service (NIS) testified to the police on the 25th of January that ‘my responsibility is to trace pro-North Korean writings on Oneul ui Yumeo.’ But according to investigation by this newspaper, Ms. Kim published writings favorable to the governing Saenuri party, its presidential candidate Park Geun-hye, and the current government, between August 28th and December 11th of last year. She also expressed support for and opposition to writings by other users for the same purposes. This is far from ‘tracing pro-NK writings.’

Ms. Kim used 11 different IDs to write a total of 91 posts, among which 10 criticised the opposition Democratic Party presidential candidate and assemblymen, and 25 defended the government and the ruling party on matters such as the controversial Four Rivers rehabilitation project and the construction of a naval base on Jeju Island.

Even so, the police and the NIS have downplayed and denied this fact. The Suseo branch of the Seoul Metropolitan Police which is investigating the case of Ms. Kim stated at a press briefing on January 3rd that ‘Although Ms. Kim had written posts and comments, they were not related to the presidential election, politics, or current affairs.’ Going one step further, the spokesman for the NIS denied during a phone call with this paper that ‘there is any basis for claiming that [Ms. Kim’s] writings have been found.’

Even though it has already been revealed that Ms. Kim both endorsed and attacked posts by other users, it appears that the NIS has strenuously denied the existence of posts by Ms. Kim for fear that it may fuel a conspiracy theory about her involvement in manipulating public opinion in the run-up to the presidential election on December 19th.

Now the question is whether the NIS had systematically orchestrated such activities. According to this paper’s investigation, several reasons made it difficult to see that Ms. Kim had acted on her own accord.

First, the timeline of Ms. Kim’s all online activities using the 11 identified IDs shows that she had done all her work between 9 am and 6:20 pm on weekdays, during what are regular work hours. No post was published on the weekend or on national holidays.

During the second week of October, immediately after Ms. Kim joined Oneul ui Yumeo, she wrote a total of six posts between Tuesday the 4th and Friday the 7th, stopping her activities on the weekend. It was the following Monday the 10th of September when her writing again appeared on the site. During the second weak of December, the period immediately before the presidential election, she wrote a total of 17 posts between Monday the 3rd and Friday the 7th. After taking a break for the weekend, she wrote additional 5 posts between Monday the 10th and the following day, until her apartment was discovered. The same timeline applines to her activities of endorsing or opposing posts by other users.

In addition, Ms. Kim repeatedly uploaded writings expressing a consistent position on certain special topics, such as the Jeju naval base construction, the Four Rivers rehabilitation project, and North Korea. For example, she used three different IDs between December 5th and 7th to criticise the Unified Progressive Party presidential candidate Lee Jeong-Hee for calling the South Korean government ‘the government in the south [of the peninsula].’

That Ms Kim uploaded 91 posts and expressed her opinion 244 times on other posts during work hours, used 11 different IDs, and consistently voiced viewpoints favorable to the government and the ruling party on a special range of topics goes to show that she was not simply expressing her personal opinions. Her work was deliberate and sustained.

Pyo Chang-won, a professor who resigned from the National Police Academy after arguing last December that Ms. Kim should be vigorously investigated, pointed out that “If an NIS employee was working to trace pro-NK writings, then she should have worked inside the NIS office where there is advanced equipment capable of tracing IP addresses. That she worked out of a personal studio where security was weak goes to show that she was engaged in another kind of activity and wanted to hide it from the outside world.”

It remains to be seen whether this kind of activity was conducted solely by Ms. Kim. She is an agent assigned to the psychological warfare unit under the NIS’s third division director. The NIS does not publicise the main duties or size of her unit. The Democratic Party contends that it has approximately 70 members, asserting that the psychological warfare unit may have been involved as part of its regular duties in a systematic operation to upload writings supporting the government and ruling party as well as attacking the opposition party.

It is believed that the police investigation alone will not be sufficient to prove the detailed nature of Ms. Kim’s crime and unravel the complex web of the scandal. The Democratic Party assemblyman Chung Cheong-rae, who is also the opposition party’s ranking member on the intelligence committee of the national assembly, said, ‘The main point is to determine whether Ms. Kim had acted in this way as part of her duty for the NIS, so we will ask about that at an intelligence committee meeting we are calling.’

Comments from Nate:

love****

Unbelievable… How is it possible for an article like this to get buried on Naver…

real****

What the Hankyoreh found, the police couldn’t. What a fair investigation. Now is the time to find all culprits and off their heads. Starting with the NIS employee and then all others who do the same work, and the director.

lade****

At least one thing is clear. Whenever that NIS employee opens her mouth, she lies.

zhsp****

This is a country? They issue an incorrect report about the violation of the electoral law five days before the election, and cause Moon Jae-in [the opposition candidate] to lose votes from the negative perception [of him]. What is the point of revealing [the truth] 50 days after the fact? Completely outrageous. It’s not like one can change reality.”

rscb****

Mom, Bro~ I got a job at the NIS. ^^ Mom and Bro: So what do you do there??? Employee: I work part-time writing online comments for the powerful. ^^ Mom and Bro: Good for you, my daughter~ Call Mom and Bro if there is anything scary. Employee: OK. ^^

hun8****

Ilbe parasites, ke ke ke ke ke. Having a mental breakdown? ke ke ke When someone disagrees, you just resort to ‘commie’ and other labels to foment regionalism, ke ke ke. You are not even worth the name of parasite, ke ke ke.

bust****

I should try writing comments in the style of Ilbe parasites, ke. Frankly I was a Park Geun-hye supporter, but this is just too much… I am disappointed, Park Geun-hye~, he he he.

heec****

Chuh-chuh, how is that a NIS employee ended up doing this kind of garbage, chuh-chuh. It should be thoroughly investigated.

zqas****

If she was doing such legitimate work, the NIS should have responded the moment the police arrived, protecting the employee under its order and doing a briefing. Why didn’t they do anything? They left her in her studio for tens of hours to fend for herself… Forcible confinement? What forcible confinement when she locked herself [in her studio] and refused to come out even when she was told to again and again?

pion****

The Hankyoreh found and examined comments that even the police did not find!! Amazing~ Let’s get The hankyoreh reporters to investigate instead of incompetent policemen~

onmy****

ke ke ke, It is right to critique North Korea. But attacking a particular candidate is not.

yhki****

ke ke ke, why hide in a studio if you are so righteous, ke ke ke. Why monitor pro-North Korean activities outside the NIS? What is so secretive about this when you used 11 different IDs, ke ke ke?

jino****

Since the police has all the IDs belonging to the NIS female employee, all you have to do is compare them against this article? How interesting, ke ke ke. [Hankyoreh] didn’t just examine the IDs pointed out by other users of Oneul ui Yumeo, right? Since The Hankyoreh has put its neck out, the [police] investigating team should also put its out also. Let’s see who is at fault and bring out the axe, ke ke ke.

kshh****

It’s time for Ilbe parasites to appeal to emotion now that they are losing on facts, ke ke ke. About how we should feel sorry for the young woman, ke ke ke ke ke ke.

Wonjong Silver Eun

I know that all the news articles right now are talking about the successful launch of the Naruho satellite, but an article like this shouldn’t get buried…

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  • dim mak

    The hankyoreh must feel real squeezed by the top 3 conservative papers, because this is some shitty muckracking

    Oh dear god she posted some comments on an internet forum

    How could she? Everyone knows government employees are above the average plebe and don’t have their own political opinions

    The implication here is a form of illogical synthesis: that since she is an NIS member and also pro-Saenuri, the NIS must also be pro-Saenuri. This might make sense if there was a concerted and overarching technical method of opinion guidance, but does anyone really think 70 ppl posting comments in a sea of discussion is effective propaganda? Do you know how many people are listed as “opinion guides” by the Chinese government? 20,000 in 2009, and that’s the number they’re willing to admit

    Ok, so she socked 11 IDs

    People sock on forums all the time, so what

    The only thing she’s guilty of is being unprofessional. Would it make a difference if she had done the same thing at home in a private capacity? Or if another NIS member wrote supportive comments of another party?

    • holdingrabbits

      You don’t understand. It’s not a question of the effectiveness of the propaganda, but of the time spent while being paid by taxpayers. Saying “well it’s not as bad as China” doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything wrong done. Imagine if someone walked into court and said “But Mao killed 10′s of millions of people and I only killed 3.” I guess the judge would say “Okay, you’re free. At least you’re not as bad as China.” Let’s also not forget that corruption has already tainted this election through the form of votes being tossed out. While she should almost certainly be fired, she probably won’t be, which will only lead people to believe that the NIS actually was involved all along. Any belief that she was working alone or with the NIS is pure speculation at this point, and that’s why they ought to look into it.

      • dim mak

        That’s exactly what I said, it was unprofessional to do personal things at work, that’s the only thing she’s guilty of. The Hankyoreh has purposely linked her personal actions to the entire organization, one can only wonder why.

        The point about China is not who is worse, but that it’s not realistic to believe 70 people could influence a presidential election by posting comments like any number of anonymous posters. If there really was such a collective motive they would need a much bigger force, or a technical means beyond what the normal person has access to. And if they had some, then why wasn’t she using it for the purpose she’s allegedly guilty of? What kind of propagandist only puts out 200 posts over a few weeks? 17 posts over 5 days? 5 posts in 1 day? None of it adds up. Therefore, unless one believes that government employees have no personal political views, it’s illogical to jump to the assumption that this was conspiracy on the part of the entire organization.

        No, I suspect the liberal rag is just doing the same thing papers like this do all over the world: antagonism for the sake of antagonism, outrage for the sake of outrage. No wonder it lags far behind the mainstream papers.

        • holdingrabbits

          Yeah, I know, but you went into it by saying that it’s untrue. The problem of that being…what if it is true?

          • dim mak

            I didn’t say it was untrue, I said there’s no reason to jump to the assumption this paper did

            These kinds of stories operate on the basis that the commoners all over the world automatically assume the worst of government and corporate establishments, then get riled up into some RAH RAH FITE THE POWER bullshit.

            Good populism, but still not logical in the end

          • chucky3176

            You’re astute. That rag is an activist paper, often calling on the proletariots to rise up and overthrow the establishment and replace it with socialist paradise. I wouldn’t trust their “investigative” journalism if my life depended on it.

          • dim mak

            Unfortunately people who buy into that sort of illogical thought just for the sake of moral outrage, seem to be overrunning the West

            Don’t let it happen to Korea

            Asians need to stand firm against the bullshit

          • holdingrabbits

            Yes, in the West we question things and think critically. I don’t know if the woman involved was working with the NIS and the current government to influence elections, but I can’t dismiss it offhand without thinking about it as easily as you can. In Asia, everyone just waits for the next authoritarian to tell them what to do. But Asians are known for their logical thinking? Just a moment ago I had my co-worker (an educated adult) explain that we have to open the windows in order to let the dust escape while we’re sweeping. There’s also fan death and the kimchi cure-all. If logic can’t be applied to simple things like these that are easily proved wrong, then why does it apply to more complicated things? So hey, just remove the plank from your own eye before you accuse the entire Western world of being illogical.

          • Sillian

            There are different things to consider.

            ‘A > B and B > C. Therefore, A > C.’ As long as the premises A > B and B > C are correct, A > C is true. No matter how complicated it may get, you can eventually reach a conclusion purely based on the set of sufficiently given premises as long as you are ‘logical’.

            Matters like fan death or exaggerated health benefits of kimchi or other fermented foods are in a different category. It’s more like some people readily accept that there must be something they don’t know about human anatomy, physics, chemistry, biology, special conditions, etc. and move on. It’s a matter of ‘attitude’ rather than pure logic. If you actually think about it, such matters aren’t simple things. You can turn them into very debatable subjects in fact.

            As to your co-worker’s story, care to tell us more about what you think went wrong? What was the weather like? What was the outside air quality like? How were the windows arranged? etc. Or are you trying to say you aren’t supposed to open the windows at all in any occasion while sweeping?

          • holdingrabbits

            Well said, as always, Sillian. Though, I am quite sure that while sweeping the dust goes into the pan and not through the window that is blowing freezing cold air inside, I see what you mean. In this case though, I think the mentality of “This is impossible! The NIS would never do anything bad, nor would the current administration! Long live the republic!” is blatantly ignorant. I’m just saying, it’s worth consideration seeing as how we don’t know the details or the extent. Perhaps there were more people than just this woman. Who knows? But if it’s up to Dim Mak, we would never look into it and just accept what someone in a position of power tells us to believe.

          • holdingrabbits

            You said it was “shitty muckraking” which doesn’t sound exactly unbiased.

          • dim mak

            I think this has been an exercise in western thought

            They are thinking emotionally, and don’t even realize it

            He reads everything I write, understood the words, then chooses to ignore them and make up his own conclusion about me

            My entire post is about how unlikely the accusation, and how histrionic the Hankyoreh must be for proposing such a scenario

            Then he goes off on a tangent about how I would never want the issue investigated, on top of some red herrings about kimchi, fan death, etc

            > I think the mentality of “This is impossible! The NIS would never do anything bad, nor would the current administration! Long live the republic!” is blatantly ignorant.

            Who here has ever proposed such a thing? This is so preposterously distant from the conversation one has to wonder why he would even bring it up

            But there is a reason

            These people sees opposition, then projects their own vision of the opposition onto the other person. These are emotionally triggered reactions based on an entrenched, usually moral, position, and thereby, battleground mentality ensues

            I want asians to know this is the standard in western discourse these days, and that even well meaning westerners need to be analyzed critically

          • holdingrabbits

            Fine. I am thinking emotionally by not instantly dismissing the notion that a government could be involved in attempting to rig elections. I am thinking emotionally by considering the possibility whereas you, in your infinitely logical mode, have decided that it is not up for debate.

            I’m not sure you understand what a tangent is. If you mention that illogical thoughts overrun the west and I make mention of the fact that many illogical thoughts overrun Korea and so it’s a silly statement, how is that a tangent? It’s not. This is a tangent: Have you ever been on the bus and someone whose breath smells like soju just coughs on you the whole time without covering their mouth? That really sucks. Tangent concluded.

            While you didn’t profess to believe in the infinite innocence of the NIS, by denying impropriety without any investigation and refusing to accept that anything could be dubious about this situation, you’re sort of coming off as a right wing ultra nationalist. Long story short, you sound like a brainwashed North Korean. There’s almost no sense in arguing with you because you’ve made up your mind that you understand western thought, when really you just sound ignorant for being so reductionist.

            I am emotional for believing in two sides to a story and for allowing possibilities. You are logical because there is only one answer and you know it without even having to ask the question…yeah…logical…

          • dim mak

            I’m certainly an ultra nationalist, what’s the problem?

            So you acknowledge that I never said any of those things, but then you talk to me and about me like I actually did. Why?

            No, see, this is not about the ability of governments to rig elections, or considering both sides to a story. This is about a particular story, with its facts and set of circumstances that leads to people to certain conclusions. I read the story, considered the Hankyoreh’s position, and found it unconvincing based on the facts it presented. You are free to argue otherwise.

            See the tricks being employed here?

            By steering the conversation into generics like government corruption, he can give himself a wider footing without actually needing to argue the facts on a case by case basis

            By painting me with absolute language (anything could be dubious, instantly dismissing, only one answer etc), he maligns the opposition by insinuating I am taking my position because of bias, and not the logical reasoning I’ve already laid out

            Notice how few words he’s spent arguing on the precise points of this issue compared to the paragraphs he spends attacking my credibility?

            This is an attempt at skirting reasoning by securing a moral high ground, to be seen as the great, open-minded compromiser

            Because sounding like the more morally righteous guy is often all it takes to win a debate in western discourse

            That, is precisely the sort of thinking that should not be allowed to spread beyond the west

          • holdingrabbits

            Ha, you’re a trip. You’re like a more eloquent version of Dk. Ultra-nationalism is a mental disorder. When you say “my country, right or wrong” you are saying you don’t care about truth, just what’s best for your nation and not for humanity. It makes you a monster when you say “fuck everyone else, I just care about my country.” It’s such a subjective truth that you really can’t be mad at other nations who do anything wrong to Korea. For instance, you can’t be mad at the Japanese for invading, because they were just ultra-nationalists doing what they do. You can’t be mad at a fish for swimming. So without any sort of objective framework to go on, you really can’t expect much from anyone else or yourself, but you can be a hateful prick.

            At this point, yes, I’ve abandoned talking about the specifics of this article because we’ve gotten off topic, but it’s not like I just jumped to these posts out of nowhere. Go back and read what we’re talking about and you’ll see it’s a relatively coherent strain of thought. At this point, we’re talking about East vs West and you’re making a strawman argument about how I’m not talking about the NIS and the Hankyoreh instead, which would truly be illogical because we changed the topic. You might notice that while I’m only talking to you, you seem to be talking to an imaginary/hypothetical audience (made up mostly of foreigners) using the same absolute language you’re criticizing me for. You can’t accept that I’m not quoting you verbatim and then you get upset when I follow the logical implications of what you’ve said. You said “I didn’t say it was untrue” but you also said it was “shitty muckraking” and really you can’t have both positions. It’s the equivalent of saying “I’m not saying it’s not true, but it’s bullshit.”

            Your world view doesn’t allow for nuance, and that’s why you’re small minded. Notice that I’ve never said that I believe that the NIS used this woman or other agents to influence the election, but just that it could be a possibility and dismissing it without any sort of investigation is just unnecessarily stubborn. I say have an investigation and if it turns out that it was just her fucking around on the internet then fine, but if it turns out that it was a larger thing then we would at least know…but I guess that’s why we have investigations, because we don’t know. Maybe you think you know the truth of the situation, but you actually don’t and your position so far has been “We don’t need to know the truth, because I already know it without doing any research…I just don’t like this newspaper.”

          • chucky3176

            You’re the one with credibility problem. You spend more time attacking his ethnicity, which by the way, got it wrong. Here’s a suggestion for you. Take your chip off your shoulder.

          • holdingrabbits

            I did assume he was Korean, so my bad. It doesn’t really have to do anything with the argument though, nor does it change the fact that Japan invaded. I hear the Chinese and Japanese are on great terms these days. His ethnicity, which I didn’t attack, wouldn’t change a lot in terms of the East vs. West debate since we were talking about Asians and my example was from my experience with an Asian. He used the blanket term, not me. Besides, the point I was making was that using huge blanket terms for entire sections of the world is stupid. East vs. West is a stupid argument simply because it goes on the assumption that billions of people are all the same, which is not the case.

          • chucky3176

            That’s not what you said. You said the West was far superior and that Asians were stupid robots that take orders from the top. Don’t bother going back and re-edit what you wrote because you are a White Nationalist yourself, it looks funny accusing others.

          • holdingrabbits

            1) I have never re-edited a comment I’ve made on here. 2) Before you selectively sample parts from my comment, go back and read the last sentence that says “So hey, just remove the plank from your own eye before you accuse the entire Western world of being illogical.” I don’t think that everyone in the west is logical, nor do i think that everyone in the eastern world is illogical…that’s the thing I’m arguing against. The point of the biblical allusion was to say that “You are not as logical as you may think you are,” not to say “You aren’t logical at all.” 3) as far as robots being told what to do? Yeah, that’s my experience in Asia. Everyone hates hierarchy, but no one is willing to change it when it’s their turn. People still glorify the former dictator Park. Then there’s China, North Korea, Thailand, Myanmar… I’m just not feeling the “free thinking” vibe very much from a lot of places.

          • dim mak

            >Nationalism means you don’t care about truth
            >Shitty muckracking implies something is definitively untrue

            Are you dumb, or just out of things to say

            >Never argues the details in any facts
            >Tells me I’m the one without nuanced views
            >Claiming again I want the issue dismissed without investigation

            See how he can’t get around it? Despite being proven wrong over and over? The emotional bias is so deeply ingrained, he actively CHOOSES to repeat the fallacy even when KNOWING it’s a fallacy. For him, to say that the allegations are implausible is the same as saying it should be dismissed without investigation.

            These are emotional defenses meant to leapfrog the conversation into his own, fabricated conclusions about the opposition. He wants to see me say it should be investigated, not because the allegations are likely to be true, but because it makes him feel emotionally validated

            And notice how he injects his political views into the argument? Like they actually matter?

            It’s why he wastes paragraphs with the “You’re a mean person!” bullshit. You see this all the time with westerners, because they think being more moral, not more logical, makes people more agreeable

            See, inside he knows that when I say western discourse is illogical, it’s not actually every person in the west, but a trend that’s worse compared to the east. Left without a real rationale they pull the “you’re generalizing! not everyone is like that!” card. He KNOWS that everyone is aware of this, but chooses to do it anyway to waste our time

            I’m a nationalist and I think the Hankyoreh is a piece of shit
            I also have good reasoning behind it

            Your argument: UR MEAN LETZ BE TOLERUNT

            This is why you can’t take westerners seriously

          • holdingrabbits

            Indicate any point in the conversation in which you remotely allowed for the possibility of this scandal going higher up. Show me where you said there should be an investigation. Show me where you said that it was possibly true. You can’t, because you didn’t. You just kept calling it stupid while proclaiming victory to your fictional audience in self-aggrandizing terms…all the while, you were missing the point and are just now conceding that maybe there should be an investigation while pretending it was your position all along. You’re forgetting, everyone can go back and read what you said.

            Instead of calling my points dumb, explain to me exactly how nationalism is a good thing for humanity. If you can do that, I will go down on you. You know it’s not good for humanity, you just don’t care. Show me where the nuance in your argument is. You know that nuance isn’t supposed to be a battering ram of single-mindedness, right? Muckraking, populism, stupid newspaper, that’s your argument. Apparently, your grasp of the English language isn’t as good as you think, because putting “shitty” in front of stuff is basically saying that it’s not true/good. If you would’ve called it yellow journalism, also it would be implied that it wasn’t true, due to its sketchy nature.

            I’m not sure where I spent a paragraph saying you were a “mean person,” but to be clear, you are. The classic “you’re generalizing! not everyone is like that” card…yeah, okay, you don’t get that idiom. You can’t “pull a card” if it’s true. You can’t say “Oh, he’s playing the ‘you shouldn’t steal from me’ card.” Or “Oh, he’s playing the ‘I have proof that I didn’t commit the murder’ card.” Sure that works if truth is subjective.

            Organize your thoughts. Address my actual questions. Defend nationalism. Explain why the Hankyoreh is a piece of shit (but that somehow you were saying it could be true all along and that we all just weren’t smart enough to recognize it). And for god’s sake, stop sounding like a desperate lunatic.

          • dim mak

            Wow

            I wasn’t calling your points dumb (they are), I was calling you dumb

            See the difference there

            Here’s why:

            >Not talking about an investigation means I believe there shouldn’t be one

            Yes, a person’s position isn’t based on what he said, it’s the infinite possibilities that he DIDN’T mention.

            That’s his logic in every post, no matter how many times it’s shown to be fallacious.

            Never mind that I was talking about the unlikelihood of these allegations and not whether or not an investigation should be conducted, he needs to latch onto that to make me seem evil and intolerant – because he thinks those things matter in debate.

            Derailment tactic 1: Trying to make this about the philosophy behind nationalism when it is about this story, most likely because he knows he has no argument against the facts.

            Why does he feel that accusing me of being a nationalist brings anything to the conversation? Why does it matter if I am one? Is a nationalist auto-wrong? No, these people do this as a character assassination effort in place of actual reasoning.

            Derailment tactic 2: Reads everything I wrote in the first few posts, ignore any of the factual reasoning I presented, portray me as having leapt to the conclusions I did for no reason, then demands an explanation using his false premises.

            This is an attempt at slandering the opposition without actually having to debate the issue himself, then he turns around and calls me small minded instead.

            >”Muckraking, populism, stupid newspaper, that’s your argument.”

            This is what he gets out of my posts despite reading all my words.
            That pretty much sums up his mindset – one based on taking intellectual shortcuts to confirm emotional biases.

            Because you see, favoring a logical conclusion over unlikelier and less logical theories is the same as arrogant one-sidedness.

            “Aliens MIGHT have built the pyramids, why are you so close minded?!”

            His strategy is to repeat the same mistakes over and over and over in different words, until the original points become so obscured people start giving his views credit out of false equivalency.

            Yet people like this end up dominating western discourse, especially in politics. Even if they’re utterly stupid, even if they don’t actually talk about the issue, the appearance of being morally superior is all it takes.

            Go ahead, read this conversation.

            Read how his first reply sounds like he didn’t understand anything I wrote and just had a lil knee jerk response to the evul gubmint.

            Read how the rest of his posts says nothing about this case, but only about what a bad, narrow minded man I am.

            Why should I keep wasting my time with this guy?

            For Asian readers, it is paramount that you understand that no matter how civil, how loving, how tolerant, how virtuous, how seductive it may seem, much of contemporary western thought is grounded in morality first, logic second. Remember that no matter how ugly, how prejudiced, how hateful, WE should always put truth, logic and the reality of competition first, lest you end up like the guy above.

          • holdingrabbits

            Alright, I’m dumb, but my points weren’t…is that what you’re saying? If not, then clarify. You keep on saying “emotional” but I’m not being emotional. I’m just saying that your attitude is probably the wrong one. The reason that I’m assuming you are against an investigation is because whenever I suggest that there be one, you flip out and say some nonsense about the WEST and then accuse me of derailing. It’s like if I went on a rant about how Chinese people are less intelligent than most nationalities and then accused you of derailment when you challenged the notion. This is called being a cunt. Your inability to see that you’re doing the very things you accuse me of is what makes you bad at this.

            For me, it wasn’t until you turned it into an ethnic superiority thing that I started caring. Your first few posts are fine, but incredibly reductionist and poorly thought out. Of course, I see what you’re saying: that it’s unlikely…but I’m not sure if you’ve noticed that governments pretty much everywhere are pretty corrupt and in this election in particular there have already been instances of corruption, voter fraud, tossing out votes…so maybe with that knowledge there’s more of a reason to look into government corruption than say, aliens building pyramids, but I understand you believe that to be incredibly emotional and illogical. With the knowledge of previous corruption, it’s unthinkable for you to inquire about the state’s activities because your superior society deems it reasonable to lock up political dissidents…usually because political dissidents are too emotional.

            ~~~~~

            Listen Western readers. Hear my voice! I’ve called you here today to show you the shoddy double think of Asians. You see how he accuses me of being emotional, but his slimy asian tactics have been to use personal attacks from the very beginning? This is because they can’t think with their minds, just their feelings, like animals. He pretends to be superior in thought, but ultimately he’s just a troll with a small dick who lives with his mom. He will probably accuse me of making a personal attack for saying that, but he is wrong! His thought process is steeped in defensiveness and I believe you will find that I never said anything about his small dick or his living situation! If he quotes me verbatim, I can merely accuse him of pulling the old “proof” card. I’ve not said anything about his romantic endeavors either, but without making a statement, I think you can probably guess how those are working out for him. Is it condescending to address an imaginary audience instead of the person you’re supposed to be debating with? Possibly! But I hope that the West will hear me and avoid contact with the asians of the world because they all think like this guy here, or at least I believe this to be the case because everyone in my society is exactly the same, so I must assume that about other societies as well. Also, I am an unappreciated genius!

          • holdingrabbits

            I’ll wait to be called a racist for imitating an Asian person’s racist ramblings.

          • dim mak

            what is this shit

            “the west” is not a race, cultural differences are commonly attested, stop playing victim

            of course governments are corrupt
            of course they should investigate it

            the point was given the facts it’s a long shot to insinuate what the hankyoreh is insinuating, ergo shitty muckraking from a biased paper

            what the fuck are you still going on about

            we done here

          • holdingrabbits

            Are you reading this, everyone? He again tries to divide humanity into false dichotomies in order to further his secret eastern agenda! He then concedes that an investigation should take place after spending all this time arguing with me. Is this because the east is reactionary and takes time to calm down before they make a logical statement? One would assume that if he agreed that there should be an investigation, then we would not have spent the past week arguing about something we both agree on. But here it is, an emotional eastern dweller still coming to terms with logical thought! I’m not saying that’s the way it is, but see for yourselves, fellow westerners! He then goes on to say that “we done” once his eastern pride is wounded. In the east, pride is of the utmost importance and men especially will expend their effort in order to “save face.” Don’t let this corrupt and inefficient thought pattern infect you or your children in the west, my imaginary friends!

          • dim mak

            >get wrecked on every point
            >resorts to imitation
            >sweet buttmad tears

            let me get a bottle

          • chucky3176

            He’s an overseas Chinese, tells you what you know.

          • holdingrabbits

            That brings my “brainwashed nationalist” theory even more credence as far as I’m concerned.^^

        • Joe

          This conversation was a hilarious read.

  • commander

    The incident is an illustration of how poor the spy agency’s intelligence is.

    If the agency is to intervene in the last year’s presidential election, shouldn’t it be smarter and more sophisticated? Alleged postings against opposition challenger were too nasty for an intelligence operation.

    Do those at the NIS believe its poor opinions-manipulating operation would work?

    The allegation of the involvment of the low-ranking official at the NIS in the election hints at the likelihood of those in a higher echelon of power being implicated as it is inconceivable for the arrested official to do it alone without authorization above.

  • Paul M

    You’d think she’d frogmarched unwilling voters to the polling station and coerced them into voting her way. Writing smack on an internet forum is hardly violating democratic procedure. Like was said above, she should have done it in her own free time and not while at work.

    • commander

      The center of the controversy is not the extent of postings’ influence, but the fact that the intelligence agency, which is supposed to remain politically neutral, make an intervention in an election. If this goes unpunished, however trivial the interference’s actual influence is, it will continue to make similar attempts.

      • chucky3176

        His point, what’s said by an employee, doesn’t necessarily represent the opinion of the company. We all have used the internet during work hours for personal uses.

        • Brett

          If you want to waste your bosses money, that’s his (your boss’) problem to deal with.

          But if a government (tax-funded) agency is wasting tax-payers’ money, it becomes every person’s right to criticize and call for changes to be made.

          • Paul M

            We’d practically have no one left working for the government if we arrested everyone who wasted tax payers’ money.

          • Justin_kBANG

            Brett makes a good point about the matter of principle being violated here. I like how some people seem very supportive of the idea of watering down the idea of separation of power, rule of law, neutrality of bureaucracy. Watergate does not teach people anything anymore.

      • x1sfg

        Agreed, they should be neutral.

        I don’t know about the ROK NIS, but for US intelligence agencies, the DNI, DoD, DHS, DIA, and the other alphabet soup agencies… The director or secretary of such organizations and members of the NSC are largely political appointments. The whole adage of “It’s who you know.” In the military, GOs and flag officers must be political by nature, not just due to job description, but you can’t put on a star without playing politics. Desegregation of the military, the repeal of DADT, and trying to implement a plan to allow women into combat arms were/are driven by politics. Say one thing wrong that makes the administration look bad, and you’re out like McChrystal and MacArthur.

        Some politics in defense, justice, and intelligence is to be expected. The US does it in a more subtle way. Benghazi and Fast and Furious were put on the back burner during this election season, as well as the economic situation. Stats were fudged a bit to make unemployment numbers look better than they were, while the deficit and the amount of government spending were ignored. Bush, Clinton, and Reagan used similar tactics, it’s nothing new, and it occurs almost everywhere. You can’t change it without changing human behavior. People at the top are career driven and ambitious, and many are willing to step on others to rise to the top.

        Whenever there is an employee “acting on his own,” it’s a translation for that person is the scapegoat. There’s always somebody above pulling the strings. The Iran Contra Affair and Colonel Oliver North is one example. You think a colonel has the sole authorization to do what he did without someone above not knowing?

      • Paul M

        However my impression of the story is that it was her acting on her own without instructions from her boss or higher up. If the NIS really wanted to do such a thing all they would have to do is pay some high school kids or bored university students a few thousand won to sit in PC bangs and troll internet forums. Although saying that, just because they work in an intelligence agency doesn’t necessarily mean that they are intelligent.

        • commander

          Do yo really believe that this scandal was committed by the female official in question by herself?

          The NIS is an spy agency, which means valuing strict discipline in a hiererical organization.

          If the alleged disparaging comments were posted or disseminated by the femalr suspect, the NIS has a bigger problem than expected.

          Thid means the NIS dont know what its employees are doing during working hours or leave them si t idle enough to put on vilifying comments.

          With the North threatening to fire a disguised long range missile, isn’t the NIS too much in a leisurely mood while one of its employees spending working time vainly on public deception?

          • chucky3176

            Yeah, hire one person to sit there all day to click on thumbs up and thumbs down…. that’s a good way to manipulate the elections. lol.. NOT.

            Is the NIS that dumb? Why not do what China is doing, hire 200,000 internet army and pay them by the posts they make. Now that’s the way to do the job property. Forgive me, but I am just not convinced other then someone in the NIS who just had too much time on her hand. The NIS should have some kind of an internet filtering router installed so that its employees don’t abuse the internet surfing rights during work hours. But then again, I understand most of her activities were done from her home.

          • Paul M

            Yes, I really believe that. As you said about the North threatening to fire missiles, do you really think they have the time and man power to troll internet forums? It is hardly the kind of task that needs a highly trained and qualified member of staff. Like I said, just pay some bored students to do that crap and if they get caught then it’s easier for the NIS to deny than it would be if it were a member of staff (as this story demonstrates).

            As for not knowing what employees are doing, I can tell you from my experience of working for a large hierarchical organisation that my bosses don’t give a shit about what I’m doing on a daily basis. As long as my work gets done and I don’t cause any trouble, scandals or try and rock the boat or when they can be bothered to move out of their office they can see my face I’m pretty much left alone. Who knows how much time this employee spent surfing the internet? Up until now she wasn’t causing any undue problems so her bosses let her get on with whatever she was doing.

  • monmon

    The plot thickens! Haha I love reading koreabang it’s all spies, politics and conspiracy theories… Just a few cocktails and it’s a Bond movie.

  • commander

    With confrontation and reconciliatory moods alternating between two Koreas, the NIS has faces the difficulty of distinguishing and tracking pro North Korean activities.

    Plus, the North is presumed to feel no need to collect intelligence by sending infiltrators. Instead, it can take advantage of the Internet or send camouflaged North Korean defectors to gather information on South Korea. As a result, the spy agency face a greater obstacle to trace pro North Korea activists or espionage.

    In addition, the NIS and the defense ministry is equipped with no effective surveillance assets which has led to heavy reliance on the US military. Even the US, boasting state-of-the art intelligence equipment, has failed to figure out what is exactly happening in the hermitic country.

    South Korea hardly grasp the state of affairs in the North.

    Not aware of how to utilize its organizational capacity, the spy agency seems to go back into its previous cloak and dagger mode in an award way: Interfering in the election. The military-backed dictators notoriously abused the spy agency as a tool to oppress political dissidents. This scandal raises a possibility that the NIS might think the elections of Ms. Park with hard line North Korea policy would be more beneficial than dovish opposition presidential contender Moo jae-in.

    But what the NIS failed to notice is that awareness of the public has been elevated following democratization. The general public no longer buy a half baked manipulation.

  • chucky3176

    Oh man, this is getting weirder by the day. The Today’s Humor site admits to giving the ID/password information to the Hankyoreh reporter who investigated the NIS agent, so that the reporter can poke around using her ID to look for any dirt on this woman. Well, the NIS agent is now suing both Hankyoreh paper and the web site for deliberate breach of personal information.

  • Digitalsoju

    Makes me wonder how many times a popular post on an English site was just propaganda planted by the government, with them liking their own post 30+ times.

    • Strelnikov

      The CIA used to write bits in the “Reader’s Digest” during the Cold War, so it’s more possible than you may think.

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