[Source: akpure.com]

Years ago I read a book, edited by CovertAction Magazine founders Philip Agee and Louis Wolf, entitled Dirty Work: The CIA in Western Europe, about the CIA in Western Europe.

All the articles and essays were very interesting but one had a distinctive title “The CIA Makes the News,” by Steve Weissman. This is still going on today in many forms and in many regions and countries of the world.

[Source: sfparis.com]

One such region is the Korean Peninsula where the socialist Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) stands in sharp confrontation with United States imperialism and the so-called Republic of Korea (ROK).

One entity specializes in creating misinformation about the situation on the Korean Peninsula, posing as an “independent” and “authoritative” source for news about the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Korean Peninsula.

This entity usually tries to put a “neutral” spin on propaganda against the DPRK emanating from Seoul. It smooths the rough edges of Seoul’s propaganda against the DPRK and recycles it in a way to make it look more plausible.

The entity is none other than “NKNews,” which is owned by an American company that is registered in the tax haven of Delaware and operates out of South Korea.

One of the functions of NKNews is to provide a veneer of credibility and respectability to the mainstream media’s coverage of the DPRK and related matters.

Frequently, Western media outlets cite NKNews as a supposed “independent source.”

However, if NKNews is an independent source, then the question should be: independent from what exactly?

In fact, despite proclamations of “independence” and “neutrality” by NKNews, it has been shown to receive funding from the U.S. State Department, the Pentagon and U.S. Army Pacific Command.

Curiously, NKNews uses the jargon of “spooks” when it talks about “open sources.” What source other than an open one does a journalist have? Is it not an admission by NKNews that its so-called “information” is coming from sources which are not open?

NKNews likes to project itself as objective and independent, playing the “good cop” to the “bad cop” “Daily NK,” a far-right website in South Korea which is funded by the U.S. National Endowment for Democracy, a conduit for the CIA.

A screenshot of a computer

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[Source: dreamstime.com]

The “Daily NK” has been responsible for some of the more blatantly ludicrous and demonstrably false stories about the DPRK.

One example is its false reporting that DPRK supreme leader Marshal Kim Jong Un had died in 2020.

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[Source: youtube.com]

A close look reveals that some NKNews staff and writers also write for the Daily NK, notably Alek Sigley and Gabriela Bernal, showing that there is a nexus between NKNews and the Daily NK.

Back in 2021 NKNews carried an article by Alek Sigley titled “Ask a North Korean: What Do North Koreans Think of Regime Sympathisers.”

The article was full of McCarthyite smears, not only targeting the militantly pro-DPRK Korean Friendship Association but also Korean-Americans and organizations like “Women Cross the DMZ.” Without any evidence, they were accused of being “pawns” of the United Front Department of the Workers’ Party of Korea.

Interestingly, the author of the article, Alek Sigley, had been detained and then expelled by the DPRK in July 2019. Sigley himself confessed to DPRK internal security to have carried out espionage and anti-DPRK activities. It was after the intervention of the Swedish embassy that Sigley was expelled from the DPRK instead of facing a prison sentence for espionage. Sigley had entered the DPRK on a student visa to study as a foreign student at Kim Il Sung University.

However, Sigley abused this and violated the terms of his visa by acting as a reporter for NKNews while in Pyongyang.

Sigley talked of “consumerism” and a “middle class ” in the DPRK, basically seeking to undermine the image of the DPRK as a socialist country.

This is actually an old trick of the CIA as, back in the days of the Cold War, the CIA created the “convergence theory” and employed former Trotskyite James Burnham to paint the USSR and other socialist countries as “capitalist” or “state capitalist.”

Sigley also wrote approvingly of how anti-U.S. posters were removed from public display and that this was a good thing.

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Alek Sigley [Source: ntnews.com.au]

The true face of Sigley is as a so-called engager, a believer in “changing the regime.” Sigley and others wanted to see the DPRK drop its militant anti-imperialism and eventually dismantle the socialist system.

The Korean Central News Agency of the DPRK, referring to Sigley, reported that “Investigation revealed that at the instigation of the NK News and other anti-DPRK media he handed over several times the data and photos he collected and analysed while combing Pyongyang by making use of the identity card of a foreign student.”

NKNews was founded by a German Marshall Fund employee named Chad O’Carroll in 2010. The German Marshall Fund was, according to German whistleblower Udo Ulfkotte a “CIA front group.”

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[Source: ourenergypolicy.org]

In those days O’Carroll used the alias Tad Farrell, probably to conceal the fact that he was actually an employee of the German Marshall Fund so as to hide the involvement of the German Marshall Fund in the setting up of NKNews.

O’Carroll’s LinkedIn profile shows that he set up the “Korea Risk Group,” the parent company of NKNews, in April 2010, but also began working for the German Marshall Fund as a “digital project manager” from August 2010 to July 2012. This shows a clear overlap between his time at NKNews and the German Marshall Fund.

O’Carroll also held a third job as Director of Communications of the “Korea Economic Institute” of the U.S. until 2013.

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[Source: youtube.com]

The Korea Economic Institute describes itself on its website as “a non-for-profit, educational organization partnered with the Korea Institute for International Economic Policy (KIEP), a public policy research institute funded by the Government of the Republic of Korea.

O’Carroll is also linked to another shadowy outfit, the “House of the Rising Stars.” Little is known about the “House of the Rising Stars” but it appears to have some connection with Western intelligence services and was formed by the initiative of then-U.S. President Barack Obama.

Mr. O’Carroll is quite the dashing cosmopolitan. It is hard to identify his real nationality, but it appears that he was from a wealthy Irish-American family or an Irish family with U.S. connections living in London.

O’Carroll grew up in a big house in Camberwell, South London. O’Carroll studied at King’s College London which is well known for its links to the military and security services. O’Carroll studied journalism in the U.S. after he had become editor of NKNews.

Other key figures in NKNews in the past were Hamish Macdonald and former New York Times journalist Oliver Hotham.

Macdonald, who is described as a journalist and researcher, was the Chief Operating Officer for the parent company of NKNews, the Korea Risk Group. He is also an associate fellow of the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a body which is linked to the British military and intelligence services.

Hamish Macdonald [Source: nknews.org]

One of the vice presidents of RUSI is retired U.S. General (and former CIA Director) David Petraeus.

The director-general of RUSI, Karin von Hippel, is a former U.S. State Department employee.

Oliver Hotham, editor of NKNews from 2013 to 2020, was a former journalist for the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times (London) and also the U.S.-based Vice magazine.

Hotham was once responsible for staking out a picket of the South Korean embassy in London organized by the Korean Friendship Association UK in November 2013.

Hotham and the other NKNews reporter tried to finger and harass the picketers. Out of nowhere, a North Korean “defector” appeared and proceeded to harass the picket.

This was clearly a stage-managed provocation by Hotham and the NKNews team.

Later Hotham was seen talking to a smartly dressed, middle-aged man who appeared to be some kind of British diplomatic or security official. Hotham left NKNews in 2020 to work for the French news agency AFP.

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Oliver Hotham [Source: internazionale.it]

Chad O’Carroll registered NKNews as a UK company at Companies House in November 2014. The address given for NKNews in the Companies House registration was 1st Floor, 2 Woodberry Grove, Finchley, London, England N12 0DR, which is actually a private house at which more than 1,000 companies have been registered, many of them scam companies.

Curiously, although NKNews claimed to have staff in London, Seoul and the U.S., it was registered as having a share capital of £1.

Clearly, this was a front company or a shell designed to conceal the true ownership of NKNews.

Subsequently, NKNews was dissolved as a UK company in June 2015, less than one year after it was registered.

One can speculate that NKNews realized that being registered as a UK company meant it would be subject to greater scrutiny and would have to be more transparent, something that it would not want.

The Korea Risk Group was established as the parent company of NKNews in 2013 and registered in the U.S. tax haven of Delaware.

Curiously, the notorious CIA media front “Forum World Features,” run by the late British right-wing journalist Brian Crozier, was also affiliated with the Korea Risk Group.

[Source: Screenshot courtesy of Dermot Hudson]
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Brian Crozier [Source: powerbase.info]

Despite protestations that it is “independent,” in fact, the parent company of NKNews received a total of $421,292 from the Pentagon as well as from the U.S. Army Pacific Command. This is probably the tip of the iceberg.

Funding from the CIA and other Western intelligence services is likely hidden through subscriptions to NK News.

NKNews subscriptions are $3.84 per week and a subscription to the “specialist NK pro” service is much higher, said to be $2,000 per year. Who would pay that amount of money? Only intelligence agencies and government departments.

NK News was relocated from London to the South Korean capital of Seoul in 2017. Given that South Korea has strict laws about any dealing or interaction with the DPRK, it can be surmised that the relocation to South Korea was sanctioned by the South Korean authorities and that NKNews is in fact under the control of the South Korean authorities. It should be noted that a former South Korean army commander is a writer for NKNews.

[Source: Screenshot courtesy of Dermot Hudson]

NK News is, however, different from some former front organizations of the CIA and other Western intelligence services: Whereas some of these were run by people from the far right, many of the NKNews staff, such as O’Carroll, are professed liberals who expound “human rights” and “universal values.”

NK News is thus very typical of regime-change NGOs in the era of “color revolutions” that are run by Trump-hating liberal Democrats.

Nevertheless, like its predecessors, it serves the aims of the U.S. empire by spreading misinformation about one of its main adversaries, the DPRK.

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