North Korea may not have an ICBM that can reliably hit any part of the continental United States, as the Pyongyang government has claimed. In fact, the evidence seems to point against it.
However, the Hermit Kingdom does have one technologically advanced piece of propaganda weaponry available to it that should strike fear into the hearts of every man, woman and non-binary individual in the free world.
The North Koreans, ladies and gentlemen, have Photoshop. And further shocking evidence suggests they might have even paid for it as opposed to getting a cracked version from The Pirate Bay.
According to the U.K. Daily Mail, the stunning revelation came just days after the launch of the Hwasong-15, an ICBM purportedly capable of reaching nearly anywhere in the continental United States.
The news initially sent off alarms in Western governments and prompted a meeting of the U.N. Security Council. Then, things began to fall apart.
The first thing to fall apart was the Hwasong-15 itself, which commercial aviation crews witnessed breaking up upon re-entering the atmosphere during the test.
However, that was just the re-entry phase. What about the launch? Well, if Dr. Marco Langbroek — a self-described spy satellite tracker in The Netherlands — is correct, that was manipulated by the Kim government as well.
So, I just discovered that the North Koreans DID tamper with their #Hwasong15 launch photo’s! Two images from clearly same viewpoint, but dramatically different star backgrounds! Orion (Southeast) versus Andromeda (Northwest)! @planet4589 pic.twitter.com/ZzhFa3HwaM
— Dr Marco Langbroek (@Marco_Langbroek) December 4, 2017
According to Langbroek’s analysis of the photos, the star backgrounds from two pictures — purportedly from the exact same viewpoint — were dramatically different.
Here it is a bit more clearly:
More evidence of tampered #Hwasong15 imagery: two images, mirrors of each other (look at exhaust plume, lack of number on missile body 2nd image) so opposite viewpoints. Yet starfield in background both south-southeast, Orion and Canis major (but with Sirius missing!)@planet4589 pic.twitter.com/ZqfygbOwFa
— Dr Marco Langbroek (@Marco_Langbroek) December 5, 2017
It isn’t just Langbroek who had doubts about the pictures. Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics astronomer Jonathan McDowell also had doubts that were confirmed by Langbroek’s analysis.
I am skeptical about the stars, it’s hard to get stars and foreground objects in same pic – is it possible it’s photoshop
— Jonathan McDowell (@planet4589) November 30, 2017
Now, you may be thinking to yourself, wow. They went through all that trouble to torrent a copy of Photoshop just to alter photos of an ICBM launch. If you were like me and feared they were wasting their time and bandwidth, fear not; it turns out another ballistic missile launch from a submarine that was circulated by the usual North Korean propaganda sources back in 2015 was also obviously photoshopped.
According to the wonderfully ungrammatical report from the Korea Central News Agency — which, for my money, manages to outdo The Onion for laugh-to-word ratio — the firing of the “ballistic missile from Korean-style attack submarine is an eye-opening success as signal as satellite launch.”
And it was — allegedly — a shattering success for the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and its leader.
“The ballistic missile was developed on the personal initiative of Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army Kim Jong Un, first secretary of the Workers’ Party of Korea and first chairman of the National Defense Commission of the DPRK, and under his meticulous guidance,” the report read. “Kim Jong Un learned about the tactical and technological specifications of the newly developed ballistic missile and watched its test-fire.”
That’s when analysts looked at the picture of the launch and noticed something unusual:
The U.K. Telegraph said German aerospace experts say that footage of the launch was “strongly modified,” which is a nice way to say the North Koreans photoshopped it. The evidence came from the fact that the reflection of the rocket’s thrust in the water doesn’t match the missile’s actual trajectory.
In a tweet, Langbroek said the reason for the North Koreans’ decision to retouch the Hwasong-15 launch photos on Photoshop was probably just for reasons of “aesthetics.”
Is there a more sinister purpose behind it? For the moment, there don’t necessarily seem to be any credible theories floating around, at least among reliable sources. That said, the evidence that the Hwasong-15 launch was a failure that the Kim regime tried to cover up makes the photoshopping of the launch just a little suspicious.
Either way, it’s a reminder that this is a government that has nuclear weapons and frequently threatens to use them, yet doesn’t think that the world will be able to figure out that they’re photoshopping ICBM launch photos. If that doesn’t discomfit every thinking person on earth, we’ve truly become jaded.
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