Kim Jong Un’s Half Brother Was Just Taken Out With Poison By 2 Female Assassins

This combination of file photos shows Kim Jong Nam, left, exiled half-brother of North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, in Narita, Japan, on May 4, 2001, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on May 9, 2016, in Pyongyang, North Korea.
AP photos by Shizuo Kambayashi and Wong Maye-E

On Feb. 13, Kim Jong Nam, the estranged half-brother of North Korean dictator, Kim Jong Un, was assassinated while waiting to board a flight in Kuala Lumpur. His killers are believed to have been two female agents dispatched by Pyongyang, according to multiple reports. One of the suspected assassins appeared shortly after the attack in airport security footage wearing a white shirt emblazoned with “LOL.”

But this is no laughing matter. Details are still emerging, but some reports suggest Jong Nam was poisoned, either by a needle or a chemical spray. But, according to BBC News, a Malaysian police official told a local news agency that a woman had approached Jong Nam from behind and covered his face with a cloth laced with liquid. Jong Nam “suffered burns as a result of the liquid” and died en route to a nearby hospital. He was either 45 or 46. A 28-year-old woman is now in custody.  

This, of course, wouldn’t be the first time assassins have used poison to eliminate high-profile dissidents living abroad. In 1978, Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian writer who had defected from the Soviet Union a decade before, died after he was shot in the back of the leg by a ricin pellet fired from the tip of a weaponized umbrella. More recently, in 2006, Alexander Valterovich Litvinenko, a former Russian spy, died after drinking poisoned tea in a London hotel. Investigators later concluded that two former KGB agents had laced the tea with radioactive polonium-210.  

Jong Nam’s death is not a wholly unexpected conclusion to a life on the run. The eldest son of Kim Jong Il, Jong Nam was bypassed in favor of his half-brother for succession when his father died in 2011. Kim then fled the Hermit Kingdom and has spent the past several years traveling across Europe, Russia, and Asia. All the while, he feared assassination. In 2012, he begged his half-brother to spare him.  

“Please withdraw the order to punish me and my family,” Jong Nam wrote in a letter to the North Korean dictator. “We have nowhere to hide. The only way to escape is to choose suicide.”

Jong Nam’s fears, of course, were not unfounded. Since assuming total control of North Korea, Jong Un has ruthlessly hunted down anyone he perceives as a threat, executing a number of senior officials, including his own 67-year-old uncle. In an interview with The New York Times, a South Korean intelligence official said that “there has been a standing order” to kill Jong Nam since 2011, and that there was an assassination attempt in 2012.

It is widely speculated that Jong Nam was denied the throne because of a trip he made when he was younger. In 2001, Jong Nam, then about 30 years old, was intercepted with a fake passport at the Japanese border. The reason for his illegal trip? He wanted to visit Disneyland in Tokyo. It’s unclear whether Jong Nam ever fulfilled that particular dream, but in the years after he fled North Korea for good, he was often spotted with fashionably dressed women in airports and spent a lot of time gambling in the Chinese city of Macau.

The South Korean government is assisting Malaysian authorities with the investigation into Jong Nam’s death. Meanwhile, according to a South Korean news agency, the South Korean military intends to use loudspeakers to blast news of the assassination across the border to inform the North Koreans of what their fearless, and incredibly paranoid, leader has done.

An Air Force U-2 Dragon Lady flies a training mission. (U.S. Air Force photo/Master Sgt. Rose Reynolds)

For some brave U-2 pilots, life on the ground just can't compare to flying a 64-year-old spy plane to the edge of space, but some airmen need that extra rush.

For Capt. Joshua Bird of the 99th Reconnaissance Squadron, he seemed to have found that rush in cocaine — at least, that's what an official legal notice from Beale Air Force Base said he did.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Navy photo)

A shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola in Florida has left four people dead, including the gunman, law enforcement officials said at a Friday news conference.

The shooter and two victims were killed at the base and another victim died after being taken to the hospital, said Chip Simmons, deputy chief of the Escambia County Sheriff's Office.

Another seven people remain hospitalized, including two sheriff's deputies who engaged the gunman, Simmons said at Friday's news conference. One was hit in the arm and the other was shot in the knee. Both are expected to recover.

Read More Show Less
A UH-60 Black Hawk departs from The Rock while conducting Medevac 101 training with members of the 386th Expeditionary Medical Group, Feb. 16, 2019. (U.S. Air Force Photo/Tech. Sgt. Robert Cloys)

(Reuters) - A Black Hawk helicopter went down in central Minnesota on Thursday, killing all three soldiers on board, after it lost contact with the Minnesota National Guard during a maintenance test flight, Governor Tim Walz said on Thursday.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon's latest attempt to twist itself in knots to deny that it is considering sending up to 14,000 troops to the Middle East has a big caveat.

Pentagon spokeswoman Alyssa Farah said there are no plans to send that many troops to the region "at this time."

Farah's statement does not rule out the possibility that the Defense Department could initially announce a smaller deployment to the region and subsequently announce that more troops are headed downrange.

Read More Show Less

I didn't think a movie about World War I would, or even could, remind me of Afghanistan.

Somehow 1917 did, and that's probably the highest praise I can give Sam Mendes' newest war drama: It took a century-old conflict and made it relatable.

Read More Show Less