North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il afraid to fly; media afraid to report truth
While all the world's media reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-il went to Russia -- by train -- his first visit in nearly a decade as his nation seeks economic aid,
not one news outlet in the West explained why Kim spent all that time and all those kilometers worth of train track to get to Russia. Is he afraid to fly? Yes, he is.
And while Kim met with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and spent some time in the Far East and Siberia, the fact remains that Kim suffers from a severe fear of flying phobia, called aerophobia, and never ever flies in airplanes. He is apparently is afraid of having a panic attack in mid-air, or of the plane crashing. This is the mindset of a very unstable man, a madman one might say. And yet not one media
outlet will report these "details."
Google the news: not one article mentions Kim's fear of flying or why he always takes trains -- not planes -- to visit nearby China or Russia.
A world leader goes to visit another country for a high-level summit and rather than take an airplane, he prefers to sit on a heavily-guarded private train that carries him 7,000 klilometers
from station platform to station platform? And this is not news? This is not analyzed? This is not disseminated?
When Kim visits China he pulls the same thing. He never flies. What is he afraid of?
Of course, millions of people suffer from various degrees of fear of flying, and it's not something to laugh at. But when a world leader, and a dangerous world leader at that, like Kim, is afraid
to fly in airplanes, some reporter somewhere should sit up and take notice, no? And yet not one news report about Kim's trip to Russia contains these facts. Not the Associated Press reports,
not Reuters reports, not CNN's reports. And what point does the world let itself be hypnotized by a lazy media that is afraid to print the truth about Kim Jonh-Il's mental state?
This is not the first time Kim has travelled to Russia by non-commercial flight, er, train. In 2001, he traveled more than 7,000 kilometers to Moscow by train for talks with then-president Vladimir Putin, who now serves as ''prime minister''.
Kim is a man who needs to be removed from office because of mental instability. The news media should not enable him anymore by mis-reporting -- even deleting -- the facts on the ground.
Fear of flying forces Kim Jong Il to use fleet of private trains
Leo Lewis, Asia Business Correspondent 2009
Kim Jong Il, the enigmatic North Korean despot and pathologically nervous flyer, has created a magnificent fleet of railway trains to convey him safely between his Pyongyang palace and secret mountain lair.
The six trains, made up of 90 heavily armoured carriages with luxury interiors, are believed to serve 19 stations across the Stalinist regime — all for the exclusive personal use of Mr Kim and a handful of his closest retinue.
Satellite imaging suggests that the trains never travel very much faster than 37mph (60km/h) across the country. They are also organised to ensure the survival of Mr Kim should anyone attempt to attack him. A train precedes the convoy to check for mines and other threats while another filled with bodyguards follows behind that of the Dear Leader.
The glimpse into Mr Kim’s elaborate travel arrangements is understood to come from Seoul and Washington intelligence reports, the results of which emerged in the South Korean media yesterday. According to those reports, the trains are fitted out with conference suites, reception halls, opulent living quarters and satellite communications centres; an entire mobile palace from which Mr Kim can continue to command the hermit nation.
Tracks for the trains join lines that lead to the border with China in the north and are the route through which Mr Kim leaves for his sporadic trips abroad.
Mr Kim’s fear of flying is well known, though his nerves over travelling by train may also be justified. A massive explosion erupted in 2004 after overhead cables ignited a goods train carrying chemicals and fuel oil. The incident claimed at least 160 lives but, intriguingly for intelligence sources, also took place in a spot that Mr Kim’s train had travelled through hours earlier.
Previously gathered intelligence reports suggest that Mr Kim maintains about 15 palaces and retreats, several of which appear to be reachable only by underground railway.
The prime residence near Pyongyang, which includes a racetrack and a giant waterslide, has its own underground station invisible to spy satellites. Equally puzzling is the vast Hwangju palace — the family’s mountain retreat, where several railway lines disappear from the surface into tunnels.
The main purpose of the trains is believed to be the execution of the Dear Leader’s punishing domestic schedule inspecting factories and military facilities — official duties that he appears to perform still with vigour despite reports that he suffered from a debilitating stroke last year.
Kim Jong-Il's fear of flying 'caused by earlier helicopter crash'
June 17, 2003
North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il's fear of flying has been caused by a 1976 helicopter crash that seriously injured him, a press report said yesterday.
His unexplained aversion to air travel, which led to his epic 24-day train journey to Russia in 2001, was revealed by Ingolf Kiesow, who served as Swedish ambassador in Pyongyang from 1979 to 1982, in an interview published in the Japanese weekly Shukan Gendai.
"I have met Kim Jong-Il up close several times. A close look exposed a scar from the top of the forehead to the pate," Mr Kiesow was quoted as saying.
"It was the scar of a serious injury, which he suffered when he boarded a helicopter and got involved in its crash inside North Korea toward the end of 1976," he said.
The interview was conducted in Stockholm by Japanese diplomatic writer Masayuki Koike, who claimed to be a long-time friend of Mr Kiesow.
It was published in Japanese and its English version was not immediately available.
Fearful flash-back memories of the helicopter accident had long troubled Mr Kim, who was in his mid-30s when it happened, Mr Kiesow said.
He also said Mr Kim's seclusion from the public eye from 1977 to 1978 was due to "his indulgence in alcohol".
Mr Kim, 61, is the eldest son of North Korea's founding father Kim Il-Sung, a former anti-Japanese guerilla leader, who died in 1994 after moulding a Stalinist state on the northern half of the divided Korean peninsula.
The junior Kim, known as the "Dear Leader", remained a reclusive, mysterious figure until 2000 when he held a historic summit with South Korean president Kim Dae-Jung.
After taking full control of the country's powers after his father's death, Mr Kim toured Russia in 2001 via trans-Siberian railways to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.
It was a sentimental journey of sorts as his father, also known to be scared of flying, took the same route on his trip to Eastern Europe in his heyday.