No matter what Dennis Rodman says, North Korea is a nightmarish land where countless innocent citizens are shipped off to prison camps and subjected to incomprehensible horrors. Here is an example of what defectors have said recently.

The U.N. is currently conducting an inquiry into human rights violations in North Korea. It's listening to testimony from those who have escaped the country. One of those is 26 year-old woman Jo Jin-Hye, who says that much of her family starved to death, "including an infant brother who succumbed in her arms." When we chuckle over Dennis Rodman's foibles and Kim Jong Un's weird dolphin affinity, it's worth remembering that Jo Jin Hye's father died while being sent to the gulag. Kim Jong Un, that "good hearted kid," is responsible for this, via the AP:

"My baby brother died in my arms because we had nothing to eat. Because I was holding him so much he thought that I was his mom, so when I was feeding him water he was sometimes looking at me, smiling," Jin said, weeping.

She said her grandmother and her 5-year-old brother also starved.

None of this is surprising, exactly. But it is worth hearing.

Meanwhile, on the day that Jo Jin Hye testified last week, the official North Korean news service reported that Supreme Commander Kim Jong Un congratulated the soldier-builders of KPA Unit 267 on "fully displaying the militant stamina and the spirit of devotedly carrying out orders as a guard unit and hero unit in the great worksites of socialist construction as befitting the defenders of the country and creators of people's happiness."

[Photo: AP]