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North Korean leader loves Hennessey, Bond movies

By Wolf Blitzer
CNN

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North Korean leader Kim Jong Il.

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- So who exactly is Kim Jong Il? We, of course, know he's the leader of North Korea. We know he took power after his father, Kim Il Sung, died. We know he's a mysterious figure.

But what else do we know about this man who may already have two nuclear bombs and controls the fourth largest military in the world -- one million heavily armed forces only miles away from nearly 40,000 U.S. troops in South Korea?

"Here's a guy who is very concerned about his physical stature, among other things," says Dr. Jerold Post, a former CIA psychologist who now heads the Political Psychology program at George Washington University. "He's 5-foot-2 and wears four-inch lifts in his shoes."

Dr. Post, in his study of the Korean dictator, says Kim Jong Il also loves to drink a certain Hennessey cognac that sells for $630 a bottle in Korea. "He is the largest customer over the last 10 years, averaging between $650,000 and $720,000 a year in purchases -- while the average [North] Korean earns only about $900 a year."

There are other strange details about this man, according to Dr. Post. "He's recruited these 'joy brigades,' where he finds these attractive young women as early as junior high to entertain senior officials." Kim Jong Il also lives in a seven-story "pleasure palace," Post says, "and sees himself as a great creative force."

Dr. Post recalls that Kim Jong Il once kidnapped the most prominent South Korean movie star and kept her under house arrest with her husband for eight years."

Another tidbit about this man: He has a collection of some 20,000 videotapes, including the James Bond movie collection. "He is fascinated by the media and in fact cruises the Web as well," he says.

But would he launch an attack? "There's certainly concerns he could get carried away, and the degree to which he believes his own propaganda that he is the creator of -- is certainly one of our impressions."



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