Scatological Spying

Source: Dawn

Nevertheless, Kim doesn’t commute with his commode because he’s one of those people who simply can’t use other people’s loos; the travelling toilet is actually for security reasons: Kim is concerned that foreign powers and hostile agencies are constantly trying to steal a sample of his stools in order to analyse them and learn if he has any health issues they should know about. This isn’t paranoia, as scatological spying has a long and interesting history.

Read: Live and unfiltered: Kim Jong Un captivates South Koreans

Stalin, for one, was very interested in learning more about Chinese leader Mao Zedong’s personality, and when Mao visited Russia for what was to be his only meeting with Stalin, the Soviet supremo ordered that his Chinese counterpart (and strategic rival) be well fed and taken care of during his stay.

This wasn’t just hospitality or communist camaraderie, as a well-fed Mao would then also need to frequently visit the bathroom. Unknown to him, his excrement was then collected and sent to a special lab for testing. The tests weren’t designed like those conducted on modern stool samples —which can determine infection etc — but was instead intended to glean clues as to Mao’s personality. Soviet scatologists believed (based on a once trendy pseudoscience) that a subject’s personality could be determined by studying their stools.

One reason the USSR had to resort to this, according to former agent Igor Atama­nenko, was because contemporary Soviet spies did not have the kind of listening and surveillance tech available today and so had to resort to ‘extravagant’ means of intel collection.


Categories: Asia, North Korea

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