Photos of North Korea's newest rocket
April 8th, 2012
09:03 PM ET

Photos of North Korea's newest rocket

By Adam Levine

In an unprecedented move, North Korea allowed international media, including CNN's Stan Grant, Tim Schwarz and Scott Clotworthy, to visit its Tongchang-ri launch site and see, for the first time, the Unha-3 rocket being readied for its launch.

North Korean crew works on the booster stage of the Unha-3

Until now satellite imagery had shown preparations of the launch pad but no rocket had been seen.  These are the first pictures of the rocket, taken by CNN's Tim Schwarz.

Middle section of the Unha-3 rocket

As Stan Grant reports, the Kim Jong-Un government opened up the launch pad to the media intending to prove it is launching a satellite for scientific research, and not a missile test.  Still, much of the world suspects this is the launching of the next phase of the regime's missile program, meant to test missile technology under the guise of a satellite launch.

North Korea's Unha-3 rocket sits on the launch pad

The head of the launch site, Jang Myong Jin, told CNN's Stan Grant he is "disturbed" by these allegations.

"Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile, this is why we invited you," Jang Myong Jin told CNN's crew.

Unha-3 on the launch pad

The tour included the launch pad, the satellite itself, and the control center. (see the video here).

North Korean soldier stands guard in front of the Unha-3 rocket

The launch is scheduled to take place between April 12 and 16th to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the birth of communist North Korea's founder, and grandfather of the current leader, Kim Il Sung.

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  46. Jon

    And the dumb thing blew up two minutes off the launch pad. Leave it to North Korea to own the best rocket slave labor could build.

    April 13, 2012 at 5:59 am | Reply
  47. Fred Flinstone

    If these Banana Republics were smart, they would follow hobbyist forums as hobbyists have the newer technology to launch smaller and more efficient satellites. Instead they think they have to use superpower technologies from the 60's which is more costly, complicated, and prone to failure.
    For example, they could launch helium balloons to carry a small rig to the outter atmosphere and launch a small rocket from there with a much smaller and capable satellite. But the egos of these leaders would not allow them to do something that is not comparable to the methods of the superpowers.

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  48. Joel

    I think this rocket with go up and deliver its payload of a satallite quite legally. And the evidence that the rocket poses a threat is imperative to halt the real threat of another north korean spy satellite. If the us does in fact go out of bounds during this legal operation then I imagine a lot of south korean families should blame the US fear and not the launch. Quite a few countries launch sattelites. This is a demonstartation of the political leverage in simply calling an area "bad guys"

    April 9, 2012 at 9:17 am | Reply
    • Jacknyd

      Legal???? What planet are you from. They agreed not to launch any satellites missiles or test any Nuclear devices at all for the 240000 tons of food we agreed to give them in exchange. Try reading before making dumb comments.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:48 am | Reply
      • mac

        Its still legal lmao because they were promised food all of a sudden youre gonna cry wolf? go fuck yourself americano

        April 9, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
    • Orwell is not impressed

      Joel, what part of NK do you come from?

      You must be at an Embassy outside NK, because NK cannot figure out how to install Internet.

      Do you get paid a grain of rice per letter written?

      April 9, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply
      • Jon

        He's posting here on the internet, so he obviously isn't from North Korea. The real question is if the Chinese are still giving him 1RMB per post.

        April 13, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  49. wrong roller

    this thing will never fly , they put the paint on inside out , to much friction .

    co-efficiency of lift is dependent on laminar flow of politics over stability of the region , right china .

    April 9, 2012 at 8:56 am | Reply
  50. Oscar Pitchfork

    It's too bad the bottom of the rocket doesn't have on it in large red letters:"PLACE ON GROUND-LIGHT FUSE-GET AWAY!"

    April 9, 2012 at 8:52 am | Reply
    • Mike

      @ Oscar. Hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!

      April 9, 2012 at 9:30 am | Reply
  51. jorge washinsen

    that rocket is leaning or the photographer is leaning.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:18 am | Reply
  52. David M

    "Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile, this is why we invited you," Jang Myong Jin told CNN's crew.

    Oh yeah, now I see it. I thought it was a Volkswagon. You're right. It's just a rocket to launch a satellite. Nothing more. We know that your new 'dear leader' would never do anything to rattle the rest of the world. How silly of us, to think you have ulterior motives.

    Just don't screw up, because if you do, there's a lot of REAL missiles ready to land in your sand box.

    April 9, 2012 at 8:02 am | Reply
    • kev

      Why is it you think they have some other ulterior motive? Because its been force fed to you your whole life???

      April 9, 2012 at 8:03 am | Reply
      • David M

        Riiiight. Because all their rhetoric has been so benign. They never speak in terms of how they will respond in the most severe terms, how they see anyone that disagrees with them as an aggressor, how they are so open with their thinking. And never mind the fact that their people are starving to death while Fat Boy is stuffing his face with scooter pies. Yeah, they are the poster child of a peaceful, tranquil, prosperous nation. Too bad we all are not like them.

        April 9, 2012 at 8:10 am |
      • Howard

        Since the launch of the first Sputnik in October 1957, satellite launchers have been converted long range missiles of war. It really wouldn't be a problem to convert a genuine satellite launcher into a long-range missile of war. All you have to do is change the guidance package.

        April 9, 2012 at 8:47 am |
      • Orwell is not impressed

        Because NK did not contract the Chinese or Russians to launch their little satellite.

        NK cannot figure out how to grow food reliably, and they are going to launch an orbital satellite on their second try, when the first one 14 years ago failed miserably exploding parts across Japan?

        On the second launch they are going for a polar trajectory, which is exceptionally hard for any country with lots of experience.

        NK are fools, who knows what their intentions are, they do not know.

        April 9, 2012 at 10:52 am |
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  53. kev

    The media blows, this is all hype. What a joke, leave them alone!

    April 9, 2012 at 8:01 am | Reply
  54. fuckallrednecks

    God Bless North Korea

    Death to usa the great satan

    From Iran with Hate

    April 9, 2012 at 4:12 am | Reply
    • Raymond

      You`re a member of that religion of illiterates I think...

      April 9, 2012 at 4:40 am | Reply
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      April 9, 2012 at 4:50 am | Reply
    • Mom


      April 9, 2012 at 4:53 am | Reply
    • Mom


      April 9, 2012 at 4:54 am | Reply
  55. billybob

    So... a nuke can't be loaded onto one of these and land in Japan/S Korea or anywhere else? Do you understand now? Also look at that puny soldier, N Korean soldiers wouldn't last 2 days marching south, they would have to stop and raid all the E-marts and farms food first.

    April 9, 2012 at 4:07 am | Reply
    • volusiaguy

      Well....I wish you were right but Japan and Vietnam proved that wrong. Those little rice-tards can go twice as long and travel twice as far on half as much as traditional soldiers. They put on their pajamas, straw hat, give 'em a gun and a bag of rice and they're good for a month. We make our soldiers wear so much crap they are just bogged down compared to these guys. Fortunately, technology and might is on our side.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:25 am | Reply
  56. I am God


    April 9, 2012 at 3:30 am | Reply
  57. jason

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    April 9, 2012 at 3:25 am | Reply
  58. I am God

    Europe seems to be silent about koreas doings...

    April 9, 2012 at 3:02 am | Reply
  59. John

    Does anyone, including the US government, realized that the North Koreans have to literally assemble the damn missle in order to fire it. It doesn't even look close to a silo launched missile. The odds favor it coming apart before the third stage has a chance to fire.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:42 am | Reply
  60. PoolQ

    Why is North Korea in the news so much these days? Didn't care or hear from those guys in years...was great. Who is paying to send this to the press. Kim Jun Ill successor gets more power....blah blah blah.

    April 9, 2012 at 2:35 am | Reply
  61. Al

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    April 9, 2012 at 2:26 am | Reply
  62. debra g

    OCCUPY WHITE HOUSE Throw Obamma out and blow the who dam place up
    maybe then we would get some peace and stinking quite
    SHUT up Hillary !!
    Shut up Obamma and wipe that fake punk ass smile off your face
    you wont be smiling soon
    when you cause billions to die with your ignorance ..
    i used to love America
    now it saddens me what we have running the white house
    a damm monkey !

    April 9, 2012 at 2:07 am | Reply
    • debra g

      Vote for Chris ! at least he speaks the truth 😛
      I get so pissed at all this threats and lies
      is sick
      and we cant do nothing about it
      just wait to get microwaved permentaly complimants of the Obummer administration

      April 9, 2012 at 2:10 am | Reply
    • Terry Moore

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      April 9, 2012 at 2:22 am | Reply
      • Orwell is not impressed

        Terry, she is not from the US. She is a leading diplomat from Republistan.

        Their warriors are trained to say they love America right before they go berserk and attack it.

        April 9, 2012 at 2:45 am |
      • John

        Exactly like the other user said. These people are Muslim extremists who don't agree with the current U.S government so they come on and play pretend.

        April 9, 2012 at 4:41 am |
    • hey

      Are you stupid or what?

      April 9, 2012 at 2:30 am | Reply
    • hey

      debraG, are you stupid or what

      April 9, 2012 at 2:31 am | Reply
    • johnnysalami

      Your spelling is as atrocious as your racial hatred.

      April 9, 2012 at 9:34 am | Reply

      A FREAKIN MONKEY!how dare you.what hell was bush junior?a white baboon?you ignorant retard!obama had to wipe juniors rear end and clean this mess up.want another spin on this one?try this one know why obama got elected?for the simple reason that all the WHITE contenders knew they were screwed if they took that seat because of juniors actions.and you know what?i think obama has done decent with what he was handed you retard!

      April 9, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
  63. debra g

    Would someone please tell me why do they keep sending Hiliary to the middle east
    she is making it ten times worse one minute trying to sugar coat things the next is ( IRAN your time for diplomacy window is closing all these threats the hold hag needs to shut her yap !

    if any thing USA needs to worry about is the missle that North korea is sending up !
    not IRAN
    its just redicilous all this fighting over who does what
    and who gets what
    those government powers dont care a rats ass for us civilians
    not either on Isreal Soil or USA or Iran
    its a POWER thing about oil

    and you watch ole obamma and rat face will get so many nations pissed at them
    they will get nuked even before Israel does
    and mr Goodbody Obamma will finally wake up to his little alice and wonderland in the Whitehouse
    when he sees even his damn family get nuked along with the rest of us
    he just a human thats all
    GOD forbid we cant find a peacfull solution to this hell
    i suggest we start digging graves before the sanction ( here we go again talks with Iran )
    .... passing a shovel Start Digging its gonna get really ugly !!

    April 9, 2012 at 2:01 am | Reply
    • emizzon

      You should probably open up an atlas and figure out where North Korea is before you run off on one of your hate filled tirades. Bemoaning your displeasures in such a way displays a lack of sense. It's one thing to be disappointed and voice a rational opinion on the matter at hand, but as we can see you resort to bias opinionated attacks. Which closes the door on an open reasonable discourse between each side.

      This should go for everyone, talking seems to be a thing of the past, now it's who can seem to yell the loudest. I hope in the future you and everyone else can approach comments with a clear calm mind. May cooler heads prevail.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:27 am | Reply
    • Orwell is not impressed

      Having a bad day debra g? Or are you always like this? A full lobotomy might help, you are half way there.

      April 9, 2012 at 3:00 am | Reply
    • David M

      Quite a rant you have going on there. I would rather have Hillary in the middle east than at home. But since she is occupied otherwise, maybe you could offer to go to NK and shut them down. You seem to have all the hype.

      April 9, 2012 at 8:06 am | Reply
  64. Bman

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    April 9, 2012 at 1:43 am | Reply
  65. WhitePeopleAreRacistMaggots

    White people are out to destroy, South America, Middle East, Africa and Asia . They are indiscriminately killing African Americans here in the USA and creating hate and anger towards Blacks, Hispanics, Asians and Arabs. It is not wonder they are upset about this launch, they are fearful of any progress made by a non white race. They kept the Africans in poverty by creating wars and disease in the region, they are also creating the same situation in the Middle East.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:43 am | Reply
    • Cody Wilkerson

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      April 9, 2012 at 2:03 am | Reply

      I am sure that you will be able to relocate where ever in the world you would feel better about yourself and you would probibly be surprised to find that no one would care. I love the fact that you think all whites are racist when it is you appearing to be the racist through you comments. You also say that whites are pedophiles. Well, I am sure that every race has its share of these types of people. Stop placing blame on everyone else for your short falls. Step up and be a man. Take responsibility for you actions and your words. Don't just complain, do something like leave to a place that will accept you type of beliefs.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:38 am | Reply
    • Orwell is not impressed

      Any guesses what country this comes from?
      Wonder if they are being paid by money or food by their government employer.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:50 am | Reply
    • people are dumb

      Ok, First off White Americans are not killing off Black Americans. It they were then we wouldnt have stupid people posting stupid racist remarks on here. There is more Black on Black Crime then there is White on Black, or Black on White, or white on white. The problem is that, it's only news if someone with fair color skin kills someone with dark color skin. Do you see on nationally televised news, where a black man kills another teen Black man... Nope.. What about a white guy kills another white guy.. nope.. You may hear about it on the Local channels, but the nationally televised news wont show it. The only way a white on white gets shown is if they kill 4 to 6 people, but one fair skin man kills a dark skin teen and BAM! Its all over the news for months!! Everyone needs to see that there is more BS and Racist crap in the media then there is in real life. Get over it.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:38 am | Reply
  66. WhitePeopleAreRacistMaggots

    Hope this rocket with the observation satellite can spot all the white pedophiles out there

    April 9, 2012 at 1:34 am | Reply
    • Steve

      You don't need a rocket, stupid. Just go to 4chan, they're all there.

      April 9, 2012 at 2:36 am | Reply
  67. I am God

    Usa and Japan are too defensive.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:24 am | Reply
  68. I am God

    The rocket is not a missle, it is a satellite. Can't you see the wings or plates?

    April 9, 2012 at 1:21 am | Reply
  69. janerose

    America will start World War III.

    April 9, 2012 at 1:20 am | Reply
    • kev

      Not America. The elites. One other thing.... I bet you anything that there will be a "terrorist" attack at the 2012 Olympics in London. Just wait and see...

      April 9, 2012 at 1:21 am | Reply
    • debra g

      i agree on that one
      with hilliary and her threats
      and obamma worrying about his damn election as we are helpless to do anything
      the whole thing just sucks 🙁

      April 9, 2012 at 2:03 am | Reply
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  70. kev

    screw the us govt. its all a game. n korea is not testing a missile. the media and our govt is trying to maintain the division

    April 9, 2012 at 1:06 am | Reply
  71. Raebo

    We should have sent in James, James Bond

    April 9, 2012 at 1:02 am | Reply
    • stupidamerican6443752

      I think you meant: "Bond. James Bond."

      April 9, 2012 at 1:15 am | Reply
  72. stupidamerican6443752

    It has an especially phallic shape. They must be compensating for their shortcomings.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:57 am | Reply
    • Joe M.

      Its really called the Long Dong missile.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:59 am | Reply
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  73. Orwell is not impressed

    If the North Korean government were serious as to their stated goals, they would contract the Chinese to launch their satellite.

    They are idiots. They are in poverty for that reason. They will continue be. Meantime we wait for their next international provocation, or internal disaster. Their priority to engineer a nuke and inability to feed their people sums it up.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:53 am | Reply
    • Martyr2

      It is quite simply really... if you are testing a missile launch you can launch a satellite with it as your test. First you prove your technology for launching the missile is correct, second you get a satellite in space and third you can make the US look stupid and paranoid. Brilliant move for the North Koreans. Problem with the whole thing is that the US can't really prove it is a missile test and that they moving forward with a dangerous program.

      April 9, 2012 at 1:56 am | Reply
      • Orwell is not impressed

        I am more concerned that the Japanese change their constitution and re-militarize to respond to the NK insanity.

        Then what will the Chinese do? I am just surprised the Russians and Chinese have not put a leash on NK. It does not serve their interest to have the Japanese ramp up their military industrial complex. I would guess the Japanese could build a nuke in a few months and deliver it on a rocket about the same; and have another dozen shortly after.

        NK government are fools, dangerous fools, both domestically and internationally. Considering that they cannot sustain agriculture, they are a nuisance to the US, not a direct domestic threat.

        April 9, 2012 at 2:40 am |
  74. Raebo

    Be careful
    Some say that the US have figured away to hack into the trajectory codes and will after lift off fly it right to Tehran.
    So do you feel lucky, punk.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:48 am | Reply
    • Joe M.

      No, you can't hack the controls of a ballistic missile if it has internally set target coordinates. But you can disable it with the same laser that the US recentlyused to hit and disabld one of its own target satellites.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:58 am | Reply
  75. Philo Beddo

    Nice picture of the soon to be shot down rocket.

    April 9, 2012 at 12:40 am | Reply
  76. Balls 2U

    ready the giant anal probe!

    April 8, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Reply
    • Joe M.

      And if you examine the last picture, you can see that North Koreans are growing gigantic soldiers because the soldier is taller than the rocket behind him. This shows that the missile scare has been a front for the super-secret gigantic soldier growth program.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:24 am | Reply
  77. b redmond

    PLEASE...anyone wanting to know what is going on in North Korea, read Escape from Camp 14 by Blaine Harden. Do not post your views until you have read this incredible book. What is (and has been for 50 years) is beyond frightening. Pass this on to everyone you know. Thanks.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Reply
  78. Hadenuffyet

    Send them food aid. Just goes to the military , peasants starve. Mogadishu redux...

    April 8, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Reply
    • Joe M.

      Yes, they may starve, imprison and torture large numbers of their own people, but its all worth it because now they have tremendous national pride. Their soldiers can wear colorful uniforms with lots of medals and they can goose-step furiously through the main square in Pyongyang which we completely levelled during the Korean War.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:33 am | Reply
      • seenenough

        Ain't it the truth....

        April 9, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  79. komododr

    NOrth Korea wants to have the prestige of space exploration when it cannot even feed its own people, LOL. Idon't know why the world keep giving them food. Let them starve to death. Or have China alone feed them which they've doing a for sometime now.

    April 8, 2012 at 11:04 pm | Reply
    • Koe

      china is feeding the U S too. Debt.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:20 am | Reply
      • Joe M.

        Yes, but the new Chinese leader had to come to the USA about a week ago to ask for massive shipments of soy beans from American farmers so that all the Chinese people can enjoy stinky tofu with their donkey dinner.

        April 9, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • Kumokus Alus

      Some starve to death other die of overeating

      April 9, 2012 at 1:01 am | Reply
      • Sameer

        If only there were a way to start a city or an army made up of lovers and the boys they love! Theirs would be the best pibsosle system of society, for they would hold back from all that is shameful, and seek honor in each other's eyes. Even a few of them, in battle side by side, would conquer the world, I'd say. For a man in love would never allow his loved one, of all people, to see him leaving ranks or dropping weapons. He'd rather die a thousand deaths! And as for leaving the boy behind, or not coming to his aid in danger why, no one is so base that true love could not inspire him with courage, and make him as brave as if he'd been born a hero. by

        September 10, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  80. onestarman

    Target Practice for ABM

    April 8, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Reply
  81. Zach

    How can you tell its not a missile? The Saturn V wasn't a missile, but we sure as hell turned it into one. Just because its not a missile now does not mean it will remain that way next week.

    April 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm | Reply
    • Whombatt

      The Saturn 5 was never configured for, nor considered for use as a weapons-carrying rocket. Its sole purpose was hoisting heavy payloads into space, a task that it performed flawlessly.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:37 am | Reply
    • Joe M.

      The only difference between a rocket and a missile is where or who you point it at. Do you think Kim Jong Un is really curious to know if the moon is made of green cheese?

      April 9, 2012 at 12:41 am | Reply
    • Dharanivel

      that, both HTML5 video demos run beautifully in Opera v10.52 RC4 for Mac at full-resolution; so the “best veweid…” line is pedestrian. Give due credit to Opera developers. It’s a smokin’ desktop/iPhone browser that makes the agnostic Web better for users & easier for developers (especially with the full Cocoa rewrite on Mac builds now).

      September 13, 2012 at 1:39 am | Reply
  82. Chris

    Why is Robin Meade staring at me below in the add!!! She's staring into my SOUL!!! STOP LOOKING INTO MY SOUL!!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  83. Chris

    See with you're own eyes the giant paper mache missle!! It's made of cabbage and cantaloupe. Feast upon it with your giant spoons... Ha-za!!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:58 pm | Reply
    • Joe M.

      Sorry, its really a giant kimchi vat that will splatter any enemy with spicy cabbage. The gas attack can be fatal.

      April 9, 2012 at 12:15 am | Reply
  84. Chris

    Oh no you didn't Chris! Why do you have to keep talking about the great "Belt Conspiracy"!? That's idiotic. You're an idiot! If you were like me, and I know I am, you wouldn't mess with me!!!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      I don't think that this is a real story because I didn't like the ending. The plot had a lot of holes in it and the main character "Soldier standing next to missle" wasn't fleshed out enough for me...

      April 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm | Reply
  85. RealityCheck

    If he wanted to reduce suspicion, he probably should have come up with something better than asking a reporter "Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile"

    April 8, 2012 at 9:57 pm | Reply
    • Chris

      Maybe that was the only english he knew?
      "How are you today Mr. Soldier?"
      "Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile"
      "What? I was asking you how you were doing."
      "Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile"
      "What the hell are you talking about?! Are you a robot tiger?! Don't put a hex on me, you gypsy!"
      "Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile"
      "AAAHHHH!!!! Get out of my mind!"
      "Can't you see with your own eyes this is not a missile"

      April 8, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Reply
  86. Chris

    Yeah! What Cas said! How are we going to keep our pants on if, and when, belts are no longer made! The seas will run red with the blood of m y enemies... and their beltless pants!!!! Touche!!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Reply
  87. Chris

    Does anybody on an international level take them seriously? North Koreans are starving in the street and yet they waste their money on this?! Good job!

    April 8, 2012 at 9:54 pm | Reply
  88. cas

    This is a nonsensical story....North Korea policy failed when the Bush administration labeled them as part of the "Axis of Evil".....and waged an "illegal"war with a pretext of FAKE WMD on one of the members of this supposed axis of evil.

    April 8, 2012 at 9:52 pm | Reply
    • Dan

      North Korean policy failed when Clinton gave them aid in the form of heating oil cash and food every time North Korea would have a tantrum.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:01 pm | Reply
      • Chris

        George Clinton and the Pfunkadelics? What does he care about North Korea? You better check your facts, Dan the Man from Pakistan. Are you even Pakistani? Probably not! YEAH, I'M CALLING YOU OUT! You're not from pakistan, you're probably from the US!! Liar liar pants on fire! Now.... give me your belt!

        April 8, 2012 at 10:09 pm |
    • Chris

      I hate fake WMD's. They taste like chocolate covered poop! Not good for the GI system! Because, it's already filled with poop. Yeah smell what I'm cookin'? It's like the Human Centipede, but with more color and less legs.

      April 8, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Reply
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