Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cheonan Clown College, Part II

Update:  Consider this can of worms officially closed!  Do not open!

The United States on Wednesday rejected a call by North Korea for a new investigation of the sinking of a South Korean warship in March that Seoul blames on Pyongyang. The U.S. said the findings of a South Korean inquiry that attributes the attack to North Korea are "compelling."

The State Department said another investigation of the sinking is unwarranted and the focus of the world community should now be on coming up with an appropriate response to Pyongyang's provocative behavior.

The comments follow a North Korean request to the UN Security Council for a new inquiry into the March 26 sinking of the South Korean navy ship, the Cheonan.  Pyongyang wants another investigation under UN auspices in which both North and South Korea would participate.


Pyongyang denies responsibility and said in a letter to the Security Council on Wednesday that the most reasonable way to settle the matter is for the two Koreas to conduct a joint investigation.

At a news briefing here, State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said the United States "sees no ambiguity" about who sank the ship and that it is time for North Korea to accept responsibility.

"There's a difference between restraint and willful blindness to consistent problems."
                  President Obama, on Chinese reticence on accepting the results of the international investigation of the Cheonan and supporting condemnation of North Korea at the UN Security Council.

Hmmm.  Problems like using the wrong clipart to illustrate your slide show on North Korean perfidy.

Cheonan Investigators Presented Wrong Torpedo Diagram

In a blow to conclusions that are already under attack from leftwing politicians and activists, a team of experts that investigated the sinking of the Navy corvette Cheonan have admitted showing a diagram of the wrong North Korean torpedo when they presented their findings at a press conference on May 20.

When queried by journalists about discrepancies between the CHT-02D torpedo that attacked the Cheonan and the one depicted in the diagram, investigators said Tuesday that the pictured torpedo was of the model PT-97W and that the error was due to "a mix-up by a staff member while preparing for the presentation."

A South Korean military spokesman said the error was discovered after the press conference and a presentation of the evidence in front of the UN Security Council featured the correct diagram.

Actually, a "consistent problem" in the ROK's Cheonan case has been revelations of falsification of military records concerning the incident and, today, roughly five weeks after the fact, acknowledgment of an embarrassing flub in South Korea's presentation of its airtight case.

As I've stated before, there are solid reasons to believe that North Korea pulled off the attack.

There are also solid reasons to believe that the investigation is an evidentiary clusterf*ck, and the reason that South Korea is only asking for a meaningless "president's letter" from the UN Security Council is that the dossier has as many holes (and as bad a smell) as a piece of moldy Swiss cheese.

As China is by now well aware, President Obama's enthusiasm for this shoddy case has everything to do with his interest in supporting Lee Myung-bak's South Korea as an upgraded military and strategic counterweight to China.

Today, courtesy of the New York Times, the Obama administration tried to walk back its harsh public scolding of China at the G20 summit.  “The toughest part of a generally positive” talk, as the inevitable anonymous official put it.

However, I suspect that the toothpaste is pretty much out of the tube by now.


Anonymous said...

talking of fakes, look who may have done the cyber attacks blamed on North Korea last year.

Anonymous said...

How irksome;)

It came to light Friday that the South Korean government summoned the Russian Ambassador to South Korea and expressed strenuous objections over the Russian government¡¯s failure to provide notification of the findings of its independent team that investigated the Cheonan sinking. The team was dispatched to South Korea around one month ago and concluded that it was unable to view the ¡°No. 1 torpedo¡± as being the cause of the sinking.

According to military and foreign affairs sources connected to Russia, the Russian government provided notification of its independent investigation results only to the Chinese and U.S. governments last week, and South Korea only found out about the content indirectly through those two countries.

Following this, 1st Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Shin Kak-soo summoned Russian Ambassador to South Korea Konstantin Vnukov to the Foreign Ministry on July 4 to express ¡°astonishment¡± at Russia¡¯s investigation findings because the findings were a complete contradiction to the South Korean government¡¯s announcement. They also expressed severe dismay about the fact that Russian notified only the U.S. and China about the findings, while leaving South Korea out of the communication loop.

Foreign affairs sources reported that Shin used forceful and diplomatically irregular language to denounce Russia¡¯s behavior, calling it ¡°unfriendly conduct that violates trust,¡± ¡°bewildering,¡± and ¡°disappointing.¡± It was also reported to Shin proposed additional discussions with Russia during the meeting, and that the South Korean government subsequently provided additional information to the Russian government.

¡°Was it not the South Korean government that provided assistance to the Russian investigation, saying that they would be objective?¡± asked a former senior official in foreign affairs and national security, adding that the Russian investigation results ¡°raise fundamental doubts about the [South Korean] government¡¯s announcement of its Cheonan investigation findings.¡±

It was reported that while the Russian investigation team did conclude that the Cheonan was not sunk by a North Korean bubble jet torpedo, it did not present any definitive conclusions about the direct cause, suggesting several possible scenarios such as a secondary mine explosion following a problem with the Cheonan during its maneuvers. Analysts are interpreting this as being due to the fact that the Russian team, made up of submersible and torpedo experts, focused its examination on the question of whether the sinking resulted from a strike by the ¡°No. 1 torpedo.¡±

¡°The Russian investigation team¡¯s primary interest was in whether North Korea, which had been unable to produce its own torpedoes until 1995, suddenly was able to attack the Cheonan with a state-of-the-art bubble jet torpedo,¡± said a South Korean diplomatic source.

Indeed, the technology for bubble jet torpedoes, which are capable of splitting a vessel in two through the expansion and contraction of a bubble resulting from a powerful explosion, is possessed only by the U.S. and a small number of other countries, and has only been successful to date in experiments on stationary ships rather than actual fighting. The joint civilian-military investigation team also acknowledged in its June 29 briefing to media groups that North Korea was the first to have succeeded in using a bubble jet torpedo in the field.

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