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Rev. Moon's submarines, sold to Kim Jong-Il, empower a nuke threat to the West Coast
August 4, 2004 7:44 AM   Subscribe

Rev. Moon's submarines, sold to Kim Jong-Il, empower a nuke threat to the West Coast Comment from Atrios: "North Korea Has Dozen Subs Could threaten us with sea-launched missiles. Where'd Dear Leader get them? It looks like he got them from the guy who writes the paychecks of BillGertz, Tony Blankley, Wes Pruden, Andrew Sullivan, Jonah Goldberg..."
posted by Postroad (31 comments total)

 
"By supplying money at a time when North Korea was desperate for hard currency, Moon helped deliver the means for the communist state to advance exactly the strategic threat that Moon’s newspaper now says will require billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars to thwart."

So, does any of the talking heads clamoring about the dire and imminent threat of Saddam Hussein plan to ask anytime soon why we're letting a man who sells weapons to terrorists hold public meetings in government buildings?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:01 AM on August 4, 2004


Erm, what terrorist acts has North Korea launched recently?
posted by zeoslap at 8:02 AM on August 4, 2004


meanwhile, hare krishna's have seized o'hare airport and scrambled a squadron of ford trimotors to bomb saugatuck with sandbags.
posted by quonsar at 8:03 AM on August 4, 2004


Erm, what terrorist acts has North Korea launched recently?

I suppose when Bush includes Korea, along with Iraq and Iran in the ridiculously coined "Axis of Evil" and then throws terrorism accusations at Iraq, it's bound to get confusing. Korea is part of Bush's distinguished group because of the development and possession of WMDs, which for the most part, isn't disputed by most if any nations. Of course there's no dispute that the States has the largest stockpile of WMDs, but that's another subject.
posted by juiceCake at 8:59 AM on August 4, 2004


Zeoslap... don't be naive. Here's a decent summary of North Korea's activities. (There's also this issue of an active nuclear weapons program...)
posted by ph00dz at 9:02 AM on August 4, 2004


Weird, a guy in the US sells actual subs to a terrorist nation, but commentators call Michael Moore's actions treasonous.
posted by mathowie at 9:08 AM on August 4, 2004


Is this the same Rev Moon who allegedly fled N. Korea during the war and has been a staunch anti-Communist in nearly every field of his public life? I haven't seen any statements retracting those feelings by Moon as intimated by the redacted pieces.

I also have trouble believing the Russians would sell these subs through an intermediary if their military capacity was intact or could later be reconstituted.

However, I wouldn't rule it beyond the realm of possibility that money and ignorance combined make it a possibility. However, I still find the whole thing difficult to swallow.

The odd bit to me is that the Jane's article doesn't mention the chance of the tech being sold, but rather developed by the DPRK. The FPP seems to make the case such material could be sold, but I'm sceptical.
posted by infowar at 9:10 AM on August 4, 2004


zeoslap - Come on now. Are you feeling especially masochistic today ?

If we are to accept the Bush Administration's definitions of terrorism - which seem to include acts of terror inflicted by states upon their citizens - then North Korea commits terrorism literally every day. Look up North Korean human rights abuses. They sounded to me, when I did, worse than any evidence of Saddam Hussein's crimes against humanity which have been uncovered (or dug up, as it were) so far by investigating US officials. For that matter, the attempted genocide in Sudan may soon exceed the scale (if it has not already) of Saddam's crimes.

But, the recent record of North Korea's sheer, ongoing brutality inflicted on it's own citizens is - as far as I'm aware - nearly unrivalled compared to human rights abuses by any other nation on Earth. Very little compares but for the attempted Genocide in Rwanda.

Then there's the fact that the Bush Administration has cited, repeatedly, the possibility of acquisition of WMD's (by nations the US has disagreements or a history of conflict with or which have a history of, or ongoing contacts with - as do Iran, Pakistan, and North Korea - active terrorist groups.) as a sufficient Causus Belli.

North Korea, further, has been holding Seoul hostage for decades by way of Pyongyang's tens of thousands of artillery tubes pointing at the South Korea capital and ready to inflict massive civilian casualties.

North Korea is agressively pursuing the acquisition of nuclear weapons (biological and chemical as well, no doubt) and has been tied to the network - operating out of Pakistan - recently discovered as a global black market in the equipment, technological knowledge and designs, and materials perhaps, necessary for the construction of nuclear devices.
posted by troutfishing at 9:15 AM on August 4, 2004


I can't find the article I read about these boats, but if I recall it correctly, the subs were mostly coastal patrol diesel Foxtrots produced in the 50's-60's (no ballistic missile capability) and one or two Golfs, which are similarly obsolete boomers. The last of the Golfs were retired in the early 90s.

These quite complicated machines were sold as scrap and then transferred to North Korea, which is not known for its maintenance programs. I have my doubts about the ability of these boats to submerge, much less come back to the surface. As a threat on a 1-10 scale, I'd rate NK ballistic missile subs as a 1.
posted by CRS at 9:16 AM on August 4, 2004


sells actual subs to a terrorist nation

how easily the lingua franca of bushco bullshit infiltrates our lexicon.
posted by quonsar at 9:36 AM on August 4, 2004


Foxtrots are (or more to the point, were) blue-water boats. At least, the former Soviet Union deployed their Northern Fleet and Petro boats out pretty far.

However, keeping the surfaces equal to the number of dives is a nontrivial exercise even in World War II-era boats, requiring not merely rigorous maintenance but skilled, well-drilled crews. It's not like a bunch of Moonies is going to hop into one, thumb through the operator's manual, and reenact The Hunt for Red October or something. I'd say a 1 is being awfully generous even given your scale.
posted by alumshubby at 9:36 AM on August 4, 2004


infowar, the article you link is a summary, while reuters specifically mentions in the third paragraph that the jane article does reference the subs (as well as the specialists) . And by "being developed" you must mean having the guys who did the original recreate it once again ... or simply nick it for ya (the ultimate maintenance program in some quarters, I guess)

Also, this CIA report mentions Golfs, but not Foxtrots. Noisy for sure. Then again, you'd have to be listening 24/7. And that simply does not happen for a variety of reasons, some of which are mentioned in the recent 9-11 report (although that might change once there is a specific, old-fashioned military threat).

Bottom line: North Korea (and possibly Iran) has become more dangerous to the world under dubya's "war on terror" watch. By his own standards.
posted by magullo at 9:49 AM on August 4, 2004


Phoodz: So, what you're saying is that you agree with Zeoslap that North Korea has not launched any terrorist acts recently? Your link doesn't claim that they have.
North Korea's treatment of its own people is, of course, utterly unacceptable. However, if "terrorist" is to have any meaning at all, surely that is not what we mean by it.
posted by Zetetics at 10:01 AM on August 4, 2004


a squadron of ford trimotors to bomb saugatuck with sandbags

First they came for Saugatuck, and I did not speak out, as I preferred Ludington.
Then they came for Zeeland...
posted by ulotrichous at 10:23 AM on August 4, 2004


Zetetics -- I'm not sure why you're defending Kim, but that attitude is something like, "But he stopped hitting me... I guess he really does care."

Ultimately, though, I guess you're right if you only count kidnappings, plane bombings, and assasinations as "terrorism" and not the delivery of arms to a wide variety of groups throughout the world that actually carry out those actions. It's true, that they haven't done any of that stuff for the last few years, instead they've restarted their nuclear and long range missle programs.
posted by ph00dz at 10:41 AM on August 4, 2004


I, for one . . . ah, forget it.
posted by swift at 10:54 AM on August 4, 2004


N. Korean rail explosion foiled missile shipment to Syria

Recall ten Syrians died in the train explosion.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:39 AM on August 4, 2004


Man, who knew Illuminati would start to seem quaint and naive?
posted by RylandDotNet at 11:43 AM on August 4, 2004


Andrew Sullivan: "With last week being the most trafficked in the history of this blog, it's a good time to take my annual month of August off."

I guess we won't be hearing from him on this issue.
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on August 4, 2004


Phoods: Nothing I wrote was in any way intended as a defense of Kim Jong-Il. I just wanted to point out that the piece you linked to seems intended to argue that North Korea has minimal involvement in terrorism. It states:

In terms of direct terrorist action, however, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (as the nation is formally known) has been relatively quiet since 1987. . .(Kim Jong-Il, by the way, assumed power in 1994)
Please note that an observation of fact need not be a defense.

The North Korean regime is utterly indefensible, as I mentioned in my previous comment, but talking of North Korea as a terrorist state only obscures the very real reasons for concern, as outlined by Troutfishing.
posted by Zetetics at 12:49 PM on August 4, 2004




Why is some people so scared by submarines, when a bunch of guys with boxcutters can do so much damage with so little effort ?

Personally, I'm much more scared by the fact there is still people who believes in god as an external, unknowable entity and feel the need to follow high priests and their laughable interpretations of "god will" or science fiction rationalizations (tomfoolery) a la Scientology, or integralist reading of "sacred" texts like some Christians and they obtuse oppression of stem cell research and gay marriage or integralist Islamist with their obsession of killing the infidel.

Even some corporate pundits went nuts preaching the benefits of free market, quickly forgetting free market theory is just a model of economics, it isn't THE omnipotent solution to problems.

Now these organizations are, imho, by far more dangerous then nuclear weapons, as they usually breed ignorance and fear to control their followers.
posted by elpapacito at 1:23 PM on August 4, 2004


I hear you, Zetetics... and perhaps that was unfair. Still, NK fits almost the classic definition of "rogue state" even without all the kooky terrorism stuff. It would certainly appear that they're financing their WMD programs by doing all kinds of straight-up crime -- drug trafficking (heroin/meth), counterfeiting, money-laundering, etc... Now, when a state engages in those type of activities to the detriment of the world as a whole and that region in particular, it's really just a semantic argument as to whether they're a "terrorist state" or not. Bad people doin' bad stuff...
posted by ph00dz at 1:33 PM on August 4, 2004


Actually, yeah: Moon's been a stauch anti-North Korean his whole life. The guy was going to produce a hagiography of Gen. Macarthur, fer chrissakes. Unless he a) just wanted to unload some subs or b) wanted to bilk Dear Leader out of some money -- which would be shockingly out of profile for a cult leader -- I don't really see Moon aiding and abetting the "enemy".
posted by solistrato at 4:23 PM on August 4, 2004


it's really just a semantic argument as to whether they're a "terrorist state" or not. Bad people doin' bad stuff...

But making a distinction between state oppression and state terrorism doesn't make one automatically favour the one, as you readily admit. Distinction is essential to productive conversation and debate.

Terrorism and terrorist have become umbrella terms that erode distinction and therefore clarity. When you say bad people doing bad stuff we certainly need to consider what is bad or eventually we'll be using terms like badism or evilism.

Some would argue, and I do believe I've seen such arguments on MetaFilter, that the United States is behaving like a rogue state in regards to the Iraq situation for example, shady deals, violation of human rights, profiteering, ethnic discrimination and so forth. Few, at least as far as I've seen, have argued in the same breath that the States is a terrorist state.
posted by juiceCake at 5:46 PM on August 4, 2004


Why is some people so scared by submarines, when a bunch of guys with boxcutters can do so much damage with so little effort?

Because E=mc^2, I think. Or, to put it differently, any mechanism by which a country can deliver a nuclear explosive device is pretty scary, and far more than 3000 people would die.

Personally, I'm much more scared by the fact there is still people who believes in god as an external, unknowable entity and feel the need to follow high priests and their laughable interpretations of "god will" or science fiction rationalizations (tomfoolery) a la Scientology, or integralist reading of "sacred" texts like some Christians

Nuclear weapons aren't dangerous, but religion is inherently so?

The problem hasn't ever been religion itself, but the fact that human beings are excellent at using whatever tools they have at hand to rationalize their behavior.
posted by namespan at 6:30 PM on August 4, 2004




Magullo: I don't recall denying that Jane's mentions the subs. What I said was "the Jane's article doesn't mention the chance of the tech being sold, but rather developed by the DPRK."

The Jane's article I referenced is not necessarily a summary, but it is an excerpt from the full article. Since I don't have the $ for a subscription I can't say whether the full article mentions the possibility North Korea would sell the technology or weapons. But what I did say was the bit I read at Jane's only mentioned the possibility of NK developing the technology.

That said, it is not inconceivable that a media outlet would speculate such tech would be sold. I'm skeptical on that as I said. There would have to be a mighty incentive to sell such unique technology when it could be developed internally - especially if Kim is as paranoid as portrayed and wants a deterrent. It makes no sense to sell a trump card, but who said government makes sense?

One thing is for sure and that is the US won't strike directly at North Korea for the foreseeable future. The US seems to be unwilling to attack an actual army and with Seoul under a virtual hostage situation I don't see that changing soon. The same reason is why I don't think the US will risk war with PRC over ROC.
posted by infowar at 7:23 PM on August 4, 2004


how easily the lingua franca of bushco bullshit infiltrates our lexicon.

Peace, man. You dig me?
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:48 PM on August 4, 2004


MetaFilter: How easily the lingua franca of bushco bullshit infiltrates our lexiconTM.
posted by sixdifferentways at 8:44 PM on August 4, 2004


And then they came for the Moonies, and I did not speak out.
posted by zaelic at 4:10 AM on August 5, 2004


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