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Subject: Israel?s attack on Syria & North Korea's mysterious transport ship
HYPOCENTER    9/21/2007 12:14:53 AM
The Israeli attack on the Syrian nuclear installation got me thinking?.. The nuclear materials were smuggled into Syria visa via a North Korean ship, right? The ship, which changed its flag somewhere during its travels from point A to B ? was tracked by the Israelis by satellite (or some other means). So if the Israelis were confident of the ships contents AND location then why not just sink the ship somewhere out in the open ocean ? or better yet, get a commando unit (like a SEAL team) to stealthy board the ship somewhere out in the middle of the ocean in the dead of night and take control. At that point the ship could be either searched for intelligence or sunk by the commando team or Israel could use it as evidence against Syria.... It just seems obvious to me, that a strike on Syria is more dangerous than a strike on the transport ship. Can anyone explain to me why then, it was more advantageous for Israel to do what it did?
 
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GOP       9/21/2007 10:11:42 AM
Irrefutable proof. If they would have sank the ship with no proof of where it was going, then the world press would have had a field day. So, by doing it the way they did, they put away any doubts and accomplished the mission, so it worked out better.
 
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HYPOCENTER    Proof of what?   9/21/2007 11:09:39 AM
What do the Israeli's have proof of? That a North Korean ship docked and unloaded its cargo into Syria, that's it. Nobody can be sure of what the cargo was however, because no proof exists (was destroyed).

The Israeli's got lucky here, and I'll tell you why I think so. After the strike, the nation was put on it's highest level of alert in order to be prepared for the expected Syrian response (it was assumed Syria would respond). Also, not very many people in Israel knew of this mission (no leaker's even after the fact), it was obviously very very secret and well executed.

What helped Israel was their level of secrecy involved, and Syria's complete surprise over the entire strike. Syria was clearly not expecting a strike like this. This caused a delayed reaction and made Syria appear guilty to the outside world.

The Israelis got lucky here, they were expecting much bigger blowback that what actually happened--they were clearly expecting the usual condemnation from Europe and a kinetic response from Syria.

So again, I ask.... why not stealthy intercept and commandeer the tanker, confirm the cargo, then show it to the world as indisputable proof of the nuclear hijinks between North Korea, Syria (and maybe Iran)? Once Israel makes its case, it can then expand and bomb suspected research facilities in Syria.

It just so happens that with the way it happened it worked out extreemly well -- almost flawlessly actually -- but I think that's due only because Israel got lucky.




 
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gf0012-aust       9/21/2007 11:44:38 AM


So again, I ask.... why not stealthy intercept and commandeer the tanker, confirm the cargo, then show it to the world as indisputable proof of the nuclear hijinks between North Korea, Syria (and maybe Iran)? Once Israel makes its case, it can then expand and bomb suspected research facilities in Syria.

1) if you intercept at sea and you are outside of an EEZ, then you are in international waters.  If you intercept and board in international waters and don't find what you suspect, then you have breached about 5 international maritime laws - the least of which is an act of piracy
2) However, if you track the cargo unloaded from the ship to final destination - and said destination is of a known quantity (eg nuke or weapons material processing facility) then you can draw a fairly reasonable conclusion.  Pre-emptive strikes are no longer a precedent.  At the start of the 20th century the precedent is Tsushima,then Pearl, then the Arab states against Israel in 1948, then the North Koreans push south which triggered the Korean War etc.......
 
Point 2 is a politically safer bet to weather the oprobrium of the traditional hysterical complainants (like those who've been busted with their fingers in the cookie jar)  Notice the stellar silence from the usual chattering crowd of countries that side with the Syrians?  Not one has made a concerted public effort - except the NorKs.  That seems to indicate tacit approval from all the usual players even though they might be idealogically opposed to the israelis, they see the syrians as the more vulnerable tipping point nation that will drag everyone else into a war manufactured by their own stupidity.
 
Just like with Dimona, I'm guessing that all the effected neighbours are breathing a relative sigh of relief
 


 
 
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HYPOCENTER    UPDATE:   9/22/2007 11:52:18 PM

Very interesting development here, apparently Israeli Special Forces were able to get some nuclear material at one of the sites. The material was shown to US intelligence as rock solid proof, after which Israel was given the green light for an attack.

Also, based on eavesdropping between Syria and North Korea by western intelligence services, it has been determined a number of North Koreans died in the attack – and the two countries are planning a response.

h*tp://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2512380.ece

 
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HYPOCENTER       9/23/2007 12:31:47 AM
Hotair.com had a few good points, can anyone directly address the following?

Exit question: If it’s true, how did the Israelis access what must have been a very closely guarded compound and escape with nuke material without Syria knowing? And if Syria did know, or suspected, that they’d done so, why on earth did they keep shipping material in there instead of moving the nuclear storehouse somewhere else?




 
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Nichevo       9/23/2007 12:40:37 AM

Hotair.com had a few good points, can anyone directly address the following?

Exit question: If it’s true, how did the Israelis access what must have
been a very closely guarded compound and escape with nuke material
without Syria knowing? And if Syria did know, or suspected, that they’d
done so, why on earth did they keep shipping material in there instead
of moving the nuclear storehouse somewhere else?




I suppose "because they're THAT good" doesn't wash?

Also, moving stuff that was hidden is a great way to find it.

 
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HYPOCENTER       9/23/2007 2:29:17 AM
On the contrary, I hope they are "that good" -- it's just that, analysis from places like GlobalSecurity.com believe they aren't:

On 15 September 2007 Glenn Kessler reported in the Washington Post that American sources said that Israel had recently provided the US with evidence -- code named "Orchard" -- that the DPRK had been cooperating with Syria on a nuclear facility. "The evidence, said to come primarily from Israel, includes dramatic satellite imagery ... The new information, particularly images received in the past 30 days, has been restricted to a few senior officials ... " According to one source for this report, the 06 September 2007 air strike appeared to have been linked to the arrival at the Syrian port of Tartus on 03 September 2007 [three days prior to the strike], of a ship carrying material ["labeled as cement"] from North Korea. According to this source, the target of the attack was a Syrian facility "agricultural research center" located "on the Euphrates River, close to the Turkish border". Israel had reportedly been monitoring the facility in the belief that Syria was "using it to extract uranium from phosphates" at that location.

  • "dramatic satellite imagery" - the types of activity associated with nuclear weapons development, particularly at the early stages of the program, are precisely the sorts of things that are not going to produce dramatic satellite imagery, which is why North Korea's uranium program is so vexing for the United States.
  • "primarily from Israel" - the reliance on such liasion sourced intelligence that could not be independently verified was one of the central problems with the Iraq WMD intelligence failure, and either evidence is "primarily from Israel" [ie, HUMINT] or it is independtly knowable by the United States based on "dramatic satellite imagery" but it is difficult to comprehend how both statements could be true.
  • "restricted to a few senior officials" - this part of the story is designed to explain to other reporters why their sources are unable to confirm any of the details of this report
  • "arrival at the Syrian port of Tartus" - this is not a large facility, and this news story would have us believe that Israeli intelligence has intimate knowledge of unloading activities at this port, a collection capability that was willingly compromised here
  • "labeled as cement" -- cement is normally transported as a bulk powder, and less frequently in recent decades in bags -- neither form of transport would usefully conceal nuclear related components, and labeling some other means of transport [eg, standard 40-foot containters] as cement would be so patently false as to immediately draw suspicion to the shipment.
  • "on the Euphrates River, close to the Turkish border" -- the implication, though not over assertion, is that over the course of three days Israeli intelligence was able to track the shipment as it travelled half-way across Syria, or that Israeli surveillance of Syria is so comprehensive that the shipment was detected upon arrival -- either of which is very impressive and hard to believe.
  • "using it to extract uranium from phosphates" - Syria has a phosphate industry, which supports the production of fertilizer and phosphoric acid. Between 1996 and 2001 Syria operated a pilot plant at Homs for the purification of phosphoric acid, in order to remove the uranium contanmination so that the phosphoric acid could be used for food processing. This project was financed by the UN Developement Program, supported by the IAEA, and not bombed by Israel.


h*tp://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/war/070906-airstrike.htm


 
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gf0012-aust       9/23/2007 3:19:22 AM

  • "labeled as cement" -- cement is normally transported as a bulk
    powder, and less frequently in recent decades in bags -- neither form
    of transport would usefully conceal nuclear related components, and
    labeling some other means of transport [eg, standard 40-foot containters] as cement would be so patently false as to immediately draw suspicion to the shipment.


actually, it's not that simple.  cement delivery is based on the type is used.  eg Portland is typically delivered in 2 x 20 x 50kg bags via 2 tonne slings.  however, the grade of cement typically used in mexico is delivered via bulk carrier.
smaller loads of cement (and the minimum contract for a reasonable clinker contract is 60,000tonnes per month).  any smaller and the delivery can be to load 20 x 50kg bags onto pallets and then into containers.
 
in the case of cement coming out of china, then there are only 5 x first class certified sites.  that means that if you backtrack the manifest then you could identify the FOB port.  Once you identify the FOB port then you can determine the likely supplier of cement - and hence the grade of cement and  then the shipment type starts to make sense.
 
Put it another way.  If the nth koreans are shifting palletised cement in 40m containers, then they are clearly not celling cement.  You don't need a manifest inspection, container inspection or staellite image to work out that someone is fiddling the manifest.  ie.  wrong cement type out of the wrong port out of the wrong area of supply = alarm bells.
 
just as another clue.  the preference in the middle east is for whiter cement.  North Korea does not make white cement.  Thats where the phosphate comment becomes interesting. 
 

 
 
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