Information Warfare: Old Gold

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April 25, 2009: Sometimes old news can be recycled to great effect. A recent example is an interview given by an Indian defense official, to a Japanese newspaper. The Indian official recounted the ten year old incident of the North Korean cargo ship the Kuwolsan. When this vessel stopped at an Indian port back in 1999, suspicious officials inspected the cargo and found 147 crates mislabeled. The real cargo was manufacturing equipment and plans for building ballistic missiles. The destination was Libya. There was quite a lot of high tech manufacturing gear on board, most of it Japanese, that was not supposed to be sold to North Korea. Apparently, the North Koreans got the stuff, via bribes and the assent of the Chinese government, from China.

At the time (1999), India called in technical experts from the United States, Russia, South Korea and other nations belonging to the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). This was an informal organization devoted to halting missile proliferation. The foreign experts examined the cargo, and agreed with the Indians that the ship was basically carrying the key components of a ballistic missile factory.

India seized the ship and its cargo, and eventually sent the 44 crew members back to North Korea. The cargo never reached Libya, which has since (September 11, 2001) come clean on its ballistic missile and nuclear weapons programs, and dropped both efforts.

Turning this old news into new news is apparently an effort to spotlight North Korean efforts to export missile and nuclear weapons technology, and illegally obtaining the needed tools via China.

 

 


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