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Subject: Cheonan: The other side of the story...
DarthAmerica    7/29/2010 6:04:12 AM
BEIJING - South Korean Prime Minister Lee Myung-bak has claimed "overwhelming evidence" that a North Korean torpedo sank the corvette Cheonan on March 26, killing 46 sailors. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that there’s "overwhelming evidence" in favor of the theory that North Korea sank the South Korean Navy warship Cheonan. But the articles of proof presented so far by military investigators to an official inquiry board have been scanty and inconsistent. There’s yet another possibility, that a U.S. rising mine sank the Cheonan in a friendly-fire accident. In the recent U.S.-China strategic talks in Shanghai and Beijing, the Chinese side dismissed the official scenario presented by the Americans and their South Korean allies as not credible. This conclusion was based on an independent technical assessment by the Chinese military, according to a Beijing-based military affairs consultant to the People Liberation Army. Hardly any of the relevant facts that counter the official verdict have made headline news in either South Korea or its senior ally, the United States. The first telltale sign of an official smokescreen involves the location of the Choenan sinking - Byeongnyeong Island (pronounced Pyongnang) in the Yellow Sea. On the westernmost fringe of South Korean territory, the island is dominated by a joint U.S.-Korean base for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations. The sea channel between Byeongnyeong and the North Korean coast is narrow enough for both sides to be in artillery range of each other. Anti-sub warfare is based on sonar and acoustic detection of underwater craft. Since civilian traffic is not routed through the channel, the noiseless conditions are near-perfect for picking up the slightest agitation, for example from a torpedo and any submarine that might fire it. North Korea admits it does not possess an underwater craft stealthy enough to slip past the advanced sonar and audio arrays around Byeongnyeong Island, explained North Korean intelligence analyst Kim Myong Chol in a news release. "The sinking took place not in North Korean waters but well inside tightly guarded South Korean waters, where a slow-moving North Korean submarine would have great difficulty operating covertly and safely, unless it was equipped with AIP (air-independent propulsion) technology." The Cheonan sinking occurred in the aftermath of the March 11-18 Foal Eagle Exercise, which included anti-submarine maneuvers by a joint U.S.-South Korean squadron of five missile ships. A mystery surrounds the continued presence of the U.S. missile cruisers for more than eight days after the ASW exercise ended. Only one reporter, Joohee Cho of ABC News, picked up the key fact that the Foal Eagle flotilla curiously included the USNS Salvor, a diving-support ship with a crew of 12 Navy divers. The lack of any minesweepers during the exercise leaves only one possibility: the Salvor was laying bottom mines. Ever since an American cruiser was damaged by one of Saddam Hussein's rising mines, also known as bottom mines, in the Iraq War, the U.S. Navy has pushed a crash program to develop a new generation of mines. The U.S. Naval Mine and Anti-Submarine Warfare Command has also been focused on developing counterparts to the fearsome Chinese naval "assassin's mace," which is propelled by a rocket engine. A rising mine, which is effective only in shallow waters, rests atop a small platform on the sea floor under a camouflage of sand and gravel. Its detection system uses acoustics and magnetic readings to pick up enemy ships and submarines. When activated, jets of compressed air or solid-fuel rockets lift the bomb, which self-guides toward the magnetic center of the target. The blast rips the keel, splitting the ship or submarine into two neat pieces, just as was done to the RKOS Cheonan. A lateral-fired torpedo, in contrast, "holes" the target's hull, tilting the vessel in the classic war movie manner. The South Korean government displayed to the press the intact propeller shaft of a torpedo that supposedly struck the Cheonan. Since torpedoes travel between 40-50 knots per hour (which is faster than collision tests for cars), a drive shaft would crumble upon impacting the hull and its bearing and struts would be shattered or bent by the high-powered blast. The initial South Korean review stated that the explosive was gunpowder, which would conform to North Korea's crude munitions. This claim was later overturned by the inquiry board, which found the chemical residues to be similar to German advanced explosives. Due to sanctions against Pyongyang and its few allies, it is hardly credible that North Korea could obtain NATO-grade ordnance. Thus, the mystery centers on the USNS Salvor, which happened to be yet right near Byeongyang Island at the time of the Cheonan sinking and far from its home base, Pearl Harbor. The inquiry board in Seoul has not questioned the officers and divers o
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warpig       8/29/2010 7:14:14 PM
Santa Claws, all six of your points (including your unnumbered "quite frank" point) are all perfectly reasonable position/observations.  Darth, all you've done since March is to say "we can't be certain, we don't know everything about it."  First of all, no sh!t, that's true about virtually everything in life, it's a given, now drive on toward what does seem most probable.  Second, what hasn't happened since the event is anyone coming forward with any alternative that comes anywhere close to explaining it as well as the theory that was clearly the most likely from very early on in the investigation--which is that it was a North Korean torpedo fired from a North Korean sub--and which became all the stronger with every development in the investigation.  It is certainly possible to think up missing pieces in the most obvious answer and to dream up possible alternatives, but so far none of the anti-NK-torpedo-attack nor the other-than-NK-torpedo-attack theories have any evidence in support of them at all... unlike the NK torpedo attack scenario, which has plenty of evidence in perfect support.
Any time you want to say anything more concrete than "It isn't certain that it was a NK attack using an NK torpedo," feel free, because so far that's not telling us anything we didn't already know all along.  Of course, it is quite clear that in fact it was the NorKs, but obviously we can't be 100% certain.
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DarthAmerica       8/29/2010 8:23:43 PM

Like I said, you don't know. You can say you do but then you would be full of it. That's because none of whats been shown proves North Korean involvement. That's the point.

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warpig       8/29/2010 10:24:57 PM
Like I said, you don't know. You can say you do but then you would be full of it. That's because none of whats been shown proves North Korean involvement. That's the point.

And what would "prove" it?  A NorK defector that swears he was on the sub at the time of the attack and provides the details of it?  Hah, he could be lying, or some sort of KCIA plant, or something else.  How about video taken of the attack through the NorK periscope of the Cheonan splitting in half?  Hah, anyone can take a video of anything and claim it's from somewhere else, and also computer-enhanced video is amazing these days.  Maybe a signed confession from Mr. I'm So Ronery, Dictator Kim himself?  Hah, I can use Photoshop as well as the next guy, and an expert can do much better than I.  Besides, where's the unbroken chain of evidence documentation for any of the evidence between the day of the attack in March and today?  See, the evidence can not be traced back to the event, so it doesn't prove anything--no matter what it is.
It seems to me that in various past posts you are in effect trying to assert that in order to prove who did it, a case must be built that uses something akin to criminal law court legal evidenciary rules and that convinces beyond a shadow of a doubt.  Not only is that not going to happen in this case, nor is it likely to even be possible to do in an incident like this, it also is not necessary to build that level of a case in order to decide who did it.  And while similar techniques are used in general in intelligence analysis, that sort of certitude is not necessary in order to reach a level, or degree, of certitude that is sufficient to justify reaching a specific conclusion and even to act on it.  Could it be wrong?  Obviously.  Is it?  Maybe.  Does that mean we can't know for certain?  Very often, yes.  Does that mean we can't say who did it?  NO.  It just means we might be wrong when we do say who did it.
Given a certain fact pattern, one possible conclusion could be:
*  Country A did it.  (Confidence:  High)
while another possible conclusion for the same fact pattern could be:
*  We don't know for certain who did it.  (Confidence:  High)
and they could both be correct conclusions to reach based on that fact pattern.
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DarthAmerica       8/30/2010 1:44:56 AM

Maybe I'm not making MY POSITION clear. IF, IF they did it, BIG IF then because of

a: consequences

b: inability to prove it sufficiently enough to get desirable a:(support from allies and UNSC members) then

c: you(S Korea) cannot beat the war drums because

It may be that THEY DID NOT DO IT or NorK allies will/could/did take that position. In short they got away with it IF they did it.

Then there is also the possibility, and based on whats known publicly it's certainly possible, THEY DID NOT DO IT. In which case something else happened. Something else such as accident or friendly fire. In these cases there are others who for a variety of reasons may choose to take advantage of such an incident which includes the USA(to pressure China) and S Korea(Internal Politics). 

Now, if I wanted to get emotional and cheerlead then I'm right there with the choir. That's not what I'm doing. I'm taking an objective look at this situation and considering the possibilities. Honestly, the case is very weak against North Korea or even hostile action. It's equally possible at this point this could have been blue vs blue. Showing some rusty old motor with a number written on it is not at all proof or even reasonable enough to publicly blame the North. You don't know and cannot know the quality of that evidence. How do you know that wasn't planted? How do you know it's not a coincidence that it was there? You don't. This isn't just me talking. Look into it. And I'm not referring to websites like Above Top Secret or the Alex Jones show.

Having said all that, I DON'T KNOW WHY THE CHEONAN SANK. I do know that based on my experience something isn't right here and not enough evidence exist in public FOR ME to support blaming North Korea. But that is just one man's opinion and others can feel free to take different views. If so I'm fine with that. I just would not bet money on this one...

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DarthAmerica       8/30/2010 1:55:05 AM

The sum of the last post in that North Korea has enough plausible deniability here cover itself indefinitely or until such time as is convenient to accept responsibility. That's not the same as saying conclusively that they didn't do it. I know you know that but others may not.

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WarNerd       8/30/2010 3:24:08 AM

The sum of the last post in that North Korea has enough plausible deniability here cover itself indefinitely or until such time as is convenient to accept responsibility.

While conclusive proof will probably never be forthcoming, what was presented does not establish any like plausible deniability for North Korea.  It is better described as a 'conspiracy theory', and a ridiculous one at that.  Frankly, the stories based on it being a deliberate sinking by a CIA submarine make more sense (as little as that is).
The simple fact is that North Korea is the only party that might have a plausible motive.  Who else do you think would benefit from the sinking?
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Mikko    @DA   8/30/2010 4:34:04 AM
Dropping in for a quick remark.
Darth, the logics behind "no consequences because of no conclusive evidence" could also be interpreted the other way around: There is so little overall will to fight a major war between Koreas that even conclusive evidence is deliberately played down. However, I have no opinions one way or another on the issue, facts even less.

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SantaClaws       8/30/2010 1:09:57 PM
You can use that excuse for anything.
How do you know your parents are your real parents? Birth certificates can be forged, DNA tests can be manipulated, the government controls everything!
It's a stupid and poor crutch for people who have no facts to back up their views and lack any debate skills.
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SantaClaws       8/30/2010 1:12:00 PM
I'd also like to throw in one last thing about this case being dismissed in court. Obviously, some people have never been to court because the international community accepted the conclusion of the JIG team. If someone were to say that the results were manipulated, the court wouldn't throw out the JIG team's conclusions, they'd tell you to prove it.
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smitty237    Darth   8/30/2010 1:30:15 PM
I think we all get your point, Darth.  You are still not convinced that the NORKs torpedoed the Cheonan, or for that matter were even involved.  What a lot of us don't understand is what it would take for you to believe that the NORKs sank her.  Warpig kind of stole my thunder, because I was going to post something about proof and evidence, but I have to concur with what he had to say.  In order to find someone guilty in criminal court all you need is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.  For civil court all you need is a preponderance of the evidence (51% certainty).  I certainly think that South Korea has met the latter standard, and I am personally very close to the former standard. 
Of course the problem with these standards is that the person being asked to deliberate on the evidence has to make certain philosophical concessions regarding the gathering and presentation of the evidence.  For instance, if the chain of custody of the evidence is not in dispute then he has to assume that the evidence is genuine and was handled properly, and unless inconsistencies in a witness' testimony is demonstrated to be clearly false or at least arguable, he has to assume that the testimony probably reflects the truth.  Unfortunately not all jurors follow these rules.  I have heard of hung juries because a single juror refused to convict because he or she didn't actually see the defendant commit the crime.  This is an unreasonable standard and is not an intellectually honest way to decide guilt or innocence. 
One possible error I see in your reasoning in rejecting the conclusion that North Korea sank the Cheonan is that it wouldn't make any sense for the NORKs to do it.  This is a flawed argument because you are assuming rational thought on what has demonstrated to be irrational people, or at least an irrational man, Kim Jong Il.  I've seen you do the same thing with Iran.  Not all people think the same way we do, or behave the way that would make logical sense by our standards.  Perhaps the NORKs did it because they wanted to rattle sabres and didn't think the South would respond (which would end up being correct).  As I said earlier, I fully expected the South to bury any data that proved the North was involved.  They didn't, and there was no war, so you can't honestly say that the South fudged the data to justify a war with the North.  Once again, my question to you is this:  What possible purpose would it serve for the South to fudge the data or manipulate it to point the blame at North Korea? 
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