Demonizing North Korea

Lies Concerning the Cheonan Incident

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In-depth Report:

by Soo-Myung Ahn and Stuart Smallwood

Professor Victor Cha, former Member of the National Security Council [of South Korea],  stated in Foreign Policy (FP) on 21st August, 2012, “The spectacular failure of Kim’s first major public act almost ensures that another provocation is in the offing,” referring to the North’s failed missile test in April this year. He tries to justify his assertion by saying “The North Korean regime will not change because Little Kim studied in Switzerland, likes Mickey Mouse, and has a hot wife.” He added, “North Korea is at the dead end.”

If indeed “another provocation is in the offing,” it is not because of “the spectacular failure of Kim’s first major public act,” but because of the lies South Korea and Professor Cha purvey regarding North Korea. A keystone of their foundation of falsehoods is their erroneous claim that, “North Korea torpedoed a South Korean navy ship in March 2010…”

The ship Mr. Cha refers to is the anti-submarine corvette christened Cheonan that took 46 South Korean lives with it when it sank on March 26, 2010. The South Korean government-sponsored Joint Investigation Group (JIG) said less than two months later it was “irrefutable” that the Cheonan was sunk by a North Korean CHT-02D torpedo. In September, 2010, the JIG issued its final report written by the South Korean “experts” with the same conclusion, but the official narrative is highly questionable.

Immediately after the final JIG report, several professors, Ph. D. researchers and Korean experts raised questions about the validity of the JIG’s evidence. Among these dissenting voices are: Dr. G. S. Kim, former rotational program manager at the National Science Foundation in Washington DC; Prof. Seunghun Lee, U. of Virginia; Prof. J.J. Suh, Johns Hopkins University; Prof. Pan-seok Yang, University of Manitoba; Don Gregg, former US Ambassador to South Korea, Professor Tim Beal, a retired professor of New Zealand’s Wellington University and author of two books on the Korean Peninsula, and Sakai Tanaka, a Japanese freelance journalist. All the high-profile dissenters live outside of South Korea. The South Korean Ministry of National Defense (MND) charged that these people who question the JIG conclusion were obviously communists therefore their conclusions are not to be trusted. But what can be said of the 30 per cent of South Koreans who doubted North Korea’s guilt in a government survey in 2010?

Even scientists in Korea nowadays publicly speak up that the JIG fabricated the data. It has been proven beyond any reasonable doubt to any reasonable person that the JIG report is false. But snake oil salesmen pundits keep showing up on talk shows to deliver their goods and blame North Korea. Professor Cha and his ilk never say that North Korea wanted to participate in the investigation but were denied by South Korea.

I can say that I know something of submarine warfare. I am a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). I was elected as an IEEE Fellow based on my technical and managerial contributions to the Cruise Missile Guidance and Navigation Programs. I am also a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). I graduated from Seoul National University in 1965 with a BS degree in electrical Engineering. In September, 1966 I received a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Tech. In 1972, I received a Ph. D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of California at Berkeley. In 1984, I founded AHNTECH, Inc., which, in 1989, was elected as the Small Business Prime Contractor of the Year-1989 from Region IX which includes Hawaii, California, Nevada and Arizona.

AHNTECH has published more than 1,000 technical papers and reports. Many have dealt with the top secret classified Anti Submarine Warfare (ASW) Project for the US Navy.

I requested all the data related to the JIG investigation from the US Navy through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in June, 2011. Based on the information I have received so far in response to my FOIA request, even our own Admiral Eccles – the senior US representative to the JIG – does not blame North Korea for the Cheonan sinking.

The JIG and Professor Cha say the Cheonan was sunk on 26th March, 2010, while Admiral Eccles says the 24th of March, 2010. The number of US “experts” is 15 by the JIG reports, while Admiral Eccles’ number is 14. No one knows how many “experts” participated in the investigation.

Though the JIG included only allies of the U.S. and South Korea, a Russian group of investigators were allowed access to the findings of the JIG after it had finished their report. The irony is that Admiral Eccles’ report is similar to that of the Russian’s in that he concluded the Cheonan could have been sunk by a mine not by a torpedo launched by North Korea.

South Korea is consumed by the Cheonan incident like the red herring by Joe McCarthy. The South Korean MND had a former JIG team member, Sang-cheol Shin arrested and indicted for questioning the way the investigation was conducted. He said “The accused, North Korea, should enjoy the right to be confronted with the witnesses against it,” and that “North Korea must not be forced to incriminate itself.” He is now on trial for treason.

I submitted a section of my report on the incident to the Seoul National University Alumni Association for publication but it was denied in less than three hours because its contents were too “sensitive.”

In South Korea the Cheonan incident is used as a test of loyalty. Mr. Y. H. Cho was nominated as a supreme judge of the South Korean Constitution Court. He was asked at the confirmation hearing “Do you trust the JIG report as the only and whole truth?” He replied, “As a judge, I have to study the evidence.” He was not confirmed.

There is growing reason to believe that high-profile commentators such as Mr. Cha rely more on their own anti-North Korean bias than actual evidence to support their conclusions – just like the South Korean government. Indeed, pundits like Cha have been predicting the fall of North Korea since the end of the Cold War while supporting American government policies such as the harsh sanctions regime with the hope of seeing their predictions come true. Cha – a member the National Security Council under George “Axis of Evil” W. Bush and whose father in law was an ardent follower of the mass murderer, former South Korean dictator, Chun Doo-Hwan – betrays his bias with his use of “Little Kim,” when referring to the new North Korean Chairman.

When I learned English in my high school days I was asked to translate “Honesty is the best policy,” into Korean. I translated it “Policy must be honest.” I was punished physically for the wrong translation. I said, “Teacher, I deserve a punishment for the wrong translation. But since my translation is true, please hit me lightly.” I was beaten up pretty good.

I would like to ask Professor Cha if I was right that “Policy must be honest.” Would he behave differently from the English teacher who punished me harshly more than 50 years ago?

Soo-Myung Ahn is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), a Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and CEO company AHNTECH, Inc. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

Stuart Smallwood is a journalism graduate of the University of King’s College in Canada and currently an Asian Studies MA candidate in Seoul. He writes at koreaandtheworld.com and can be reached by email at koreaandtheworld.[email protected].


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