View Full Version : S. Korean Navy Ship Sinking in Disputed Waters

Keith Millea
03-26-2010, 05:10 PM

Published on Friday, March 26, 2010 by The New York Times (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/27/world/asia/) S. Korean Navy Ship Sinking in Disputed Waters; N. Korean Torpedo?

by Choe Sang-Hun

SEOUL - A South Korean navy patrol ship was sinking near the disputed western sea border with North Korea on Friday after suffering damage to its hull, the South Korean military said.

http://www.commondreams.org/files/article_images/southkoreanship_explosion.jpgThis undated picture shows South Korea's Cheonan naval ship in South Korea, Friday, March 26, 2010. South Korea's military scrambled Cheonan naval vessels to the western waters near the disputed maritime border with North Korea late Friday after an explosion ripped a hole in the bottom of a military ship, officials and news reports said. (AP Photo/ Yonhap)

The South Korean authorities were investigating the possibility that the 1,200-ton ship had been attacked by a torpedo fired by the North Korean navy, the South Korean news agency Yonhap reported, citing an unnamed military source. The agency reported that another South Korean patrol ship had fired at an unidentified vessel shortly after the first ship was damaged.

Those reports could not be independently confirmed.
"Many of the 104 sailors on the ship jumped into the sea, and there is a fear that there may be some human causalities," Yonhap reported.
President Lee Myung-bak ordered an emergency meeting of security-related cabinet ministers at an underground bunker at his office, the Blue House in Seoul, South Korean news reports said.

"All we can say for now is that one of our patrol ships is sinking after it suffered a rupture in its bottom created by an unidentified cause," said a spokesman at the South Korean Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff. He spoke on condition of anonymity until South Korea made a formal announcement.
The ship was sinking in Yellow Sea near Byeongryeong, a South Korean island about eight miles from the north Korean coast and 120 miles from the mainland South.

The waters along the disputed western sea border between the two Koreas make up the most volatile section of the border between North and South Korea, and were the site of bloody naval skirmishes in 1999 and 2002.

North Korea rejects a sea border unilaterally drawn by the United Nations at the end of the 1950-53 Korean War and defended by the South Koreans. It has repeatedly warned of naval clashes there.

In November, naval patrol boats from the North and South exchanged fire after a North Korean boat crossed that sea border, called the northern-limit line. The North Korean patrol boat was damaged in the skirmish and retreated after the skirmish.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Ed Jewett
03-26-2010, 09:43 PM
I also posted some of the same breaking news info under the thread "Jeju Island" ... [mods may combine and re-title as far as I am concerned] ... and I don't know if this is related, but...:

Mar 26, 3:58 AM (ET)

By KWANG-TAE KIM http://ak.imgfarm.com/images/ap/thumbnails//South_Korea_North_Korea_American_Detained.sff_SEL1 02_20100324023259.jpg (http://apnews.excite.com/image/20100324/South_Korea_North_Korea_American_Detained.sff_SEL1 02_20100324023259.html?date=20100326&docid=D9EM7EBG0)(AP) In this photo taken on Jan. 12, 2010, American Aijalon Mahli Gomes, right, whose identification was...
Full Image (http://apnews.excite.com/image/20100324/South_Korea_North_Korea_American_Detained.sff_SEL1 02_20100324023259.html?date=20100326&docid=D9EM7EBG0)p {margin:12px 0px 0px 0px;} SEOUL, South Korea (AP) - North Korea's military threatened South Korea and the United States on Friday with "unprecedented nuclear strikes" as it expressed anger over a report the two countries plan to prepare for possible instability in the totalitarian country, a scenario it dismissed as a "pipe dream."
The North routinely issues such warnings. Diplomats in South Korea and the U.S. have repeatedly called on Pyongyang to return to international negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear programs.
"Those who seek to bring down the system in the (North), whether they play a main role or a passive role, will fall victim to the unprecedented nuclear strikes of the invincible army," North Korea's military said in comments carried by the official Korean Central News Agency.
The North, believed have enough weaponized plutonium for at least half a dozen atomic bombs, conducted its second atomic test last year, drawing tighter U.N. sanctions.
Experts from South Korea, the U.S. and China will meet in China next month to share information on North Korea, assess possible contingencies in the country, and consider ways to cooperate in case of an emergency situation, South Korea's Dong-a Ilbo newspaper reported earlier this month, citing unidentified sources in Seoul and Beijing. The experts will also hold follow-up meetings in Seoul in June and in Honolulu in July, it said.
The North Korean statement Friday specifically referred to the March 19 newspaper report.
A spokeswoman said the South Korean Defense Ministry had no information.
Gen. Walter Sharp, the top U.S. commander in South Korea, says the possibility of turmoil in the North is of real concern, citing the country's economic weakness, malnourishment in both the military and general population, and its nuclear weapons.
"The possibility of a sudden leadership change in the North could be destabilizing and unpredictable," he said in testimony before the House Appropriations Committee hearing earlier this week.
South Korean media have reported that Seoul has drawn up a military operations plan with the United States to cope with possible emergencies in the North. The North says the U.S. is plotting to topple its regime, a claim Washington has consistently denied.
Last month, the North also threatened a "powerful - even nuclear - attack," if the U.S. and South Korea went ahead with annual military drills. There was no military provocation from North Korea during the exercises.
China, Japan, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. have been trying to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons in six party talks. The North quit the negotiations last year.
The fate of the North's nuclear weapons has taken on added urgency since late 2008 as concerns over the health of leader Kim Jong Il have intensified.
Kim, who suffered an apparent stroke in 2008, may die within three years, South Korean media have reported. His death is thought to have the potential to trigger instability and a power struggle in the North.


Susan Grant
03-27-2010, 11:08 AM

Ed Jewett
05-13-2010, 09:18 AM
Residue of German Torpedo Found In Cheonan Forensic Investigation (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/residue-of-german-torpedo-found-in-cheonan-forensic-investigation/)

11 05 2010 http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/04/15/article-1266117-09244013000005DC-37_634x348.jpg
[South Korea has nine German submarines; (http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=4070495) perhaps the S. Koreans sunk their own vessel. It is possible that it was fired from a German submarine. The three primary buyers of German arms are: Turkey, Greece and South Africa. (http://info-wars.org/2010/03/16/german-arms-exports-double-in-five-years/)Of this group, it is thought that only Turkey is active in the S. Asian power play. On the other hand, Israel owns five German submarines (http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5j33iXawr-RpZpCmlIkVylnRAoUyg). Once again, mysterious submarines, appearing to be Israeli, are involved in sabotaging international relations. (SEE: Cutting Cables, Lighting Fuses (http://thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=7977)) Contrary to conspiratorial and anti-Semitic voices, Israel may influence American foreign policy to a great degree, but in the long run, America pulls Israel's military strings. If an Israeli sub sank a S. Korean warship, it could only be described as an American false flag event.]
The last submarine Reich? (http://www.centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1273546560)

The experts found that the South Korean corvette Cheonan, drowned from Germany torpedo

Named the cause of death corvette South Korea (http://www.centrasia.ru/news.php?st=1273546560)

caused the flooding of South Korean corvette “Cheonan” international commission called the explosion of a torpedo that struck the submerged part of the ship. Found that this torpedo weapons were manufactured in Germany. Recall, the ship crashed in late March near the maritime boundary between the two Koreas. North Korea denied speculation that a South Korean ship was subjected to a torpedo attack.
“After the rise of the ship they found in his compartment traces of explosives, which are equipped with torpedoes. From its defeat sank, Cheonan, as a result killed 46 sailors,” – said on May 7 agency Yonhap on the conclusions reached by the experts of Korea and several foreign countries, to investigate the cause of this tragic incident.
According to the Commission, the chemical analysis of explosives indicates that the torpedo weapon was “Made in Germany”. Recall the culprit of this incident, which Seoul informally called neighboring North Korea. However, the Naval Forces of this country are outdated weapons systems of the Soviet and Chinese manufacture, and traces of their use against the South Korean navy ship was found.
Pyongyang is adamant about his innocence in the death of “Cheonan. However, as noted by the South Korean media, the incident with the corvette impede the normalization of relations between the two Korean states and may become an obstacle to the resumption of six-party talks on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
Recall the collapse of the South Korean navy corvette “Cheonan, occurred March 26 in the Yellow Sea. The causes of the shipwreck were not called, but the Western media reported that an explosion occurred aboard the ship, and at the bottom of the hole formed. Then, were rescued about 60 sailors of the ship, more than 40 died. The news of the wreck caused panic among the residents of South Korea, arguing that North Korea has threatened on the eve of the U.S. and its allies by a series of large-scale attacks, began to act.
Kommersant-Online, 07.05.2010
Source - Businessman (http://www.kommersant.ru/)
Permanent Address Article - http://www.centrasia.ru/newsA.php?st=1273546560 (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/newsA.php?st=1273546560)


Residue of German Torpedo Found In Cheonan Forensic Investigation–Part II. (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/residue-of-german-torpedo-found-in-cheonan-forensic-investigation-part-ii/)

11 05 2010 [SEE:Residue of German Torpedo Found In Cheonan Forensic Investigation (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/05/11/residue-of-german-torpedo-found-in-cheonan-forensic-investigation/)]
Torpedo explosive detected in sunken ship: official (http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/national/2010/05/07/2/0301000000AEN20100507005400315F.HTML)

SEOUL, May 7 (Yonhap) — An explosive substance, traces of which were found in the wreckage of a sunken South Korean naval ship, has been identified as a powerful bomb ingredient used in making torpedoes, a government official said Friday.
The latest finding is expected to further back suspicions that a torpedo attack caused the explosion of the 1,200-ton patrol ship Cheonan near the tense Yellow Sea border with North Korea on March 26. The Cheonan broke in two and sank, killing 46 sailors.
http://img.yonhapnews.co.kr/Basic/Article/EN/20100507/20100507141120_bodyfile.jpg Data picture “Explosive traces found in the Cheonan’s chimney and the seabed on which the stern’s broken-off side had been lying were all confirmed as those of the high explosive RDX, which is more powerful than TNT,” the official said on condition of anonymity. “This explosive is used in torpedoes, not sea mines.”
RDX, which stands for research department explosive, is a white crystalline solid and is considered the most powerful high explosive and a main ingredient in plastic explosives.
Four metal fragments have also been found in the wreckage, which was salvaged last month, and an analysis has showed that they were an alloy of aluminum and magnesium used in torpedo casings, the official said.
Investigators are also looking into the possibility that a German-made torpedo might have been used, potentially a move by North Korea to disguise the attack, as South Korea uses German torpedoes.
Foreign specialists from the United States, Sweden, Australia and Britain have joined South Korea’s investigation into the sinking, as Seoul has sought to ensure the probe is transparent and objective.
After the investigation is complete, South Korea could invite experts from China and Russia, countries close to North Korea, to provide them with a first-hand look at the ship’s wreckage, Defense Ministry spokesman Won Tae-jae said.
Won said the outcome is expected to come before the end of this month.
Earlier this week, President Lee Myung-bak told a conference of top military generals that the sinking was not a “simple accident,” while Defense Minister Kim Tae-young said a “surprise attack” sank the vessel, although neither directly mentioned the communist neighbor.
North Korea has denied any responsibility.
Suspicions of North Korea’s involvement have been strong, as the site of the sinking lies near where the navies of the two Koreas fought deadly skirmishes in 1999, 2002 and most recently in November last year.
On Friday, South Korean and U.S. officials were to hold additional talks on the sinking.
The meeting between Kim Hong-kyun, director of the foreign ministry’s bureau of the peace regime on the Korean Peninsula, and Joseph Donovan, principal deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, comes one day after the countries held their Security Policy Initiative, a regular dialogue aimed at coordinating the allies’ security policies.
The two sides agreed at Thursday’s meeting to work out unspecified “necessary security measures” in accordance with the outcome of the investigation.
South Korea’s Navy, meanwhile, is considering responding more aggressively to North Korean violations of the western maritime border, spending less time on radio warnings before moving on to fire warning shots and then aimed shots, a military source said.
“Up until now, we have taken some time in giving radio warnings when North Korean ships have violated” the sea border, the source said on condition of anonymity. “After the Cheonan incident, we’re considering operating the rules of engagement in a speedier way.”

Jan Klimkowski
05-13-2010, 06:25 PM
A German torpedo, eh?

Smells like a false flag, Gleiwitz-style, manufactured incident that - for unknown reasons - was not turned into a casus belli against North Korea.

If war had been declared on North Korea, I suspect the national origin of the torpedo would still be classified.

David Guyatt
05-14-2010, 02:39 PM
I'm inclined to agree.

In Operation Black Dog the US used a dumb bomb - devoid of ay markings - containing a potent mixture of chemical and biological elements on one of Saddam's facilities in Gulf war 1.

However, the fuse to ignite the munition could be traced and was of German manufacture.

Magda Hassan
05-19-2010, 11:54 AM
North Korea role in warship sinking 'obvious'

http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/47874000/jpg/_47874684_009166824-1.jpg The Cheonan sinking has increased tensions between the two Koreas South Korea's foreign minister says it is "obvious" that North Korea sank a South Korean naval ship in March.
Yu Myung-hwan said there was enough evidence to take the issue to the United Nations.
The Cheonan warship went down on 26 March near the disputed inter-Korean maritime border, with the loss of 46 sailors.
Mr Yu's remarks came as a multinational team prepares to announce the results of its investigation into the incident.
It is the clearest indication to date from South Korea that it blames Pyongyang for the sinking.
North Korea has denied responsibility for the incident, which has increased tensions between the two nations.
'Torpedo attack' The findings of an investigation led by international experts are to be released Thursday, with South Korea expected to blame the North.
An anonymous US official in Washington told the Associated Press that the investigating team would lay out evidence that the sinking of the Cheonan was the result of a North Korean torpedo attack.
Part of a torpedo propeller is said to have been discovered on the seabed and traces of explosive found on the wreck are said to match that used in a North Korean torpedo recovered a few years ago.
While the United States appears to be preparing to support the conclusions, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton due to visit Seoul next week, China is taking a more cautious line, reports the BBC's John Sudworth from Seoul.
Its ambassador to South Korea has been quoted as saying that he does not believe that clear evidence has been discovered that proves North Korea's involvement.
Some experts have suggested that the ship could have been sunk as the result of an accidental collision with an unexploded sea mine left over from the Korean war.

Magda Hassan
05-20-2010, 10:00 AM
A North Korean submarine's torpedo sank a South Korean navy ship on 26 March causing the deaths of 46 sailors, an international report has found.
Investigators said they had discovered part of the torpedo on the sea floor and it carried lettering that matched a North Korean design.
Pyongyang rejected the claim as a "fabrication" and threatened war if sanctions were imposed, say reports.
China has urged both countries to show restraint.
South Korean President Lee Myung-bak pledged to take "stern action" against the North.
The White House described the sinking of the ship as an "act of aggression" by North Korea that challenged peace.
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said the report was "deeply troubling".
Continue reading the main story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10129703.stm#skip_feature_02)

:flute: :laugh: The attack demonstrates a total indifference to human life and a blatant disregard of international obligations
William Hague, UK Foreign Secretary

Pyongyang said it would send its own inspection team to the South to "verify material evidence" behind the accusation.
A North Korean defence spokesman said the country would "respond to reckless countermeasure with an all-out war of justice", the state KCNA news agency reported.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said Beijing had "noted" the report and would make its own assessment, but called on both sides to exercise restraint.
The Cheonan went down near the disputed inter-Korean maritime border, raising tension between the two nations, which technically remain at war.
The shattered wreck of the 1,200-tonne gunboat was later winched to the surface, in two pieces, for examination.
'Perfect match' The investigation was led by experts from the US, Australia, Britain and Sweden. The team examined eyewitness accounts, damage to the vessel, evidence collected from the seabed and the injuries sustained by survivors and those who died.
http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/47882000/jpg/_47882867_009334358-1.jpg Lettering on the torpedo that is said to prove its North Korean origin It said: "The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that the torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine.
"There is no other plausible explanation."
Monitoring of seismic activity in the region, damage to the ship and the "fractures and lacerations" sustained by the dead crew were all consistent with "damage resulting from a shockwave and bubble effect" caused by an explosion directly beneath the vessel, it said.
The report said the torpedo parts found "perfectly match" a torpedo type that the North manufactures.
Lettering found on one section matched that on a North Korean torpedo found by the South seven years ago.
There had earlier been a number of explanations suggested for the sinking, including an accidental collision with an unexploded sea mine left over from the Korean War.
Mr Lee's presidential office said he had told Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd: "We will be taking firm, responsive measures against the North - and through international co-operation, we have to make the North admit its wrongdoing and come back as a responsible member of the international community."
Continue reading the main story (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10129703.stm#skip_feature_02) http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/47882000/jpg/_47882897_000146561-1.jpg Adam Brookes BBC News, Washington
Absent from the White House statement is any call for retribution or military response. The US does not want fighting to break out on the Korean peninsula.
The White House, said one expert, will be looking for a response that deters, but does not provoke North Korea.
Sources here say the Obama administration is considering putting North Korea back on the list of countries which sponsor terrorism. That could mean sanctions. North Korea was removed from the list in 2008.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is due to travel to Japan, South Korea and China in the coming days. Managing this smouldering crisis between the two Koreas will no doubt occupy much of her time.

However, the BBC's John Sudworth in Seoul says agreeing an international response will be difficult as the diplomatic options will be limited.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said on Thursday the sinking of the vessel was "unfortunate" but he would not comment on the international report.
White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said US President Barack Obama had expressed his "deep sympathy" to Mr Lee and the Korean people and that the US "strongly condemned" the action.
"This act of aggression is one more instance of North Korea's unacceptable behaviour and defiance of international law," said Mr Gibbs, adding that it "only deepens North Korea's isolation".
He called the alleged attack "a challenge to international peace and security" and a violation of the armistice agreement which ended the Korean war.
But he said it had reinforced the resolve of North Korea's neighbours "to intensify their co-operation to safeguard peace and stability in the region against all provocations".
Japan's Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama said in a statement that North Korea's action was "unforgivable".
The country's chief cabinet secretary, Hirofumi Hirano, said the situation was "extremely regrettable" and would "evidently" be brought before the UN.
The British embassy in Seoul quoted Foreign Secretary William Hague as saying: "[North Korea's] actions will deepen the international community's mistrust. The attack demonstrates a total indifference to human life and a blatant disregard of international obligations."


Jan Klimkowski
05-20-2010, 05:37 PM
New Brit Foreign Secretary, William Hague, was summonsed to Washington to genuflect before Hillary immediately after the UK coalition govt was announced.

I suspect he was forcefed the official script for this Korean false flag casus belli.

I can only laugh contemptuously at the ruling elites. Is the massacre of the ordinary people of an incredibly poor, dinosaur, state really the best They can come up with to distract us from the collapse of their Ponzi schemes and arbitraged labour scams?


Jan Klimkowski
05-20-2010, 06:25 PM
An MSM TV "defence correspondent" may have just let the cat out of the bag, as follows:

Statement 1) "Dealing" with Iran is the number one priority;

Statement 2) China needs to brought "onside" for military action against Iran to take place;

Statement 3) If China "plays ball" on Iran, then its North Korean ally need not necessarily face military "retaliation" from the West.

So, if this is correct, the North Korean false flag incident is leverage to persuade China to allow a military attack on Iran in exchange for no military action against North Korea.

Ed Jewett
05-20-2010, 07:59 PM
There is a Russian "piece" here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/international/2010/05/100519_north_korean_torpedo.shtml (http://www.bbc.co.uk/russian/international/2010/05/100519_north_korean_torpedo.shtml)which at least someone has suggested, presuming they are bilingual or have a good accurate reliable translator, shows a North Korean torpedo motor assembly with North Korean markings.



The presumed translation is here...
S. Korea Recovers Motor Assembly of Torpedo With N. Korean Markings (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/s-korea-recovers-motor-assembly-of-torpedo-with-n-korean-markings/)

I do not know who wears "the sunglasses"
but there is always a tasty repast from multiple sources at his site...

Ed Jewett
05-23-2010, 07:16 AM
To add to the debate, here is a long thread with details and scenarios and viewpoints and a strong suggestion that the event is a trial run for an Israeli false flag attack in re: Iran.


Do they make the case? Or is this a wishful-thinking group grope?

Ed Jewett
05-28-2010, 02:08 AM
Independent Media as Mouthpiece for Centers of Power

Proffering Mass Murder as Attention Getting
by Kim Petersen / May 27th, 2010

What journalism is really about – it’s to monitor power and the centers of power.
– Amira Hass, journalist
Marginalization of news discrepant from the ruling class’s ideology, propaganda, and disinformation are corporate media staples. Consequently, many critically thinking news consumers have drop-kicked the corporate media for proliferating independent news sources. The internet is rife with such independent media. Lacking, however, had been independent video and/or television news. Into this void came the The Real News Network (TRNN), which I described as a “promising video-based media entrant,” despite the noted capitalist structure of its business model.1 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_0_17585)
There are many excellent video reportages on TRNN, but sometimes it fails miserably to distinguish itself from the corporate media that serves as a corporate-government mouthpiece. A case in point is a recent interview by TRNN honcho Paul Jay with Larry Wilkerson, acknowledged as Colin Powell’s former chief-of-staff, into the mystery surrounding the sinking of South Korean warship Cheonan on 26 March. Given Powell’s emphatic rejection of North Korean peace overtures — “We won’t do nonaggression pacts or treaties, things of that nature.”2 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_1_17585) — it is not surprising what kind of response TRNN and Jay received from Powell’s subordinate.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bE0-PMaiC8&feature=player_embedded#! (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bE0-PMaiC8&feature=player_embedded#%21)

TRNN claims to provide “independent and uncompromising journalism.”3 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_2_17585) Bearing that claim in mind, how then does Jay’s interview reflect TRNN’s adherence to Hass’s journalistic criterion of monitoring centers of power?
The TRNN story presents as fait accompli that North Korea fired a missile that sank a South Korean navy ship. The viewing public, however, is presented no definitive evidence to examine? Has TRNN not learned from previous US lies — for example, about Iraqi WMD — to be skeptical of US statements?4 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_3_17585)
Is the South Korean fingering of North Korea in the Cheonan’s torpedoing buttressed by an independent assessment? Have any outside independent inspectors been brought in to assess the South Korean claim?
Jay asked why would North Korea would commit such a horrendous act. Notably, Jay did not pose another question: why would anyone else do it? Thus he omitted other possibilities, such as a false flag?
Wilkerson’s reply comes across as risible. Wilkerson accused North Korea of brinkmanship and attention seeking.
Really? Wilkerson asserts North Korea attacked a South Korean ship and killed 46 sailors to seek attention!? How does this jive with the depiction of North Korea as a hermit nation? How does this jive with the North Korea juche (self-reliance; acknowledged by Wilkerson later in the interview)? TRNN presents Wilkerson’s assertions without challenge. In other words, it serves as a mouthpiece for the US government.
Wilkerson talks of a historical cold war relationship across the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). Necessarily, one of the distinguishing features of independent news is presenting background information that allows news consumers to critically assess the news in its current context. TRNN did not do this. They did not state why there is a DMZ and why is Korea split.5 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_4_17585) Cumings described the Americans’ decision to divide Korea at the thirty eighth parallel as “hasty and unilateral.”6 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_5_17585)
Why did the US divide Korea? If the Korean people had been permitted to establish their own system of governance, then the masses, which were eager to overthrow the elitist yangban class, were heading toward socialism. The political will of the people was thwarted at great cost. On the southern island of Jeju an “all out guerrilla extermination campaign” by rightists resulted in the deaths of one of every five or six islanders and the destruction of half the villages.7 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_6_17585)
Wilkerson states that the North Korea backed out of six party talks. There was no background. Jay never questioned why North Korea would back out. Indeed, why would US rejectionism of a nonaggression treaty have any bearing?
Jay asks Wilkerson about the Chinese position? Why? Why didn’t Jay ask a Chinese spokesperson or China expert? Is this proper reporting: asking an ex-US official to respond on the Chinese position without asking China?
TRNN allowed Wilkerson to state that China has no control/influence over North Korea. Would a Chinese spokesperson have said this?
TRNN allows demonization of North Korea: Wilkerson calls it an “Al Capone country” and a “bankrupt regime.” It is a well known axiom that people in glass houses should not cast stones. Therefore, if North Korea is a bankrupt regime, what of Wilkerson’s own country’s regime? Is the Obama regime above being described as a “bankrupt regime”? What about the GW Bush regime that Wilkerson served under?
This is not to resort to tu quoque argumentation; the fact that Wilkerson’s criticism can be directed at his own country does not deflect criticism against North Korea, but it does put it in a comparative perspective
Wilkerson says the PRK is a “difficult area economically.” Why? Is that strange given international sanctions engineered by the US against North Korea? Consider: why is North Korea forced to devote an inordinate expenditures to its security?
Amazingly, Wilkerson acknowledged that South Korea would surely defeat North Korea in a military scenario. Why purpose then do US bases and US forces in South Korea serve?
Wilkerson also offers some more refreshing honesty but with insufficient elaboration on Chinese concerns over the North Korean regime falling: “It would lose the buffer it has between a US ally, South Korea, and itself.” In fact, it not only is it a buffer between a US ally, it is – more honestly – a buffer between the US military and China since US forces are stationed on South Korean soil.
Wilkerson accuses North Korea of marketing missiles around the world? Probably, and the US does not do this? Did the US not sells missiles to Taiwan, much to the consternation of China? Or it is okay when the US does this, but no other nation has the right – that is, a refutation of the United Nations charter which accords equal rights among nations (absurd since the UN grants permanent security council status with veto power in the security council).
Discouragingly, TRNN undermines its claim to independent reporting in this story. Why did TRNN turn to a US source (and an obviously biased one)? Why did it not turn to Koreans?
Jay asks, “So nobody really wants this war?” Well, how about US? It has a long history of trying to knock down socialist governments.8 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_7_17585)
Is it possible to state such without conclusive public evidence of the navy ship’s sinking who was indisputably responsible? Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu stated, “The issue is highly complicated. China does not have firsthand information. We are looking at the information from all sides in a prudent manner.”
Shouldn’t independent media be equally prudent?9 (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#footnote_8_17585)

Kim Petersen, “Dispelling the Murkiness of the Corporate Media: The Real News (http://dissidentvoice.org/2008/07/dispelling-the-murkiness-of-the-corporate-media-the-real-news/),” Dissident Voice, 3 July 2008. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_0_17585)]
Steven R. Weisman, “U.S. Weighs Reward if North Korea Scraps Nuclear Arms (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/08/13/international/asia/13KORE.html?ex=1061802757&ei=1&en=6678643b445484fe&pagewanted=2),” New York Times, 13 August 2003. The article noted that North Korea sought a nonaggression in exchange for dropping its nuclear program. The Bush administration reserved its right for a pre-emptive attack on North Korea. The result: three years later the North Koreans conducted their first nuclear detonation. Reuters reported that a third nuclear detonation is possible soon. Jack Kim and Jon Herskovitz, “North Korea readying for 3rd nuclear test: report (http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE63J0NR20100420),” Reuters, 20 April 2010. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_1_17585)]
“Our Mission (http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=37&Itemid=88),” TRNN. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_2_17585)]
There is a long history of manufactured pretexts by US regimes and media. See Kim Petersen, “Grasping at Straws: Searching for a War Pretext (http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles2/Petersen_Iraq-Pretext.htm),” Dissident Voice, 4 March 2003. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_3_17585)]
US professor Bruce Cumings, a Korea expert, answered that question: “it is the Americans who bear the lion’s share of the responsibility for the thirty-eighth parallel.” See Bruce Cumings, Korea’s Place in the Sun: A Modern History (New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2005): 186. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_4_17585)]
Ibid, 187. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_5_17585)]
Ibid, 221. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_6_17585)]
See, for example, Carole Cameron Shaw, The Foreign Destruction of Korean Independence (Seoul: Seoul National University Press, 2007 and Korean Truth Commission, Report on U.S. Crimes in Korea: 1945-2001 (New York: 2001). [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_7_17585)]
I never received a response from TRNN to my queries before this article being published. [? (http://dissidentvoice.org/2010/05/independent-media-as-mouthpiece-for-centers-of-power/#identifier_8_17585)]

Kim Petersen is co-editor of Dissident Voice. He can be reached at: kim@dissidentvoice.org.

Mark Stapleton
05-28-2010, 06:58 AM
To add to the debate, here is a long thread with details and scenarios and viewpoints and a strong suggestion that the event is a trial run for an Israeli false flag attack in re: Iran.


Do they make the case? Or is this a wishful-thinking group grope?

They make a case.

However, that site is infested with Zionist shills. To whit, "You are going to have a face to face with the God of Israel"!!


Magda Hassan
05-29-2010, 12:43 AM
Analysts question Korea torpedo incident

How is it that a submarine of a fifth-rate power was able to penetrate a U.S.-South Korean naval exercise and sink a ship that was designed for anti-submarine warfare?
Such questions are being fueled by suggestions in the South Korean and Japanese media that the naval exercise was intended to provoke the North to attack. The resulting public outcry in the South, according to this analysis, would bolster support for a conservative government in Seoul that is opposed to reconciliation efforts.
As fanciful as it may sound to Western ears, the case that Operation Foal Eagle (http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/foal-eagle.htm) was designed to provoke the North has been underscored by constant references in regional media to charts showing the location where the ship was sunk -- in waters close to, and claimed by, North Korea.
"Baengnyeong Island (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROKS_Cheonan_sinking) is only 20 kilometers from North Korea in an area that the North claims as its maritime territory, except for the South Korean territorial sea around the island,” Japanese journalist Tanaka Sakai wrote in the left-leaning Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (http://japanfocus.org/-Tanaka-Sakai/3361).
He called the sinking of the ship “an enigma.”
"The Cheonan was a patrol boat whose mission was to survey with radar and sonar the enemy’s submarines, torpedoes, and aircraft ... " Sakai wrote.

"If North Korean submarines and torpedoes were approaching, the Cheonan should have been able to sense it quickly and take measures to counterattack or evade. Moreover, on the day the Cheonan sank, US and ROK military exercises were under way, so it could be anticipated that North Korean submarines would move south to conduct surveillance. It is hard to imagine that the Cheonan sonar forces were not on alert."
The liberal Hankyoreh (http://english.hani.co.kr/arti/english_edition/e_national/421856.html) newspaper in Seoul echoed a similar theme.

“A joint South Korean-U.S. naval exercise involving several Aegis warships was underway at the time, and the Cheonan was a patrol combat corvette (PCC) that specialized in anti-submarine warfare. The question remains whether it would be possible for a North Korean submarine to infiltrate the maritime cordon at a time when security reached its tightest level and without detection by the Cheonan,” it reported.
American spy satellites were also monitoring the exercise, “so the U.S. would have known that North Korean submarines had left their ports on a mission,” adds Scott Snyder (http://www.cfr.org/bios/845/scott_a_snyder.html), director of Center for U.S.-Korea Policy at the Asia Foundation.
“The route the North Korean submarines apparently took was from the East Sea, not directly from the North across the NLL,” or Northern Limit Line, the sea boundary unilaterally imposed by Seoul. “Essentially, they went the roundabout way and came at the ROK vessel from behind,” he said.
But Bruce Klingner (http://www.heritage.org/About/Staff/K/Bruce-Klingner), chief of the CIA’s Korea Branch in the 1990s, said “anti-submarine operations are far more difficult than is often realized.
“Beyond the obvious difficulty in tracking something that is designed to operate quietly, navies are confronted with natural acoustical phenomena as shallow, noisy littoral waters and layers of water salinity which can provide cover for submarines.”
Moreover, says Terence Roehrig (http://www.usnwc.edu/Research---Gaming/Faculty/Terence-Roehrig.aspx), a professor at the Naval War College, “the Cheonan was an older Pohang-class corvette and not one of these [newer] ships.”
“Satellite and communications coverage of sub bases can tell when subs have left base…” adds Bruce Bechtol, Jr (http://www.potomacbooksinc.com/Books/AuthorDetail.aspx?id=12069)., professor of international relations at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College. “It cannot tell locations of submarines once they are at sea -- unless they surface or communicate.”
“A mini-submarine like the type that is assessed to have penetrated the NLL is designed specifically for covert maneuvering in shallow waters like those that exist off of the west coast of the Korean Peninsula,” he said.

“It appears from the reports that [the South Korean Ministry of Defense] has released that a submarine departed port off the west coast of North Korea, accompanied by a support vessel. The submarine perhaps could have come fairly close to the NLL using diesel power, then switched to battery power, which is much quieter,” Bechtol added. “The submarine could have then slipped past the NLL at an appropriate time and waited for a ROK ship to approach.”
Suspicions about what happened, Bechtol said, are unwarranted.
“The fact of the matter is, a submarine did infiltrate into South Korean waters -- and they have done so in the past fairly frequently," he said.
"It is their mission.”
http://blog.washingtonpost.com/spy-talk/2010/05/asian_analysts_question_korea_torpedo_incident.htm l

Mark Stapleton
05-29-2010, 12:57 AM
Without a good set of photos of the salvaged South Korean ship, its hard to tell what happened. The only one I've seen--on the blog Ed posted-- didn't show the ship's hull bent inwards near the point of impact, as one would expect following a torpedo strike. The metal was neither bent inwards or outwards.

Also, is it common to recover intact the torpedo motor assembly? I would have thought the torpedo would have exploded into a million pieces, although I'm no expert.

Ed Jewett
05-30-2010, 04:50 AM
Go back at least ten entries deep at this blog... http://willyloman.wordpress.com/

Jan Klimkowski
05-30-2010, 09:33 PM
The spooks of MI6 have spoken, uh, leaked to the Daily Express, that they've, ahem, listened, um, to some spooky Voice Recognition Confirmation software thang.

Which has proven the case they were trying to prove.

That it was a fiendish and diabolical North Korean plot.

So that's that then. Case closed.

Not. :thumpdown:

I particularly enjoyed the astute psychological analysis offered by spookdom's finest shrinks:

MI6’s report contains a personality profile on Kim Jong-un, 27, which described him as being: “just like his father”.


THE order to attack and sink a South Korean warship was given directly by the youngest son of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il, according to a secret MI6 report.

The news emerged as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama met South Korean President Lee Myung-bak yesterday in a bid to contain mounting tension between the two countries. It is being seen as further proof that Kim Jong-il is grooming his youngest son to take over, as he fights the effects of a cerebral haemorrhage.

MI6’s report contains a personality profile on Kim Jong-un, 27, which described him as being: “just like his father”. It adds: “He has the same hard-line political outlook and explosive temper. He will ignore worldwide condemnation. He boasts that North Korea has the fourth largest army in the world and when he takes over, he will have his finger on the nuclear trigger.”

Last year North Korea announced it intended to abandon the terms of the armistice which ended the Korean War in 1953. It was then, according to the MI6 report, that Kim Jong-il promoted his youngest son as head of the navy.
Cheonan, a 1,200-tonne frigate, was sunk on March 26 by a North Korean submarine, with the loss of 46 lives.

The event led South Korea to seek a UN resolution condemning the act and reparations.

MI6 was tasked to establish the chain of events in readiness for a meeting of the UN Security Council, of which Britain is a member.
Some of the details were provided by one of Britain’s three nuclear submarines, which was patrolling nearby at the time of the attack.

The torpedo strike was recorded by the British crew, which reported that the South Korean frigate “instantly split in two and sank precisely two minutes later”. Kim Jong-Un was identified as personally giving the order to attack by British technicians, who ran his voice through a Voice Recognition Confirmation database.

The MI6 report concludes: “There are few good options for South Korea. It can go to the UN but in reality China is very unlikely to back serious economic sanctions against the North. Military action would only ever lead us to higher risks of escalation.”


Mark Stapleton
05-31-2010, 01:39 AM
Go back at least ten entries deep at this blog... http://willyloman.wordpress.com/

Thanks for that Ed. Recommended reading.

The official story of the sinking of the Cheonan looks as credible as the magic bullet theory. Hilary Clinton is a pathetic saleswoman for the US/Israel/MSM war machine, and she really should be tried for this. Lucky she didn't secure the Democratic nomination in '08, otherwise America would already be involved in yet another disastrous war.

Jan Klimkowski
06-05-2010, 02:48 PM
Did an American Mine Sink the South Korean Ship?

by Yoichi Shimatsu

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 of the Salvor, which oddly is not under the command of the 7th Fleet but controlled by the innocuous-sounding Military Sealift Command. Diving-support ships like the Salvor are closely connected with the Office of Naval Intelligence since their duties include secret operations such as retrieving weapons from sunken foreign ships, scouting harbor channels and laying mines, as when the Salvor trained Royal Thai Marine divers in mine-laying in the Gulf of Thailand in 2006, for example.

The Salvor's presence points to an inadvertent release of a rising mine, perhaps because its activation system was not switched off. A human error or technical glitch is very much within the realm of possibility due to the swift current and strong tides that race through the Byeongnyeong Channel. The arduous task of mooring the launch platforms to the sea floor allows the divers precious little time for double-checking the electronic systems.

If indeed it was an American rising mine that sank the Cheonan, it would constitute a friendly-fire accident. That in itself is not grounds for a criminal investigation against the presidential office and, at worst, amounts only to negligence by the military. However, any attempt to falsify evidence and engage in a media cover-up for political purposes constitutes tampering, fraud, perjury and possibly treason.

Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times, is an environmental consultant and a commentator on Asian affairs for CCTV-9 Dialogue.

Magda Hassan
06-05-2010, 02:53 PM
Shhh! Even if it was a US mine that sank the Cheonan it will always be those wiley North Koreans who did it. :viking:So much more useful.

Keith Millea
06-05-2010, 03:25 PM
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.

Yeah,the picture of that intact propeller shaft convinced me that all is not what it seems to be.And,I'm not hearing anymore consternation by S.Korea.I guess they figure it's time to shut up.

As for those "rising mines",that brings back thoughts of one kind of anti-personnel mine that was used by the Viet Cong.We called them "bouncing Betty".When a soldier stepped on the triggering mechanism,the mine would pop-up from the ground to about shoulder level,and then blow the shit out you. :saint:

Magda Hassan
07-25-2010, 12:14 PM
Doubts surface on North Korea's role in ship sinking

Some in South Korea dispute the official version of events: that a North Korean torpedo ripped apart the Cheonan.

By Barbara Demick and John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times July 23, 2010 | 8:13 p.m.
Reporting from Seoul —
The way U.S. officials see it, there's little mystery behind the most notorious shipwreck in recent Korean history.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the evidence "overwhelming" that the Cheonan, a South Korean warship that sank in March, was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Vice President Joe Biden has cited the South Korean-led panel investigating the sinking as a model of transparency.

But challenges to the official version of events are coming from an unlikely place: within South Korea (http://www.latimes.com/topic/intl/south-korea-PLGEO00000018.topic).

Get dispatches from Times correspondents around the globe delivered to your inbox with our daily World newsletter. Sign up » (http://www.latimes.com/extras/events/lp/AUD/10AUD236/register.html)

Armed with dossiers of their own scientific studies and bolstered by conspiracy theories, critics dispute the findings announced May 20 by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak (http://www.latimes.com/topic/politics/government/heads-of-state/lee-myung-bak-PEPLT007560.topic), which pointed a finger at Pyongyang (http://www.latimes.com/topic/intl/north-korea/pyongyang-%28north-korea%29-PLGEO100100602011317.topic).

They also question why Lee made the announcement nearly two months after the ship's sinking, on the very day campaigning opened for fiercely contested local elections. Many accuse the conservative leader of using the deaths of 46 sailors to stir up anti-communist sentiment and sway the vote.

The critics, mostly but not all from the opposition, say it is unlikely that the impoverished North Korean regime could have pulled off a perfectly executed hit against a superior military power, sneaking a submarine into the area and slipping away without detection. They also wonder whether the evidence of a torpedo attack was misinterpreted, or even fabricated.

"I couldn't find the slightest sign of an explosion," said Shin Sang-chul, a former shipbuilding executive-turned-investigative journalist. "The sailors drowned to death. Their bodies were clean. We didn't even find dead fish in the sea."

Shin, who was appointed to the joint investigative panel by the opposition Democratic Party (http://www.latimes.com/topic/politics/parties-movements/democratic-party-ORGOV0000005.topic), inspected the damaged ship with other experts April 30. He was removed from the panel shortly afterward, he says, because he had voiced a contrary opinion: that the Cheonan hit ground in the shallow water off the Korean peninsula and then damaged its hull trying to get off a reef.

"It was the equivalent of a simple traffic accident at sea," Shin said.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shin was removed because of "limited expertise, a lack of objectivity and scientific logic," and that he was "intentionally creating public mistrust" in the investigation.

The doubts about the Cheonan have embarrassed the United States, which will s begin joint military exercises Sunday in a show of unity against North Korean (http://www.latimes.com/topic/intl/north-korea-PLGEO00000017.topic) aggression. On Friday, an angry North Korea warned that "there will be a physical response" to the maneuvers.

Two South Korean-born U.S. academics have joined the chorus of skepticism, holding a news conference this month in Tokyo to voice their suspicions about the "smoking gun:" a piece of torpedo propeller with a handwritten mark in blue ink reading "No. 1" in Korean.

"You could put that mark on an iPhone (http://www.latimes.com/topic/services-shopping/electronic-devices/apple-iphone-PRDCES00000002.topic) and claim it was manufactured in North Korea," scoffed one of the academics, Seunghun Lee, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia (http://www.latimes.com/topic/education/colleges-universities/university-of-virginia-OREDU0000159.topic).

Lee called the discovery of the propeller fragment five days before the government's news conference suspicious. The salvaged part had more corrosion than would have been expected after just 50 days in the water, yet the blue writing was surprisingly clear, he said.

"The government is lying when they said this was found underwater. I think this is something that was pulled out of a warehouse of old materials to show to the press," Lee said.

South Korean politicians say they've been left in the dark about the investigation.

"We asked for very basic information: interviews with surviving sailors, communication records, the reason the ship was out there," said Choi Moon-soon, an assemblyman with the Democratic Party.

The legislature also has not been allowed to see the full report by the investigative committee, only a five-page synopsis.

"I don't know why they haven't released the report. They are trying to cover up small inconsistencies, and that has cost them credibility," said Kim Chul-woo, a former Defense Ministry official who is now an analyst with the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, a government think tank.

A military oversight body, the Board of Inspection and Audit, has accused senior naval officers of lying and concealing information.

"Military officers deliberately left out or distorted key information in their report to senior officials and the public because they wanted to avoid being held to account for being unprepared," an official of the inspection board was quoted as telling the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

The Cheonan, a 1,200-ton corvette, sank the night of March 26 about 12 miles off North Korea. The first report issued by Yonhap, the official South Korean news agency, said the ship had been struck by a torpedo, but soon afterward the story changed to say the ship sank after being grounded on a reef.

The military repeated that version for days. The audit board found that sailors on a nearby vessel, the Sokcho, who fired off 35 shots with a 76-millimeter cannon around the time of the sinking, were instructed to say they'd been shooting at a flock of birds, even though at first they had said they'd seen a suspected submarine on radar.

On April 2, as Defense Minister Kim Tae-young was testifying before the National Assembly, a cameraman shooting over his right shoulder managed to capture an image of a handwritten note from the president's office instructing him not to talk about North Korean submarines.

Such inconsistencies and reversals have fueled the suspicions of government critics. U.S. officials, however, say the panel's conclusion is irrefutable.

Rear Adm. Thomas J. Eccles, the senior U.S. representative on the panel, said investigators considered all possibilities: a grounding, an internal explosion, a collision with a mine. But they quickly concluded that the boat was sunk by a bubble-jet torpedo, which exploded underneath the vessel and didn't leave the usual signs of an explosion, he said.

"The pattern of damage was exactly aligned with that kind of weapon," Eccles said in a telephone interview. "Torpedoes these days are designed to drive underneath the target and explode. They use the energy of their explosion to make a bubble that expands and contracts. It is designed to break the back of the ship."

Pyongyang, meanwhile, denies involvement in the sinking and calls the accusation against it a fabrication.

South Koreans themselves appear to be confused: Polls show that more than 20% of the public doesn't believe North Korea sank the Cheonan.

Wi Sung-lac, South Korea's top envoy for North Korean affairs, says the criticism from within has made it difficult to get China and Russia on board to punish Pyongyang for the attack.

"They say, 'But even in your own country, many people don't believe the result,' " Wi said.



Ju-min Park of The Times' Seoul Bureau and David S. Cloud of the Washington bureau contributed to this report.