[News] Sinking of S.Korean warship Cheonan - Another Gulf of Tonkin Incident

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jun 1 09:58:17 EDT 2010


On August 2, 1964, the United States announced 
that three North Vietnamese torpedo boats had 
launched an unprovoked attacked on the USS 
Maddox, a US Navy destroyer, in the Gulf of 
Tonkin. The incident handed US president Lyndon 
Johnson the Congressional support he needed to 
step up military intervention in Vietnam. In 
1971, the New York Times reported that the 
Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon report, 
revealed that the incident had been faked to 
provide a pretext for escalated military 
intervention. There had been no attack. The 
Cheonan incident has all the markings of another 
Gulf of Tonkin incident. And as usual, the 
aggressor is accusing the intended victim of an 
unprovoked attack to justify a policy of 
aggression under the pretext of self-defense. 
Read this detailed investigative report for details.


Tuesday, May 27, 2010

http://www.infowars.com/the-sinking-of-the-cheonan-another-gulf-of-tonkin-incident/


<http://gowans.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/the-sinking-of-the-cheonan-another-gulf-of-tonkin-incident/>The 
sinking of the Cheonan: Another Gulf of Tonkin incident

<http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_punX9hMdXKo/S_x4kIA9VUI/AAAAAAAAAKg/BXS4AliisMc/s1600/Cheonan-006.jpg>
[]


By Stephen Gowans

While the South Korean government announced on 
May 20 that it has overwhelming evidence that one 
of its warships was sunk by a torpedo fired by a 
North Korean submarine, there is, in fact, no 
direct link between North Korea and the sunken 
ship. And it seems very unlikely that North Korea had anything to do with it.

That’s not my conclusion. It’s the conclusion of 
Won See-hoon, director of South Korea’s National 
Intelligence. Won told a South Korean 
parliamentary committee in early April, less than 
two weeks after the South Korean warship, the 
Cheonan, sank in waters off Baengnyeong Island, 
that there was no evidence linking North Korea to the Cheonan’s sinking. (1)

South Korea’s Defense Minister Kim Tae-young 
backed him up, pointing out that the Cheonan’s 
crew had not detected a torpedo (2), while Lee 
Ki-sik, head of the marine operations office at 
the South Korean joint chiefs of staff agreed 
that “No North Korean warships have been 
detected
(in) the waters where the accident took place.” (3)

Notice he said “accident.”

Soon after the sinking of the South Korean 
warship, the Cheonan, Defense Minister Kim 
Tae-young ruled out a North Korean torpedo 
attack, noting that a torpedo would have been 
spotted by radar, and no torpedo had been 
spotted. Intelligence chief Won See-hoon, said 
there was no evidence linking North Korea to the Cheonan’s sinking.

Defense Ministry officials added that they had 
not detected any North Korean submarines in the 
area at the time of the incident. (4) According 
to Lee, “We didn’t detect any movement by North 
Korean submarines near” the area where the Cheonan went down. (5)

When speculation persisted that the Cheonan had 
been sunk by a North Korean torpedo, the Defense 
Ministry called another press conference to 
reiterate “there was no unusual North Korean 
activities detected at the time of the disaster.” (6)

A ministry spokesman, Won Tae-jae, told reporters 
that “With regard to this case, no particular 
activities by North Korean submarines or 
semi-submarines
have been verified. I am saying 
again that there were no activities that could be 
directly linked to” the Cheonan’s sinking. (7)

Rear Admiral Lee, the head of the marine 
operations office, added that, “We closely 
watched the movement of the North’s vessels, 
including submarines and semi-submersibles, at 
the time of the sinking. But military did not 
detect any North Korean submarines near the country’s western sea border.” (8)

North Korea has vehemently denied any involvement in the sinking.

So, a North Korean submarine is now said to have 
fired a torpedo which sank the Cheonan, but in 
the immediate aftermath of the sinking the South 
Korean navy detected no North Korean naval 
vessels, including submarines, in the area. 
Indeed, immediately following the incident 
defense minister Lee ruled out a North Korean 
torpedo attack, noting that a torpedo would have 
been spotted by radar, and no torpedo had been spotted. (9)

The case gets weaker still.

It’s unlikely that a single torpedo could split a 
1,200 ton warship in two. Baek Seung-joo, an 
analyst with the Korea Institute for Defense 
Analysis says that “If a single torpedo or 
floating mine causes a naval patrol vessel to 
split in half and sink, we will have to rewrite our military doctrine.” (10)

The Cheonan sank in shallow, rapidly running, 
waters, in which it’s virtually impossible for 
submarines to operate. “Some people are pointing 
the finger at North Korea,” notes Song Young-moo, 
a former South Korean navy chief of staff, “but 
anyone with knowledge about the waters where the 
shipwreck occurred would not draw that conclusion so easily.” (11)

Contrary to what looks like an improbable 
North-Korea-torpedo-hypothesis, the evidence 
points to the Cheonan splitting in two and 
sinking because it ran aground upon a reef, a 
real possibility given the shallow waters in 
which the warship was operating. According to Go 
Yeong-jae, the South Korean Coast Guard captain 
who rescued 56 of the stricken warship’s crew, he 
“received an order 
that a naval patrol vessel 
had run aground in the waters 1.2 miles to the 
southwest of Baengnyeong Island, and that we were 
to move there quickly to rescue them.” (12)

So how is it that what looked like no North 
Korean involvement in the Cheonan’s sinking, 
according to the South Korean military in the 
days immediately following the incident, has now 
become, one and half months later, an open and 
shut case of North Korean aggression, according 
to government-appointed investigators?

South Korean president Lee Myung-bak is a North 
Korea-phobe who prefers a confrontational stance 
toward his neighbor to the north to the policy of 
peaceful coexistence and growing cooperation 
favored by his recent predecessors. His foreign 
policy rests on the goal of forcing the collapse of North Korea.

The answer has much to do with the electoral 
fortunes of South Korea’s ruling Grand National 
Party, and the party’s need to marshal support 
for a tougher stance on the North. Lurking in the 
wings are US arms manufacturers who stand to 
profit if South Korean president Lee Myung-bak 
wins public backing for beefed up spending on 
sonar equipment and warships to deter a North 
Korean threat – all the more likely with the 
Cheonan incident chalked up to North Korean aggression.

Lee is a North Korea-phobe who prefers a 
confrontational stance toward his neighbor to the 
north to the policy of peaceful coexistence and 
growing cooperation favored by his recent 
predecessors (and by Pyongyang, as well. It’s 
worth mentioning that North Korea supports a 
policy of peace and cooperation. South Korea, 
under its hawkish president, does not.) 
Fabricating a case against the North serves Lee 
in a number of ways. If voters in the South can 
be persuaded that the North is indeed a menace – 
and it looks like this is exactly what is 
happening – Lee’s hawkish policies will be 
embraced as the right ones for present 
circumstances. This will prove immeasurably 
helpful in upcoming mayoral and gubernatorial elections in June.

What’s more, Lee’s foreign policy rests on the 
goal of forcing the collapse of North Korea. When 
he took office in February 2008, he set about 
reversing a 10-year-old policy of unconditional 
aid to the North. He has also refused to move 
ahead on cross-border economic projects. (13) The 
claim that the sinking of the Cheonan is due to 
an unprovoked North Korean torpedo attack makes 
it easier for Lee to drum up support for his confrontational stance.

Finally, the RAND Corporation is urging South 
Korea to buy sensors to detect North Korean 
submarines and more warships to intercept North 
Korean naval vessels. (14) An unequivocal 
US-lackey – protesters have called the security 
perimeter around Lee’s office “the U.S. state of 
South Korea” (15) – Lee would be pleased to hand 
US corporations fat contracts to furnish the 
South Korean military with more hardware.

The United States, too, has motivations to 
fabricate a case against North Korea. One is to 
justify the continued presence, 65 years after 
the end of WWII, of US troops on Japanese soil. 
Many Japanese bristle at what is effectively a 
permanent occupation of their country by more 
than a token contingent of US troops. There are 
60,000 US soldiers, airmen and sailors in Japan. 
Washington, and the Japanese government – which, 
when it isn’t willingly collaborating with its 
own occupiers, is forced into submission by the 
considerable leverage Washington exercises — 
justifies its troop presence through the sheer 
sophistry of presenting North Korea as an ongoing 
threat. The claim that North Korea sunk the 
Cheonan in an unprovoked attack strengthens 
Washington’s case for occupation. Not 
surprisingly, US Secretary of State Hilary 
Clinton has seized on the Cheonan incident to 
underline “the importance of the America-Japanese 
alliance, and the presence of American troops on Japanese soil.” (16)

Given these political realities, it comes as no 
surprise that from the start members of Lee’s 
party blamed the sinking of the Cheonan on a 
North Korean torpedo (17), just as members of the 
Bush administration immediately blamed 9/11 on 
Saddam Hussein, and then proceeded to look for 
evidence to substantiate their case, in the hopes 
of justifying an already planned invasion. 
(Later, the Bush administration fabricated an 
intelligence dossier on Iraq’s banned weapons.) 
In fact, the reason the ministry of defense felt 
the need to reiterate there was no evidence of a 
North Korean link was the persistent speculation 
of GNP politicians that North Korea was the 
culprit. Lee himself, ever hostile to his 
northern neighbor, said his “intuition” told him 
that North Korea was to blame. (18) Today, 
opposition parties accuse Lee of using “red 
scare” tactics to garner support as the June 2 
elections draw near. (19) And leaders of South 
Korea’s four main opposition parties, as well as 
a number of civil groups, have issued a joint 
statement denouncing the government’s findings as 
untrustworthy. Woo Sang-ho, a spokesman for South 
Korea’s Democratic Party has called the probe 
results “insufficient proof and questioned 
whether the North was involved at all.” (20)

Lee announced, even before the inquiry rendered 
its findings, that a task force will be launched 
to overhaul the national security system and bulk 
up the military to prepare itself for threats 
from North Korea. (21) He even prepared a package 
of sanctions against the North in the event the 
inquiry confirmed what his intuition told him. 
(22) No wonder civil society groups denounced the 
inquiry’s findings, arguing that “The probe 
started after the conclusions had already been drawn.” (23)

Jung Sung-ki, a staff reporter for The Korean 
Times, has raised a number of questions about the 
inquiry’s findings. The inquiry concluded that 
“two North Korean submarines, one 300-ton Sango 
class and the other 130-ton Yeono class, were 
involved in the attack. Under the cover of the 
Sango class, the midget Yeono class submarine 
approached the Cheonan and launched the CHT-02D 
torpedo manufactured by North Korea.” But “’Sango 
class submarines
do not have an advanced system 
to guide homing weapons,’ an expert at a missile 
manufacturer told The Korea Times on condition of 
anonymity. ‘If a smaller class submarine was 
involved, there is a bigger question mark.’” (24)

“Rear Adm. Moon Byung-ok, spokesman for [the 
official inquiry] told reporters, ‘We confirmed 
that two submarines left their base two or three 
days prior to the attack and returned to the port 
two or three days after the assault.’” But 
earlier “South Korean and U.S. military 
authorities confirmed several times that there 
had been no sign of North Korean infiltration in 
the” area in which the Cheonan went down. (25)

“In addition, Moon’s team reversed its position 
on whether or not there was a column of water 
following an air bubble effect. Earlier, the team 
said there were no sailors who had witnessed a 
column of water. But during [a] briefing session, 
the team said a soldier onshore at Baengnyeong 
Island witnessed ‘an approximately 100-meter-high 
pillar of white,’ adding that the phenomenon was 
consistent with a shockwave and bubble effect.” (26)

The inquiry produced a torpedo propeller 
recovered by fishing vessels that it said 
perfectly match the schematics of a North Korean 
torpedo. “But it seemed that the collected parts 
had been corroding at least for several months.” (27)

Finally, the investigators “claim the Korean word 
written on the driving shaft of the propeller 
parts was same as that seen on a North Korean 
torpedo discovered by the South 
seven years 
ago.” But the “’word is not inscribed on the part 
but written on it,’ an analyst said, adding that 
“’the lettering issue is dubious.’” (28)

On August 2, 1964, the United States announced 
that three North Vietnamese torpedo boats had 
launched an unprovoked attacked on the USS 
Maddox, a US Navy destroyer, in the Gulf of 
Tonkin. The incident handed US president Lyndon 
Johnson the Congressional support he needed to 
step up military intervention in Vietnam. In 
1971, the New York Times reported that the 
Pentagon Papers, a secret Pentagon report, 
revealed that the incident had been faked to 
provide a pretext for escalated military 
intervention. There had been no attack. The 
Cheonan incident has all the markings of another 
Gulf of Tonkin incident. And as usual, the 
aggressor is accusing the intended victim of an 
unprovoked attack to justify a policy of 
aggression under the pretext of self-defense.

1. Kang Hyun-kyung, “Ruling camp differs over NK 
involvement in disaster”, The Korea Times, April 7, 2010.
2. Nicole Finnemann, “The sinking of the 
Cheonan”, Korea Economic Institute, April 1, 
2010. http://newsmanager.commpartners.com/kei/issues/2010-04-01/1.html
3. “Military leadership adding to Cheonan chaos 
with contradictory statements”, The Hankyoreh, March 31, 2010.
4. “Birds or North Korean midget submarine?” The Korea Times, April 16, 2010.
5. Ibid.
6. “Military plays down N.K. foul play”, The Korea Herald, April 2, 2010.
7. Ibid.
8. “No subs near Cheonan: Ministry”, JoongAng Daily, April 2, 2010.
9. Jean H. Lee, “South Korea says mine from the 
North may have sunk warship”, The Washington Post, March 30, 2010.
10. “What caused the Cheonan to sink?” The Chosun Ilbo, March 29, 2010.
11. Ibid.
12. “Military leadership adding to Cheonan chaos 
with contradictory statements”, The Hankyoreh, March 31, 2010.
13. Blaine Harden, “Brawl Near Koreas’ Border,” 
The Washington Post, December 3, 2008.
14. “Kim So-hyun, “A touchstone of Lee’s 
leadership”, The Korea Herald, May 13, 2010.
15. The New York Times, June 12, 2008.
16. Mark Landler, “Clinton condemns attack on 
South Korean Ship”, The New York Times, May 21, 2010.
17. Kang Hyun-kyung, “Ruling camp differs over NK 
involvement in disaster”, The Korea Times, April 7, 2010.
18. “Kim So-hyun, “A touchstone of Lee’s 
leadership”, Korea Herald, May 13, 2010.
19. Kang Hyun-kyung, “Ruling camp differs over NK 
involvement in disaster”, The Korea Times, April 
7, 2010; Choe Sang-Hun, “South Korean sailors say 
blast that sank their ship came from outside 
vessel”, The New York Times, April 8, 2010.
20. Cho Jae-eun, “Probe satisfies some, others 
have doubts”, JoongAng Daily, May 21, 2010.
21. “Kim So-hyun, “A touchstone of Lee’s 
leadership”, The Korea Herald, May 13, 2010.
22. “Seoul prepares sanctions over Cheonan 
sinking”, The Choson Ilbo, May 13, 2010.
23. Cho Jae-eun, “Probe satisfies some, others 
have doubts”, JoongAng Daily, May 21, 2010.
24. Jung Sung-ki, “Questions raised about 
‘smoking gun’”, The Korea Times, May 20, 2010.
25. Ibid.
26. Ibid.
27. Ibid.
28. Ibid.

Most of the articles cited here are posted on Tim 
Beal’s DPRK- North Korea website, 
http://www.vuw.ac.nz/~caplabtb/dprk/, an 
invaluable resource for anyone interested in Korea.

Updated May 23, 2010

Reprinted from the Canadian blog, Rebel Youth



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