Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
May 05, 2017

Reuters Attempts "Open Source" Analysis - Perilous Fail Ensues

The news agency Reuters/Thomson snitches on North Korean ship movements to suggest how sanctions could mess up commerce between North Korea (DPRK) and China.

China’s grip on North Korea’s economy

The Trump administration has pressured China to do more to rein in North Korea, which sends most of its exports to its giant neighbour across the Yellow Sea. We take a look at the impact of China’s recent ban on North Korean coal and other ways Pyongyang relies on China. - May 4, 2017

But the data Reuters uses is unreliable and the news agency is drawing dubious conclusions from it. Such reporting by an official news agency can easily lead to wrong assumptions in the political sphere and to unhelpful if not dangerous policies.

Reuters uses public available data from the Automatic Identification System (AIS) of DPRK ships to identify their destination and load conditions, But the only "automatic" data AIS is transmitting from the ship's transponder to other ships and land stations is position, direction and speed. Even these can be spoofed or be wrong for various reasons. Other AIS data is entered manually into the AIS systems and is often false. Wikipedia notes of AIS data types:

Message 5: Static and Voyage Related Data - Gives information on a ship and its trip - One of the few messages whose data is entered by hand. This information includes static data such as a ship's length, width, draught, as well as the ship's intended destination

Using open source data Reuters looks at ships involved in coal exports from the DPRK to China using AIS derived data.


bigger

Of the North Korean vessel Hae Bang San it writes:

This vessel departed two Chinese coal handling ports in late April. Ship tracking data showed the bulk carrier was sitting almost one meter lower in the water than its maximum draft of 4.15 meters, indicating it was carrying a heavy load bound for North Korea.

The conclusion from that data is that the ship probably did not unload in China but may have loaded up. Such a conclusion is likely wrong because:

  • the draft of a ship is manually entered into AIS for each voyage and is often mistyped
  • the "maximum draft" of a ship is not registered reliable
  • a ship's draft does not say anything about its loading status.

Here for example is the AIS data of the Belgium river barge Jaguar on a German inland waterway. If you believe its AIS the barge is 76 meter wide ("Breite") and has a current draft ("Tiefgang") of 10 meter. The waterway is less than 2 meter deep.

The German shipping message board the example is taken from has 28 pages of such "Funny AIS Entries". According to AIS data sailing ships of over 500 meter length are quite common. But a U.S. Homeland Security study found (pdf) that 45% of its 17,000 observed vessels had inconsistencies in their AIS data. 211 of them had "incorrect draft where it is deeper than overall length or beam." Such AIS data is mere garbage.

The Korean vessel Hae Bang San (IMO: 8518962) is listed at fleetmon.com as container vessel with a maximum draft of 5.2 meter. The same ship/IMO is listed as general cargo vessel with a maximum 4.1 meter draft by vesselfinder.com. Marinetraffic.com gives 5 meter draft but no maximum. The sites show different deadweights for the same ship. Reuters picks some of these public data items, says the vessel is a "bulk carrier" and suggests the ship is overloaded based on data that is inevitably inconsistent. Even if the draft data in the AIS messages were correct the ship might have unloaded in China and taken on ballast water to stabilize itself for the home voyage. Draft data, even correct ones, says little about the actual loading status.

We now see more and more of such amateurish and often false "open source" analysis. The unemployed British office administrator Eliot Higgins turned into a hailed "Nonresident Senior Fellow, Digital Forensic Research Lab, Future Europe Initiative of the Atlantic Council". He did so by sitting on his coach musing and blogging about photos of conflict damages found on the Internet. He is no expert in anything. But somehow he always finds a NATO-friendly and anti-Russian interpretation of the incidents he investigates. Higgins has been proven wrong again and again. Amnesty International (which also cheerleads for NATO) uses mere hearsay of two partisan "witnesses" and misinterpreted satellite pictures to claim mass executions in Syria. During the Georgia war in 2008 Human Rights Watch was caught falsely blaming Russia for cluster bombs used by the Georgian side. The false claim was based on faulty interpretation of open source pictures. Recently Human Rights Watch alleges (pdf) that Russian KhAB-250 ammunition was used in the Khan Sheikhun "Sarin" incident in Syria. The claim is based on amateurish interpretation of public pictures. The alleged ammunition type was never exported from the USSR,  never able to contain a sarin load and dismantled in the 1960s.

Open source data is unreliable. It must always be crosschecked and crosschecked again. Pictures and videos are prone to misinterpretation. Humans often see in them what they want to see - not what the pictures really show. Expertise of the domain in question must be consulted before drawing conclusions.

The Reuters report on the North Korea-China coal shipping is likely wrong because the open source data it uses is inconsistent and in general not reliable. Additionally no conclusion at all can be drawn from even a correct AIS "draft" entry. Reuters also uses satellite pictures that show what one wants to see. Are those "coal heaps" Reuters detects and marks in satellite pictures of Chinese harbors really of coal? It is possible but how the hell would it know?

Experts of a field may be able to find truth in open source data. Amateur interpretation of such data by NGOs or none-expert journalists will often be wrong. It is dangerous to report such interpretations in absolute terms and without upfront explicit caveats. Policy decisions based on such propagandistic reports will likely be the wrong ones but are inherently dangerous.

Posted by b on May 5, 2017 at 04:51 AM | Permalink

Comments

Everyone knows Reuters' "news" is invented in a vacuum, or dictated by an anonymous spook. Considering all the other bs Reuters believes, they probably thought that citing, and naming, an independent source (without bothering to cross-check with other sources) might create an illusion of professionalism.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 5, 2017 6:14:10 AM | 1

Also, it's very Western MSM/Reuter-ish not to be curious enough to ask the owners of the Hae Bang San, and/or the DPRK or Chinese Governments about the official reason for the voyage.
If they got an answer and published it, would that look a bit too much like Investigative Journalism, for Reuters?

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 5, 2017 6:30:00 AM | 2

When the NYT, Google and FAKEBOOK get their 'Fake News' algorithms firmly in place, the lies they tell will be repeated endlessly in a vacuum of noise, all designed to keep Americans yearning for endless wars.

NKorea is friends with Syria and Iran, plus they advocate for the Palestinians. Such rash behavior must be punished, says Israel and the US gladly obeys.

Posted by: Greg Bacon | May 5, 2017 7:42:56 AM | 3

Isn't it strange how China and Russia must try to reason with North Korea to stop a world war being started by the United States?

Posted by: Michael McNulty | May 5, 2017 8:30:00 AM | 4

The alleged ammunition type was never exported from the USSR, never able to contain a chemical weapon load and dismantled in the 1960s.
b, I think you misread the Russian statement. From Sputnik:
HRW presented a photo of mock-up of KhAB-250 ammunition from the Russian Armed Forces museum in Moscow as a definite 'proof' of this bomb being used in Syria, Konashenkov said.
In the statement, Konashenkov also pointed out further discrepancies in the report: "The KhAB-250 bomb have never been exported outside the USSR and were dismantled in 1960s."

Konashenkov stressed that the Soviet-era KhAB-250 bomb which, according to the HRW report, had allegedly been used in Syria, was never designed to contain any sarin nerve gas.


I think that mean it was designed to carry other chemical weapons the Russians developed such as blister agents like Lewisite, mustard gas, etc.
BTW, you left out the best bit about the KhAB-250:
The Ministry pointed out that the Soviet-era KhAB-250 bomb does not have a filler port with safety caps: "KhAb-250 were refilled through a special side vent." Konashenkov also said that KhAb-250 could never leave a crater as they explode in the air at the height of 30-70 meters (some 100-230 feet) above the ground.

I,'ve been wondering why HRW introduced the KhAB-250 to the story when no-one else seems to have inserted it in their particular narrative but I suspect it's because of the three conventional bombs that it's alleged were dropped at the same time. The aircraft allegedly used, the Su-22 has ten hard points (three under each wing and two each on either side of the fuselage), but none on the centre-line of the aircraft, so its load would have to be of four essentially similar weapons unless the pilot was skilled enough to fly with an unbalanced load - Russian bombs seem to have the aerodynamic qualities of dustbins. So the aircraft involved had to carry four very similar devices, HRW dug out back copies of Janes and came across the KhAB-250.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 10:38:26 AM | 5

Related to the Reuters item is this report about a bill making its way through the Outlaw US Empire's national legislature giving it the unilateral ability to invade other nations ports to search DPNK ships or others engaged in commerce with it:

"“The realization of this [US] bill includes a proposed force scenario in which the US Navy would conduct compulsory inspections of all ships. Such a scenario is simply unthinkable because it means a declaration of war,” RIA Novosti quoted upper house Committee for International Relations head Konstantin Kosachev as saying," https://www.rt.com/politics/387256-declaration-of-war-senator-blasts/

Yes, the bill is all about fulfilling the policy of attaining Full Spectrum Domination.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 5, 2017 11:12:22 AM | 6

Pedant's corner: Ships can't float when there's a drought. Draught/draft are homophones.

Posted by: Cousin Jack | May 5, 2017 11:14:08 AM | 7

>>>> Ghostship | May 5, 2017 10:38:26 AM | 5
In my comment above I mention that most narratives about the events in Khan Skaykhun are quite clear that four bombs in total were used, three were conventional bombs and one was the chemical bomb. After looking through various videos, I strongly suspect that four conventional bombs were used so where did the chemical weapon come from?
There are two videos of interest, one which has been widely seen and used to support the claim that three conventional bombs were dropped However, there is another video which features two dust clouds, one which is almost certainly the right-most dust cloud in the first video and another which appears between 0:05 and 0:06 in the bottom right of the video image.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 11:18:35 AM | 8

>>>> karlof1 | May 5, 2017 11:12:22 AM | 6

If American politicians want a bit of Full Spectrum Domination, can't they keep it in their bedrooms like their British cousins.

Amid allegations of relationships with sex workers and letting former Playboy models see confidential papers, the Conservative government’s Culture Secretary John Whittingdale may be probed by intelligence officials over his activities.
British intelligence will do for free what your friendly neighbourhood dominatrix will charge £1,500 for.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 11:29:07 AM | 9

I wonder what difference it makes, these error-prone articles. Surely the people who read them have already decided their opinion about the standoff between NK and the US. The US has to have its own information gleaned from satellite imagery and other intelligence.

It's pretty much a given that the yearly months-long practice invasion of NK by the US and SK is the biggest irritant. Kim and his circle never know if it's just another dry run or the real thing.

China will do the US' bidding until they won't. They will make their calculations based on their national interests just like any other nation. They don't want a trade war and they don't want the US testing their resolve in the South China Sea. For now at least their cooperation with the US over NK has kept those other issues on the back burner. They certainly don't want a war in their backyard that could go nuclear.

One thing's for sure. The Korean Peninsula is one of the most strategic places on earth sitting astride the world's busiest shipping lanes which also happen to be China's lifeline. That's more the reason for the US presence than any altruism towards its allies. The THAAD installation is as much about ringing China as it is about protecting South Korea. On the other hand China is certain to respond militarily to the possibility of any American puppet state on the Yalu River.

But one thing's for sure. The quality of life in Kim's country compared to south of the DMZ is a sad joke. We rant and rave about the MSM and its contribution to the dumbing down of a population that already doesn't give a fuck but somehow give a pass to a dictator that allows only information that he deems appropriate. Trump may hate the press but there's nothing he can do about the way they pillory him. i doubt very much if Kim would allow a Stephen Colbert to label him a "cock holster for Xi" the way he referred to Trump vis a vis Putin.


Posted by: peter | May 5, 2017 11:53:45 AM | 10

The Thaad missile defence in South Korea is not for the defence of South Korea since North Korea has thousands of artillery pieces and rockets which they can just lob over the border exposing 12 million Seoul residents to slaughter. Neither the Russians or the Chinese want Thaad in place, neither it seems do the South Koreans "The agricultural area around Seongju is deeply conservative, and historically very supportive of the US military presence in South Korea and hostility against the north. These days, however, the locals are out in force, yelling “yankee, go home” and displaying banners panning US militarism". http://news.antiwar.com/2017/05/04/angry-south-koreans-oppose-us-missile-defense-deployment/
The upcoming elections in South Korea should be very interesting.

Posted by: harrylaw | May 5, 2017 12:33:39 PM | 11

Thanks @ghostship and @Cousin Jack

I have corrected the errors you pointed out.

Posted by: b | May 5, 2017 12:47:02 PM | 12

b | May 5, 2017 12:47:02 PM | 12

I have corrected the errors you pointed out.

Words I have never seen at Bellingcat and doubt I ever will.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 1:06:47 PM | 13

@peter "I wonder what difference it makes, these error-prone articles. "

With writing the above I debunked the Reuters piece. Any journalist who now quotes the Reuters stuff can be blamed for misleading the readers or at least a lack of basic research. I am aware of one journalist from The Diplomat who lauded the Reuters piece when it came out last night but has now publicly taken back that statement and instead retweeted my piece. That might be little but every bit helps.

But one thing's for sure. The quality of life in Kim's country compared to south of the DMZ is a sad joke.

So you have been there lately? Or do you just regurgitate the usual U.S/South Korean propaganda?

Even the New York Times has recently admitted that the North Korean economy is growing by 5% each year:

SEOUL, South Korea — Despite decades of sanctions and international isolation, the economy in North Korea is showing surprising signs of life.

Scores of marketplaces have opened in cities across the country since the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, took power five years ago. A growing class of merchants and entrepreneurs is thriving under the protection of ruling party officials. Pyongyang, the capital, has seen a construction boom, and there are now enough cars on its once-empty streets for some residents to make a living washing them.


That sad joke is not so sad anymore. Sure, it will take time for that to spread into the last small town but the situation in country is getting better - a lot better. Give it ten years and it will have a decent level of living fro most of its people. That indeed may be the reason why the U.S. is so eager to smash it.

Posted by: b | May 5, 2017 1:30:00 PM | 14

>> i doubt very much if Kim would allow
>> a Stephen Colbert to label him a
>> "cock holster for Xi" the way he
>> referred to Trump vis a vis Putin.

What if Colbert referred to:
- Trump as a cock holder for Bibi?
- Merkel as a cock holder for Obama?
...etc.

You're *allowed* to egg on a kabuki puppet for being too soft on the Deep State's putative enemies. What about the others?

I concede there's still a difference. But, we have the luxury of living somewhere not being strangled for decades by foreign powers. (Our stranglers are purely domestic.)

Posted by: dumbass | May 5, 2017 2:30:46 PM | 15

b @14--

"That indeed may be the reason why the U.S. is so eager to smash it."

Since WW2's end, the Outlaw US Empire's ideology will only allow those mimicking its political-economy to succeed, while attempting to smash all others. Such a conclusion is confirmed by materials in Kolko's Politics of War and Bruce Cumings's two volume history of the Korean War--particularly the first--often called the threat of a good example.

Posted by: karlof1 | May 5, 2017 2:31:22 PM | 16

Reuters is a British media mouthpiece.

And the purpose of that Reuters "news" article is not (snicker) intel analysis, any more than that peddled by the former underwear company employee-turned-open source intel expert Eliot Higgins.

Reuters is ratcheting up the Anglo American propganda war on China to do America's bid bidding to economically squeeze North Korea.

If there is one thing the Anglo Americans specialize in, it is disinformation and propaganda campaigns.

See the Anglo American lies about Iraqi WMDs or the fake War on Terrorism for but two examples.

Posted by: ak74 | May 5, 2017 2:45:13 PM | 17

@8 ghostship ,

Yes, I think four - and perhaps even five - conventional bombs had to have been dropped to account for all of the bomb clouds in the two early-AM videos. See this map from ACLOS - they show the small white cloud that appears in the main video (i.e. four clouds total in that video) as well as the darker small cloud in the second video :

http://images.shoutwiki.com/acloserlookonsyria/thumb/1/11/CW_Khan_Sheikhoun_2017_plumes_view.png/920px-CW_Khan_Sheikhoun_2017_plumes_view.png

I also posted this under your comment @ bellingcat.

Posted by: Marko | May 5, 2017 2:52:08 PM | 18

RT now joins ~Sputniknews in reporting on the legislation in Congress imposing additional sanctions on NK. If it should be passed and signed by the prez, the Kremlin will consider it as:

Declaration of war: Russian MPs blast US plans to enforce N. Korea sanctions on foreign territory

https://www.rt.com/politics/387256-declaration-of-war-senator-blasts/

A senior Russian senator says the American bill allowing the US Navy to enforce international sanctions on North Korea through the control of Russian ports is a violation of international law, and is equal to a declaration of war.

“The realization of this [US] bill includes a proposed force scenario in which the US Navy would conduct compulsory inspections of all ships. Such a scenario is simply unthinkable because it means a declaration of war,” RIA Novosti quoted upper house Committee for International Relations head Konstantin Kosachev as saying.

The comment came shortly after the US Congress approved the bill with additional sanctions against North Korea, allowing for the possible establishment of US control over seaports and sea routes in the Far East, including the Russian ports of Vanino, Nakhodka and Vladivostok.
The bill also expands the powers of the president of the United States to impose sanctions against individuals who violate certain UN Security Council resolutions. [..}

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Unfortunate, but the exceptional ones do not do geography. Recall, what is an Aleppo?

Posted by: likklemore | May 5, 2017 2:53:50 PM | 19

@ Posted by: harrylaw | May 5, 2017 12:33:39 PM | 11

Further, and to complement ... the THAAD deployment is a fraud re the claimed aim of defending SK from NK. To do so requires deployment of a minimum of two(2) dispersed THAAD complexes, not one(1), even under the most wildly optimistic scenario.

In any case, even with one or more complexes, its far more probable strategic objective & true operational purpose is for its radars to scan deep into China to collect data to pass along to the Stateside ABM defenses in real-time at time-of-launch within China. This enables a potential Strategic nuclear first strike capability on China by diminishing any retaliatory strikes potential effectiveness, Chinese ICBMs.

Regardless, no ABM system will protect any US/SK forces, nor Seoul, within 30-60Kms Sth of the DMZ from literally thousands of long range artillery, unguided rocket launchers & a variety of literally 1000+ Scud SRBMs & other MRBMs, fired en masse & in salvo, respectively. In the case of arty/rockets, whether dumb and obsolete or not, the rounds will be on target in less than 60 seconds of a fire order. Simultaneous salvo launches of missiles will overwhelm any likely defense and is dramatically cheaper to increase in qty than expand upon cost prohibitive multi-layered ABM defenses. And nothing can possibly neutralize even just the 'obsolete' arty/rockets alone, other than simultaneous detonation of a series of tactical nukes in a pre-emptive strike line-abreast along the Nth side of the DMZ from coast to coast, and even then given the NK redoubts/emplacements built and expanded upon to resist/defeat nuclear weapons starting in the '60's ?

Detailed analysis:

THAAD: What It Can and Can’t Do (38thNorth.org)(PDF)
By Michael Elleman and Michael J. Zagurek, Jr. March 10, 2016

All told, this preliminary analysis of THAAD capabilities indicates that two(+) THAAD batteries are required to defend all of South Korea...

Layered Defenses and Interceptor Efficiency

While two THAAD batteries can be deployed in such a way to cover all of South Korea, an additional critical question is how effective will the system be in destroying incoming missiles. Because THAAD intercepts targets at altitudes above 50 km and is capable of protecting large areas, it ideally complements the lower-tier PAC-3, which protects point targets. In essence, intercepting targets at multiple levels, or tiers, offers more opportunities to succeed and improves intercept efficiency, which is the calculated number of interceptors needed to achieve a specified measure of protection. Interceptor efficiency is governed primarily by the probability an individual interceptor will collide with and destroy a missile or warhead. It is often referred to as the “single-shot probability of kill,” or SSPk. Historically, missile-defense designers at the US Missile Defense Agency have sought to achieve SSPk values of between 0.8 and 0.9, which means a single interceptor should succeed 80 to 90 percent of the time. Recent development and validation testing of THAAD indicate a kill probability of 0.8 is feasible, though design goals and test results may not be replicated under wartime conditions.

...

Some Significant Caveats

While THAAD can provide an important additional capability to protect for South Korea, a critical question is whether Pyongyang’s large missile inventory will afford it opportunities to overwhelm the postulated one-to-two THAAD battery architecture. A single THAAD battery holds a limited number of ready-to-launch interceptors, likely ranging from 48 to 96. Spare interceptors can be stockpiled, though at great expense. This implies that one THAAD battery can defend against 20 and 50 attacking missiles if two interceptors are assigned to each incoming
warhead. If additional interceptors are available, the launch canisters can be reloaded within an hour or so. However, there is no assurance that North Korea would pause firing its missiles to allow THAAD to reload. And given that North Korea has hundreds of Hwasong and Nodong missiles, one can easily recognize how large the defenses would have to be if the mission was to attempt intercepts on all incoming missiles over an extended time. Further, the AN/TPY-2 fire-control radar is limited in terms of the number of objects it can track while also providing updated guidance information to the interceptors in flight. Once again, if North Korea launches more than roughly 20 missiles simultaneously, this would likely saturate the radar, as it would necessarily be tracking 60 objects at once. The precise limitations are classified, though it is clear that if the objective is to blunt large salvos from North Korea, at least two or more THAAD batteries would be required.
Lastly, to protect against missile attacks launched from North Korean territory, all of the PAC-3 and THAAD radars would necessarily be pointed north. If North Korea successfully develops and deploys a submarine-launch ballistic missile, as it has been attempting over the past year or two, the missile defenses discussed above would be ineffective against the missiles fired from the waters east, west and south of the lower Korean peninsula.

Comment: Salvos of 20-50+ missiles from an arsenal of 1000+ will overwhelm any possible ABM defense. Especially if the salvos are fired serially within the space of less than an hour between launches, even under the most ideal and unrealistic, conditions & scenario, as proposed.

The claimed success rate even with two THAAD batteries and multilayered PAC-3 is unrealistic under 'wartime conditions'. Even so, a 90% interception rate means 5 of a 50 missile salvo get thru even under ideal conditions (one salvo only of <=50), under the scenario. This does not consider where the interceptors & missiles then land 'as debris' (warhead + kinetic energy). In reality an interception rate is IMHO far more likely to be somewhere between ~8-90%(probability is towards the lower %), even against just obsolete relatively primitive Scuds only, given past actual performance of Patriot ABM under actual, 'wartime conditions'.

An obsolete Scud launcher usually has 2-3 reloads available, which if pre-fueled ready-to-fire (tho dangerous), can be fired serially in very short order ....

KSA claims not even one Yemeni/Houthi missile has successfully struck a Saudi target, or caused any damage or casualties due to PAC-3 batteries ... separately they decry and condemn the damage and casualties caused by said missiles ... take your pick ... ;)

Successful interception rate against Iraqi Scuds was only ~8% against Kuwaiti/Saudi/Israeli targets, given multi-layered Patriot batteries, dedicated assigned geostationary multi-satellite surveillance, total air supremacy and constant rotating 24hrs/day in theater surveillance overflights as well as multiple CAP strike aircraft flights loitering over Iraq with a reaction time to any possible target of <15Mins ... just sayin'

@ Ghostship

Indeed ... but we should all just nod, smile and trust the likes of Bellingcrap, according to the corporate-controlled MSM, et al.

Posted by: Outraged | May 5, 2017 3:08:55 PM | 20

Outraged@20 Thanks for that comment,Mehdi Hasan has an article up at the intercept where he describes that line abreast nuclear scenario across the DMZ "How many Americans have ever come across Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s unhinged plan to win the war against North Korea in just 10 days? MacArthur, who led the United Nations Command during the conflict, wanted to drop “between 30 and 50 atomic bombs … strung across the neck of Manchuria” that would have “spread behind us … a belt of radioactive cobalt.” Also those claimed [prospective] Thaad intercepts must be pure fiction, similar claims were made about iron dome, until debunked by Professor Theodore Postel MIT who said the iron dome intercept figure was more like just 5%.http://thebulletin.org/evidence-shows-iron-dome-not-working7318

Posted by: harrylaw | May 5, 2017 3:48:02 PM | 21

There is lots of talk on when North Korea will be able to deliver an intercontinental Ballistic missile to the US. According to Jane’s intelligence review the North Koreans have one of the largest submarine fleets in the world, how easy would it be to deliver [no rocket required] their nuclear weapons to Californian ports, or even New York? Duck and cover.

Posted by: harrylaw | May 5, 2017 3:53:27 PM | 22

Regarding the primary thrust of Bernhards excellent post re Reuters ...

Crap data in, crap data out. Foundation level mandatory consideration.

Any data/source must be considered and assessed based on objective & demonstrable accuracy & reliability, and then graded/weighted. The actual content must be carefully parsed re objectivity and perceptions of intentional/unintentional bias &/or intent/motivation. A single data/source must be treated with great care without independent corroboration/validation/references/verification, including alternate/complementary sources/data via other means/methods.

Accepting at face value and extrapolating from a single unreliable/inaccurate/uncorroborated source or block of data, without an appreciation of any of the real-world factors, issues or practices involved, such as the Reuters piece, is sadly now, MSM routine.

Par for the course for our long extinct suborned corporate-controlled MSM 'journalists', especially the likes of Reuters/CNN/NYT/WAPO/TheGuardian/etc re geostrategic & geopolitical 'interests' of the Empire ... now little better than the worst of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty/Radio y Televisión Martí/Voice of America/Alhurra-Radio Sawa/Radio Farda/Radio Free Asia ... almost pure propaganda chaff carefully seeded with a minimum of wheat (a minority of truth, actual facts & objectively valid analysis).

Have noticed a notable recent collective trend among the western MSM starting in the last few weeks is now to refer to such as RT/Sputnik/TASS/Xinhua/CCTV/People's Daily as Kremlin/State controlled media in a derogatory context exclusively, actively and specifically avoiding even mentioning their actual names. Pot-kettle-black, projection much, quite ironic.

@ Posted by: harrylaw | May 5, 2017 3:48:02 PM | 21 & 22

Yup.

NK has a significant and capable sub fleet of ~73 boats ...

ALL means Intel collection/detection/monitoring/analysis of Iraqi Scuds was the Number 1 priority Intel collection task in 14-Eyes/NATO/Coalition forces, above any and all others, at the State/Agency/Military level, worldwide at the time, with 'FLASH' precedence message priority on detection/reporting/dissemination re active detection, targeting & destruction. And the best we could achieve given all the above, was an ~8% interception rate ...

Just like the vast majority of MICC arms projects, ie. F-35/SDI/Zumwalt/etc, or Extended Range Guided Munition 5" shells at a cost of ~$200,000 USD each ! THAAD is probably just another $1Billion USD per battery 'Boondoggle' rort, IMHO ... except maybe for the long-range, deep scan/penetration surveillance radars ;)

Posted by: Outraged | May 5, 2017 4:59:00 PM | 23

b @ 14 said: "Give it ten years and it will have a decent level of living fro most of its people. That indeed may be the reason why the U.S. is so eager to smash it. "

I know karlof1 above has commented on b's comment, but it bears repeating by para-phrasing..

The U$A will brook no other country's competition with their attempt at global hegemony. If any system attempts to bring a quality of life to their people that flies in the face of it's brand of "capitalism", its considered a threat, and is attacked, constantly and overtly. The historical record is clear.

Posted by: ben | May 5, 2017 6:48:45 PM | 24

ben @24--

Thanks for echoing! It's the central point and never discussed by polite people. But history isn't polite whatsoever; it's really rather savage when looked at closely. Perhaps that's why it's not closely studied (/snark).

Of course, being an historian, I'm biased as to its importance, although I'm unpublished formally. So, I'll defer to two writers who often inject history into their writings who just so happen to each have an essay published for the weekend version of Counterpunch: Jason Hirthler writes about the Outlaw US Empire, http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/05/washingtons-blind-ambition-the-monster-in-the-mirror/ and Paul Street writes about history, its uses and the US populace's general ignorance in its importance, http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/05/why-study-history/ Unfortunately, Reuters, AP, UPI, BBC, and the so-called Newspaper of Record within current and former Imperial nations are often unreliable although they were once considered credible original sources--I'm tempted to use the term "Revisionist News Reporting" given the derogatory meaning pinned to revisionist (All history and other writing is revisionist as that's its nature)--as b has shown month after month after month.

But I'm hopeful that rising political awareness throughout the West will necessitate the required rise in historical inquiry in order to change the political calculus as the battle between the Multipolar Alliance and the Unipolar Empire escalates further domestically and overseas. Here's a teaser from Hirthler I hope will spark curiosities:

"U.S. foreign policy is the Ogre, a narcissistic psychopath for whom the mainstream media (MSM) is the mirror it glances in every morning to confirm its noble visage ... At no point is there the slightest trace of self-recognition. All the qualities at the bristling core of the reflected cyclops—the obsession with power, the avarice, the bloodlust, the fearmongering, the compartmentalization, and the blindness—have been projected onto the perceived enemy, who then becomes the perfect replica of the Ogre itself."

Posted by: karlof1 | May 5, 2017 7:36:12 PM | 25

>>>> harrylaw | May 5, 2017 3:53:27 PM | 22
The impact of underwater detonation was dealt with in the Wahoo (9kt - deep water) and Umbrella (8kt - shallow water) tests of Operation Hardtack in 1958. Straight nuclear bombs would not be very effective but thermonuclear would. I also suspect if the central body of the explosion broke the surface, it would make it more effective. Video of the tests is available on YouTube.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 7:39:59 PM | 26

>>>> harrylaw | May 5, 2017 3:53:27 PM | 22
The impact of underwater detonation was dealt with in the Wahoo (9kt - deep water) and Umbrella (8kt - shallow water) tests of Operation Hardtack in 1958. Straight nuclear bombs would not be very effective but thermonuclear would. I also suspect if the central body of the explosion broke the surface, it would make it more effective. Video of the tests is available on YouTube.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 7:39:59 PM | 27

>>>> Marko | May 5, 2017 2:52:08 PM | 18
Thanks for that info.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 5, 2017 8:00:29 PM | 28

@ Posted by: harrylaw | May 5, 2017 3:48:02 PM | 21

To follow-up, the situ with MacArthurs intended destruction of significant Chinese industrial infrastructure and creation of an annihilating 'moat' of atomic bombs is somewhat different to tactical nukes re the NK redoubts/emplacements just Nth of the DMZ (nuclear hardened from the '60's).

By way of brief explanation, some hard operational considerations, actual on the ground realities, relevant timeframes, the MSM does not report ... why there is no practicable civil defense response (other than living in a bunker 24/7) and why the DMZ has not gone HOT for ~67 years now ...

…North Korea has about 5,000 long-range artillery tubes within range of Seoul, and the total rate of fire of these artillery pieces would be between 2,000 and 4,000 rounds per minute. The DPRK’s two hundred 240mm MRLs fire either 12 or 22 rounds, providing a maximum single salvo of no more than 4,400 rounds… These launchers can fire a first strike of many thousands of missiles and return in a few minutes to protected caves or to alternate firing positions. The Arty/MRLs move out from underground facilities (UGFs), fire from preplanned firing positions, and return to the UGFs. Examination of the available data on the UGF sites suggests that a number of possible “exit and return” methods for the MRLs may be possible. In this case, the launchers move directly from the firing points to the UGFs. This procedure makes it difficult to target the launchers, because once they fire it only takes 75 seconds to return to their UGFs...

Source: Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS) - The Military Balance in Korea & Northeast Asia (PDF)
- Author - Anthony H. Cordesman, with the assistance of Charles Ayers, Jan 31 2017 Edition

Comment: The first rounds from those obsolete long-range artillery pieces & MRLs initial salvos will strike their targets <=~60km Sth of the DMZ, US/SK military facilities/assets/formations, and/or targets such as Seoul, in ~45-60 seconds. Expend all rockets on MRLs, fire 1 possibly 2 rounds per 5,000 Arty tubes, and then withdraw into the UGFs. All up ~5Min30Secs for each asset to deploy from, fire, & withdraw back into each UGF. Rinse & repeat. This would be occurring in a staggered, rolling 'wave' like basis all along the line, from coast to coast.

Also, those obsolete Scuds have a maximum flight time to target of ~7Mins from launch.

Now, it takes about ~45-60 seconds for an on station surveillance satellite to detect and verify the first Missile launch or opening Arty/MRL salvo. Takes ~1-2Mins to determine each Scuds probable trajectory, and hence general locale/region of the intended target. The arty/MRL rounds are a whole 'nother matter, but they strike within less than a minute, so you know for sure soon enough. Estimate best case ~3-5Mins as a 'Flash' message to any ABM batteries and the intended targets. Then there is 'reaction time', if on high alert, ~1Min+. So ~6-9Mins, absolute best case advance warning ... the Scuds have likely already struck or hopefully attempted to be independently detected/targeted/engaged by ABM complexes.

Therefore obsolete rounds/rockets are already falling in salvos before any possible advance warning, alert or evacuation possibly being initiated. Same for Scuds. In the case of the Arty/MRLs they've already temporarily withdrawn back into the UGFs by then. US/SK conventional counter-battery fire by arty/MRLs will be largely ineffective. Even in a total air supremacy 'best case' situ with CAP strike aircraft flights loitering on station above the actual NK positions ... by the time the aircraft has setup a run on a target, it has already withdrawn back into the UGF, whilst another nearby has deployed and fired another salvo. Whack-a-mole, 5,000+ of 'em, all the while rounds/rockets keep going down range, along the line.

The scale of destruction & loss of life Sth of the DMZ would be, horrendous.

Hence, the only likely practical 'military' solution would be a string of tactical nukes from coast-to-coast, and even that could not be 100% effective. Pre-emptive or retaliatory. That then results in immediate retaliatory escalation, see MAD.

US/SK have no good 'military' options ...

Posted by: Outraged | May 5, 2017 8:11:06 PM | 29

thanks b.. and thanks to the many posters that make this site so informative and educational.

Posted by: james | May 5, 2017 8:15:58 PM | 30

Those war scenarios are shocking but ignore political aspect of it.

Remember it is the same nation on both sides and hence in fact Americans are there on their own.

In fact even SK military is infiltrated by NK and China so sabotage would be as a frontline weapon may be even mutiny of SK army.
While DMZ will be toasted Seul will be spared except for strategic military targets.

What western propaganda lies cover is that Korea is united, united against Japan and any occupation.
In fact except for US flattening NK With 1000 nukes attack on NK would be a unifying factor since attack would come from Japan.
The horror of Japanese four decades long occupation is a pilar of unified Korea.

In other words war there is counterproductive for US, Japan and would have been futile solving nothing but demonstrating weakness of collapsing American empire.

Posted by: Kalen | May 5, 2017 10:03:21 PM | 31

guess which is the only country indicted by the world court for fragrant violation of FON ?

Thats right, the self appointed FON enforcer in SCS !

http://www.nytimes.com/1984/03/22/world/moscow-holds-us-responsible-for-mines-off-nicaragua-s-ports.html

Posted by: denk | May 5, 2017 10:44:43 PM | 32

flagrant !

Posted by: denk | May 5, 2017 10:49:11 PM | 33

Why am not surprised. Expect the writers in pax-amaericana/angloziolandia /hollywood to be working overtime in the next coming months. Journalism in the west has entered the realms of Reader Digest. sad but true.
Note how the west is relying on more information to sell their narrative from discredited and biased NGO's in order to forward their deluded and dubious narrative. TRUTH JUSTICE AND THE AMERICAN WAY. Should be BY DECEPTION WE MAY WAY WAGE WAR. Mossad credo under their coat of arms. That is the plain truth of the matter. Oh well we the sheeple in the west just keep drinking the Kool-aid.

Posted by: falcemartello | May 5, 2017 11:25:29 PM | 34

Re: North Korea

Surely the only way to start moving towards a solution towards the Korean 'problem' is for the new South Korean President to invite a Chinese military presence in South Korea to replace the American presence.

Is that possible?

Posted by: Julian | May 6, 2017 3:21:54 AM | 35

I wrote this to part comment for Tim Hayward's blog. It's about the HRW reporl...
Part I.

I’ve read the full HRW ‘Death by Chemicals’ report (the one that George Monbiot sees a s slam-dunker), a couple of times now – and it’s pretty clear that it suffers from all of the issues that have been raised with the reporting of both MSF and Amnesty (see Tim Haywards excellent ‘How we were misled on Syria blogs at https://timhayward.wordpress.com): No site visits were conducted – just a series of interviews conducted either in Turkey, over the phone or, and this was a new one for me, text message. All very dubious, all very Al Quds.

However, one thing that does seriously concern, but not surprise, me is that there appears to be something of a slight-of-hand going on with the way HRW is presenting their non-interview based evidence.

This involves the rather coy way in which they described what steps they took to externally validate the content of the videos and pictures. I was particularly interested in this as there have been a number of serious issues raised about the absence of certain symptoms in the images of the victims (see Denis O’Brien’s work at logophere.com).

Here’s how HRW introduce the matter:

“To corroborate information from witnesses, Human Rights Watch reviewed photos and videos posted online and shared directly by witnesses, in particular to see whether clinical signs and symptoms were consistent with witness statements and exposure to chemicals. Keith Ward, an independent expert on the detection and effects of chemical warfare agents, reviewed and assess information about clinical signs and symptoms witness statements, videos, and photos.” (p.10)

And that’s it. At least on the website version (and at least as far as I can see) there then follows almost nothing at all of the results of any of Dr. Ward’s assessments - positive or negative in the HRW report. There are a couple of general remarks about symptoms (of pupil dilation for instance), none of which are attributed to Dr. Ward, but there is nothing at all comprehensive, systematic or definite regarding Dr Ward’s judgement as a whole. I may be missing something from the Appendices, but this surely must ask serious questions of the intention of the authors – they want us to believe that the videos have been expertly corroborated, but offer us no evidence at all that they have been.

There were also no obvious links to any of the credentials of the ‘independent’ Keith Ward. A quick google did show that a Keith Ward has worked with HRW before in a report in Sudan. I think it is almost certain that the Keith Ward in question is one who from 2005 to 2010 was the Chief of the R&D Section of the Chemical and Biological Division within the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate – and whose linkin profile states that his current position is as a ‘Science Advisor’ in Washington for the ‘Federal Government’.

https://www.linkedin.com/in/keith-ward-9a60b716

Of course, I’ve no reason whatsoever to doubt Dr. Ward’s integrity, but to describe someone employed by the US government as ‘independent’ is something of a stretch.


Part II.

I managed to download the pdf version of the HRW report yesterday as well as the appendices and the more I read them, the more it becomes clear what slippery and cynical documents they are.

The, completely un-referenced, description of the effects of sarin in the Appendix are written in such a way as to promote those medical effects that were reported by their interviewees and the ‘early reports’ HRW deign to include, but they appear to gloss-over or completely ignore, those that were not (compare them to the work of Denis O’Brien at www.logophere.com).

Even in this limited context, there is no case-by-case assessment of the reported symptoms presented – nothing at all to suggest the outcome of the analysis which was stated to have occurred in their Methodology.

FWIW, I can now confidently state that HRW have offered NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER that they have corroborated the symptoms exhibited by the victims in any of the videos and images they mention as being due to sarin exposure.

So I thought I’d have a look at their evidence from the bomb fragments, this must have been weighty given than in their Methodology they state:
:

“Human Rights Watch also obtained photos and videos of remnants of the munitions used in the attacks. Specialists in weapons identification and chemical weapons inside and outside the organization analysed the remnants. “ (p.10)

They first try to let it slip by that they haven’t actually got any photographic evidence for 3 of the 4 warplane-dropped ‘attacks’, but then, guess what? In the context of the KS incident, HRW present NO EVIDENCE WHATSOEVER of the outcomes of these expert analyses. Absolutely BUGGER ALL.

The evidence that they do bother to provide from images of bomb fragments is limited to a couple of tweets that identify a similarity with some Russian bombs (which they then cynically proceed to shoehorn in on this basis alone) and, surprise, surprise, a couple of links to Bellingcat.

Of the KS incident in general they state “Human Rights Watch has reviewed dozens of photos and videos of the crater at Impact Site 1 posted online and provided directly to Human Rights Watch by people who took them.” (p28), but their references point only to those already available – either via social media from the ‘first responders’ or (you’ve guess it) Bellingcat. They make similar claims to have inspected other material elsewhere in the report – and in some cases have included references to videos or audio ‘held by Human Rights Watch’ - they do not, however, provide ANY links to these or any comment on their expert analyses (so they could, you know, be bullshit)..


[If you get the chance, I seriously recommend you read the introduction to the section “III. Warplane-Delivered Munitions’ – it’s a masterpiece of whatever the name is of the rhetorical device when arguments are made for two tenuous propositions – in this case that bombs were dropped from planes and that the bombs contained sarin - by jumbling them both together in such a way as to magically prove both. I thought it might be ‘begging the question’, but isn’t that a more appropriate term for calling all of these alleged incidents ‘attacks’? HRW seem happy to do so throughout].

As for the list of the victims, here’s how they refer to them in the main body of the text: “Human Rights Watch
has identified 159 people who reportedly died in the four attacks from chemical
exposure. Hundreds were injured.” (p.20).

And from the Appendix :”The fatality list was compiled by an activist from the Syrian Revolution Coordination Committee and many names were
corroborated by local residents who spoke to Human Rights Watch.”

So nothing other than interviews then – no matching of any of them with the autopsies for instance.

Elsewhere the bullshit continues…

On numerous occasions they report the UN OPCW report that concluded Syrian Government use of chlorine as corroborating their findings, but fail to mention that, despite the headlines, that report found a significant amount of evidence of CW attacks being staged by opposition forces.

They repeatedly state that they (HRW) concluded that the Syrian Government were responsible for the 2013 Ghota massacre, but despite mentioning the UN report, fail to mention that the OPCW did not come to that conclusion – or that much of the evidence HRW themselves provided has since been shown to be codswallop.

HRW also state that just 2 alternative theories for KS have been presented - that a Syrian/Russian bomb hit an ammunition depot releasing the gas, or that armed groups detonated a chemical munition on the ground. HRW say that they have not found any evidence for these – but they have offered no evidence that they actually considered or investigated the latter option.

They also fail to consider a fourth option – that hostages and/or locals were gassed either on site or nearby and moved there to be filmed – and the number of victims may not have been as numerous as reported by the ‘Civil Response’ or local groups (names provided or not). This alternative has been posited for the 2013 Ghouta massacre (where there is still no evidence of the bodies of the hundreds reported killed) and has been for the KS incident too - it is highly unlikely that HRW were not aware of it.

So what exactly is left of the HRW report? It’s the selective and mostly uncorroborated accounts of a number of opposition activists, ‘local journalists’, ‘first responders’ and a smattering of locals all arranged by, or piped through, the usual, hugely partisan sources. It’s numerous links to Bellingcat as honest purveyors of truth. It’s suggested, but never actually provided, expert assessment. It’s a series of sly linguistic tricks meant to obscure the limited nature of the evidence upon which it stands.

It is, as Tim Hayward would put it, bullshit.

Posted by: Adrian D. | May 6, 2017 4:58:02 AM | 36

@19
What is a leppo?

I had a look at the piracy and Law of the Sea on the UN site. Where I assumed that interdiction of a trading vessel - hindering its' passage and causing economic loss would be piracy, the law of the sea doesn't call it piracy if these actions are done for political reasons.

Posted by: bolt | May 6, 2017 5:31:33 AM | 37

@31
Good point, but when did the US show any interest in the long term outcomes of its interventions.

@36
Theodore Postel has an update for his analysis of the CW incident and the French attempt to muddy the waters by conflating two incidents and claiming certainty where there is doubt. Lots of interesting comments from chemists too.

Posted by: bolt | May 6, 2017 5:54:27 AM | 38

My method of analysis includes the following procedures:

1) Ruthlessly weed out obviously fake sources like "Human Rights Watch".
2) Make merely vague mental notes of about half of the data points that I could otherwise tediously catalog.
3) Form a probabilistic assessment based on the vague mental notes plus the recorded and accepted data points.

Right now I fear what might happen next is that the Russians will shoot down U.S. drones over North Korea.

Posted by: blues | May 6, 2017 7:23:12 AM | 39

@36 adrian d.. thanks for the post. as others have mentioned here numerous times ( in my own terms)- human rights watch is a full time member on the branch of the usa propaganda system... the usa/uk both made available financial incentives for war on syria propaganda, and this is one of the outlets..

Posted by: james | May 6, 2017 10:24:17 AM | 40

While trying to read about Chomsky and his supposed problems with the left, I came across a two-part article on Al Araby, a website for Al Araby Al-Jadeed, an allegedly "progressive pan-Arab media outlet headquartered in London" which appears to be funded by Qatari money. The second part of the article, "Chomsky and the Syria revisionists" featured a picture captioned as "Residents of Khan Sheikhun protest against a regime chemical weapons attack, 7 April 2017 [AFP]". One would assume that most of the male and some of the female population of Khan Shaykhoun would turn out for such a protest, but there seem to be less than fifty people present, all males and mostly of military age with at least one "finger pointer". According to Wikipedia, Khan Shaykhoun was supposed to currently have a population of about 48,975 (sourced from tiptopglobe.com), but that number has been deleted recently. So where are the other 48,925 people? Did they not protest because they don't oppose the Assad government and don't hold it responsible for the chemical attacK? Or is that photo of the entire male population of Khan Shaykhoun?

BTW, the author of the article is Muhammad Idrees Ahmad and the photographer is Omar Haj Kadour, two names that are familiar.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 6, 2017 7:23:01 PM | 41

>>>>Ghostship | May 6, 2017 7:23:01 PM | 41
The first part of the article by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, "Chomsky and the Syria revisionists: Regime whitewashing" can be found here.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 6, 2017 7:46:47 PM | 42

>>>>Ghostship | May 6, 2017 7:23:01 PM | 41
The first part of the article by Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, "Chomsky and the Syria revisionists: Regime whitewashing" can be found here.

Posted by: Ghostship | May 6, 2017 7:46:47 PM | 43

Just an aside, for those talking about the quality of life in North Korea:

Part of the reason life sucks so much in these countries versus the rest of the world (or even the places just around its borders) is because it is starved of energy. Even though they have coal exports, it is not as useful to NK because so much of it's infrastructure needs oil (esp diesel). Agriculture in NK is done on such hilly/mountainous terrain, and to plow and till those fields you need to run these tractors and other equipment that runs on diesel and cannot be run off a power grid.

Those sanctions have crippled NK. I know most of you are aware of that, but in this context it might shed some light for some. Starving it of fuel imports has been absolutely horrendous, even in light of coal production. And we blame the autocrat for starving his people.

Posted by: George Smiley | May 6, 2017 8:08:32 PM | 44

@44 george smiley.. in went thru a phase the past year of reading a number of wendell berry books.. he is an agriculture type guy, who is also into writing, discussing environmental issues and etc etc. he talks about the perils of agri biz... one of the things that happened along the way was a concerted effort to get rid of the small farm and replace it with technology - big tractors dependent on fossil fuel and etc. etc.. so many things are wrong with big agra, and berry has a talent for articulating a lot of it. i don't exactly know how this fits into north koreas situation, but i recall berry discussing his time in peru on the hilltops in the 70's being amazed at how the peruvians were able to do so much without the aid of much in the way of farming and that would include any reliance of fossil fuel.. i suspect, but i don't know, that the north koreas are fairly industrious people and have figured out a way to make it work.. i also imagine they are a lot less susceptible to famine then we in the west are - allowing we are completely oblivious to this in our over reliance on big agribusiness... one day we will wake up and take back our connection to the land.. for now we are a rootless culture busy speculating one where to make the next buck.. well - that is me simplifying it..

Posted by: james | May 6, 2017 8:38:09 PM | 45

i had heard the usa-south korea time these military exercises at the same time the north koreans need to focus on agriculture - in order words, right when the farmers and workers need to be in the field attending to important business is when these major military exercises are done.. i am sure that is just a funny coincidence as one can't imagine the usa having a negative agenda of interfering with such an important cycle as others having to look after there food needs? i am being sarcastic..

Posted by: james | May 6, 2017 8:41:22 PM | 46

A funny thing happened last week.
The Yankee's North Korea wet dreams went up in (rocket) smoke with the latest (post SK election) North Korean ICBM test. According to Zio Jazeera today the missile, which landed in the sea ~750 km from its launch site, reached an altitude of 2,110 km in doing so. An 'expert' said that such a trajectory translates to practical range of 5000 to 7000 km if deployed as an ICBM.

If all that is true then Kim isn't as silly as the Yankees wish he could be. Firing a long-range missile on a trajectory which presents a half-assed 750 km range to the Public, but a 5000+ km range to the Boffins capable of tracking it, is a clever way to 'send a message' to the Christian Colonial Clowns.

This makes it virtually impossible for Clusterfucks R Us to conduct an unprovoked military strike on North Korea because, as the instigator, C.R.U. will be seen as directly responsible for the death and destruction in SK, NK and Japan which would ensue if NK is attacked for some dopey AmeriKKKan "precautionary" reason.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 15, 2017 3:14:44 PM | 47

Kudos, b, on your excellent (opening) contribution to SST's North Korea 'Faster Than Expected' Missile Development thread. I quite enjoyed Colonel Lang's retort too - especially the "How much risk do you think we imperialist Americans should accept" bit.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 16, 2017 2:34:41 PM | 48

i 2nd @48 hoarsewhisperer's comment... pat lang is being disingenuous, unable to admit the usa needs to get the fuck out of dodge as if they cared about the non proliferation treaty..

Posted by: james | May 16, 2017 2:51:54 PM | 49

Wow! Pat Lang comes across as a True Believer in all that cockamamie Exceptionalist horseshit which the US Military indoctrinated him with. It's hard to have a conversation with someone whose default preparation gambit is to stick his fingers in his ears...
The insularity in this comment in response to a rational proposition, at #40-something, is breathtaking (my bold).

turcopolier said...

b

As you must know I am not a believer in the ability of strategic bombing to determine the outcome of wars through intimidation of civilians, but in this case the objective would be to destroy a specific group of targets connected to the NoKo nuclear weapons and missile programs. That is quite different and, yes, IMO the US has the targeting data for the vast majority of these targets. DIA in particular will have been constructing target packages on related targets for a very long time and we have the means to do a good job on that. Wht would be left after a couple of thousand sorties might still have some residual value but, IMO, not much. As I wrote a day or so ago, the NoNos have not yet demonstrated the ability to hit anything with a missile other than the Sea of Japan. If they had a primitive nuc weapon post the US onslaught I suppose they could load it onto a cargo aircraft or a commercial ship and go somewhere with it. south Korea is more likely to take a frightful beating from conventional forces. pl
Reply 17 May 2017 at 08:30 AM

Still, at least he allows opinions with he disagrees to be expressed, which is a lot more than can be said of the MSM.

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | May 17, 2017 1:51:58 PM | 50

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