Pyongyang: Cheonan was false-flag sinking
By Kim Myong Chol
(an "unofficial" spokesman of Kim Jong-il and North Korea)
With a huge electronic intelligence-gathering machine at its disposal, the
Chinese Navy keeps a close watch on the movements of the United States Navy in
the West Sea (Yellow Sea). China's emerging blue-sea navy is confronted with
the US Seventh Fleet across the West Sea, the East China Sea and the rest of
It is no wonder then that the Chinese navy's intelligence arm could piece
together an accurate account of the sinking of the South Korean corvette Cheonan
with a loss of 46 lives in the early hours of March 26.
The Chinese findings may be one of the reasons why the Chinese
government has refused to support American and South Korean demand to join in
sanctions against North Korea.
Their leakage indicates that despite its present neutrality, less prudent
American or South Korean behavior may well prompt the Chinese government to
have the navy make a bombshell official announcement implicating the US Navy.
In a highly significant development, the Chinese navy took the extraordinary
step of quietly letting two American Internet sites know the findings of an
independent technical assessment its naval intelligence arm made of the
corvette's sinking, which took place about 1 nautical mile (1.9 kilometers) off
the south-west coast of Baengnyeong Island in the Yellow Sea.
One of the US websites was the Washington-based investigative Wayne Madsen
Report , while the other was New America Media, a California-based website
that is the US's largest coalition of ethnic media with over 2,500 partners
New America Media posted an article on May 26, "Did an American Mine Sink South
Korean Ship?". The Madsen Report article, dated May 28, was entitled "Beijing
Suspects False Flag Attack on South Korean Corvette."
The NAM story said: "In the recent US-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."
The two articles basically agreed that a US mine ripped the Cheonan in
two and sent the hapless South Korean corvette down to Davy Jones' locker. But
they differed in two key aspects; one was the type of the mine used in the
friendly-fire attack - limpet or rising - and the other was the nature of the
friendly fire, deliberate or inadvertent.
These differences are probably due to Chinese-English translations,
identification of the blast or analysis of the motivations behind the incident
among Chinese experts.
The New America Media story identified the mine as a rising mine for shallow
water operations, calling its launch "an inadvertent release" of a
torpedo-firing mine. Rising mines lie on or under the sea floor and are
equipped with acoustic sensors so it can rise and explode if a ship or
submarine passes within range.
The Chinese term for a torpedo-mine is a "rising mine" and "rocket mine" and
the American "captor mine" (MK60 Captor or encapsulated torpedo for deep-water
operations) and "mobile mine" (MK67 for shallow water use).
The NAM article did not see any political purpose in the friendly fire but
stressed that "any attempt to falsify evidence and engage in a media cover-up
for political purposes constitutes tampering, fraud, perjury and possibly
In striking contrast, the Madsen Report version classified the culprit as a
limpet mine, as the name suggests attached to a target by magnets, and defined
the friendly fire as "a covert program" deliberately intended to be "a
false-flag attack designed to appear as coming from North Korea".
The MS report made a stunning revelation: "A [US Navy] SEALS diver attached a
magnetic mine to the Cheonan, as part of a covert program aimed at
influencing public opinion in South Korea, Japan and China."
The Yomiuri Shimbun reported on May 30 that a morning phone call from US
President Barack Obama two days earlier had induced the reluctant Japanese
Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, who resigned on Wednesday, to keep US Marine
Corps air bases in Okinawa and dismiss Mizuho Fukushima, the Social Democratic
Party leader, from a cabinet post.
The MS report made the following observation:
One of the main purposes
for increasing tensions on the Korean Peninsula was to apply pressure on
Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama to reverse course on moving the US
Marine Corps base off Okinawa. Hatoyama has admitted that the tensions over the
sinking of the Cheonan played a large part in his decision to allow the
US Marines to remain on Okinawa. Hatoyama's decision has resulted in a split in
the ruling center-left coalition government, a development welcome in
Washington, with Mizuho Fukushima, the Social Democratic Party, leader
threatening to bolt the coalition over the Okinawa reversal.
MS report wrote: "Beijing, satisfied with North Korea's Kim Jong-il's claim of
innocence after a hurried train trip from Pyongyang to Beijing, suspects the US
Navy's role in the Cheonan's sinking, with particular suspicion on the
role of the [USNS] Salvor."
The two American stories wrote that Chinese naval intelligence based their
suspicions on the following facts:
Fact One: Baengnyeong Island hosts a Secret Joint US-South Korean
Naval Base for anti-submarine warfare (ASW) operations. Absent civilian traffic
around it, "the noiseless conditions are near-perfect for picking up the
slightest agitation, for example from a torpedo and any submarine that might
fire it". The joint US-South Korean naval base is staffed by American and South
Korean naval special operation force personnel.
Fact Two: An Aegis ship-led US flotilla was operating in the
South Korean waters in question at the time of the sinking of the South Korean
Fact Three: The US flotilla included a mine-laying USNS Savor,
stationed close to Baengnyeong Island.
Contrary to the belief that the ship was under the command of the Seventh
Fleet, the NAM story noted that the USNS Salvor was "controlled by the
innocuous-sounding Military Sealift Command and is 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."
Fact Four: The US Navy SEALs "maintains a sampling of European
torpedoes for sake of plausible deniability for false-flag attacks. Also,
Berlin does not sell torpedoes to North Korea, however, Germany does maintain a
close joint submarine and submarine weapons development program with Israel."
Chinese findings carry clout
The Chinese findings goes a long way to explaining why Obama made an April 1
phone call to offer South Korean President Lee Myung-bak the privilege of
hosting in Seoul in 2012 a second of the then nuclear summit to be held in
Washington April 12. (See
See Pyongyang sees a US role in Cheonan sinking, Asia Times Online, May
The offer was aimed at appeasing the embarrassed South Korean premier into
covering up the truth of the US friendly fire sinking of the corvette, in a bid
to prevent a tsunami-like nationwide eruption of anti-American sentiments and
the resulting massive opposition to the US bases in South Korea and Japan.
South Korea is in no way fit to host such a a nuclear summit. Any one of the
nuclear powers such as Russia, China, the United Kingdom and France should have
been invited to host this dialogue's second event.
The Chinese findings illustrate once again that two presidents, Obama and Lee,
have no care for human lives and show that Lee wept crocodile tears over the
death of his fellow countrymen sailors, using their loss to become a "a
favorite man of Obama" in the words of US Vice President Joseph Biden.
The Chinese findings also explain why US Forces Korea Commander General Walter
Sharp unexpectedly attended the April 3 funeral of a South Korean rescue diver,
Han Ju Ho, who died while participating in the search for missing sailors from
the corvette. Sharp was seen consoling the bereaved family in an unprecedented
expression of sympathy.
Han Ju Ho was called a legendary veteran member of the South Korean underwater
demolition team that took part in the covert ASW program of the joint US-South
Korean base on Baengnyeong Island.
Now it is obvious why the US envoy in Seoul, Kathleen Stephens, and Sharp went
out of their way on April 7 to fly to a South Korean amphibious landing ship to
have a look at search and rescue operations for the sunken corvette.
The two pledged total support to the rescue operations, but as it turned out,
the Americans showed how little the lives of South Korean soldiers matter to
the US. South Korean troops are useful to the Americans as their cannon fodder,
nothing more and nothing less.
The pro-American conservative South Korean daily Chosun Ilbo on April 1
wondered why the US SEALs aboard the USNS Savor did not join the South
Koreans in the search and rescue operation as of March 31.
The daily expressed what it termed as "speechless" dismay at the refusal to
dive by US SEALs who cited fast currents, low underwater temperatures, and deep
waters, while the South Korean rescue team was left to struggle alone all the
day against heavy odds.
The Los Angeles Times reported from Seoul May 28 on the South Korean public
skepticism to the May 20 final forensic report on the sinking of the corvette:
Younger South Koreans "see the Cheonan incident in less threatening
terms. They contend that for all its bluster, North Korea is not an existential
threat to their country. And they are suspicious of the motives of a
conservative government they regard as descendants of the military regimes that
ruled South Korea before it became a democracy in the 1980s."
"The government is lying," a 17-year-old high school student, Kim Da-yeon told
the newspaper, wearing a Beatles T-shirt over her plaid school uniform, as her
friends nodded with enthusiasm.
"The girls had stumbled on the demonstration in front of City Hall on a day off
from school and picked Korean flags, but they said in unison that they didn't
agree with the anti-North Korean sentiment. "The North Koreans are our friends,
our family," they said, according to the newspaper report. "We don't want to