Posted by: Lister | April 26, 2008

Syria and North Korea

Glenn Greenwald points to a lack of skepticism from some of the media reporting America’s recent claims.

The one “smoking gun” photograph from the video — the alleged North Korean head of that country’s reactor fuel plant standing in Syria (in a sweat suit) posing next to the head of the Syrian Atomic Energy Commission — seems to raise more questions than it resolves:

korea and syria

If two countries are engaged in a highly covert and nefarious program to build nuclear weapons, are their leading nuclear officials really going to pose together outdoors for a smiling, casual, tourist-like photograph?

[…] the whole episode reminds one of Howard Dean’s prescient reaction to the Colin Powell U.N. slideshow, which Dean delivered in a speech on Febraury 17, 2003 at Drake University:

Secretary Powell’s recent presentation at the UN showed the extent to which we have Iraq under an audio and visual microscope. Given that, I was impressed not by the vastness of evidence presented by the Secretary, but rather by its sketchiness.

Beyond all of this, there are all sorts of motives for the administration to exaggerate or outright fabricate these accusations.

Syria says America was involved, but doesn’t detail how.

Greenwald points out that one of the things the reporting does is imply that the attack would be justified if the allegations were true. But, if the allegations were true, then the evidence should have been given to the IAEA and an investigation begun. Some of the evidence is quite old.

The BBC says:

Perhaps mindful of the mistakes of the past, the ten-minute video released by the Bush administration in an effort to prove the Syria-North Korea connection is less ambitious and more focussed. [Than Colin Powell’s UN presentation on Iraqi WMDs].

It uses still images which, it is claimed, were taken inside the facility during its construction.

There is of course no independent way to verify this.

But an initial analysis suggests that the pictures show a gas-cooled graphite moderated reactor of a very similar type to the North Korean model at Yongbyon.

Text of the Dana Perino’s statement.

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