Independent Media as Mouthpiece for Centers of Power

Proffering Mass Murder as Attention Getting

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. ((Kim Petersen, “Dispelling the Murkiness of the Corporate Media: The Real News,” Dissident Voice, 3 July 2008.))

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.” ((Steven R. Weisman, “U.S. Weighs Reward if North Korea Scraps Nuclear Arms,” 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,” Reuters, 20 April 2010.)) — it is not surprising what kind of response TRNN and Jay received from Powell’s subordinate.

TRNN claims to provide “independent and uncompromising journalism.” ((“Our Mission,” TRNN.)) 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? ((There is a long history of manufactured pretexts by US regimes and media. See Kim Petersen, “Grasping at Straws: Searching for a War Pretext,” Dissident Voice, 4 March 2003.))

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. ((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.)) Korean history expert Bruce Cumings described the Americans’ decision to divide Korea at the thirty eighth parallel as “hasty and unilateral.” ((Ibid, 187.))

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. ((Ibid, 221.))

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 DPRK 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 expenditure to its security?

Amazingly, Wilkerson acknowledged that South Korea would surely defeat North Korea in a military scenario. What 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 is not only a buffer between North Korea and 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 sell 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 the US? It has a long history of trying to knock down socialist governments. ((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).))

Is it fair to state without conclusive, publicly scrutinizable 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? ((I never received a response from TRNN to my queries before this article being published.))

Kim Petersen is an independent writer. He can be emailed at: kimohp at Read other articles by Kim.

30 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. Melissa said on May 27th, 2010 at 9:19pm #

    Standing ovation, Kim.

    Not wishing to be so demanding . . . but a girl’s gotta try . . . continue to teach us how to read, question, and flirt with critical thinking with more great articles like this. I need that. I suspect that many out there need that.

    I wonder if journalists and other authors did some of that critical thinking hand-holding, intensively, deliberately, if they might re-educate, teach the art of thinking. Information closer to reality on a particular issue is merely the icing on the cake here; the true benefits of waking our brains and spirits to do that cognitive work for ourselves would be like an that of an innoculation giving lifetime immunity against the shit we accept, without question or pause, as journalism and reportage.

    Anyway, thanks. I enjoyed that, and it was very effective.

    Oh yeah, that false flag possibility, and who benefits, are definitely on the table. Definitely.


  2. bozh said on May 28th, 2010 at 10:20am #

    “Independent media”? Well, i don’t think so! The label “interdependent media” depicts reality.
    The privately owned-media is as interdependent as is WH, cia, fbi, army, congress, judiciary, etc.
    All of it is privately-owned; it is all one ball of skein! A privately-paid collumnist can be more rightwing than an owned politico.

    In fact, the entire US is privately-owned; there are no collective nonprofit ownership, as far as i know, of most important assets.

    As a wise person said: To be is to be related. Media is related to the judiciary, WH and vice versa.
    Thus media will always put out exactly what congress-WH wld put out to it or vice versa. It is all one big happy family; united against fiercely ‘independent’ individuals. tnx

  3. Don Hawkins said on May 28th, 2010 at 10:28am #

    It is all one big happy family not to sure of the happy part Bozh as it seems the last year or so the one’s I see for maybe 15 minutes seem increasingly unhappy and a tad bit nut’s. Remember at least when insane you expect a different result when nut’s you do the same over and over as creation is destroyed and don’t expect a different result. Oh that’s not true oh yes it is.

  4. MichaelKenny said on May 28th, 2010 at 10:55am #

    “Independent” media are not really independent. Somebody, somewhere owns and finances them and that somebody calls the shots to the extent, and in the way, they choose to. That seems so obvious, I just wonder why anyone would write an article about it!

  5. Kim Petersen said on May 28th, 2010 at 11:53am #

    “’Independent’ media are not really independent.” — MichaelKenny

    Dear MichaelKenny,

    Why you so frequently post non sequiturs as comments is beyond me. As partially in quoted in the article: “The Real News Network is a television news and documentary network focused on providing independent and uncompromising journalism.”

    If you read further on the TRNN website, they explain: “We are viewer supported and do not accept advertising, government or corporate funding.”

    So, to explain it you, “independent” means that TRNN is viewer funded; theoretically, the viewer influences the news rather than corporations or government. Hence, TRNN does not rely on corporate or government funding; i.e., it is “independent” of corporate or government funding.

    That seems so obvious, I just wonder why anyone would post a comment about it!

  6. Robert Simms said on May 28th, 2010 at 12:24pm #

    “TRNN presents Wilkerson’s assertions without challenge. In other words, it serves as a mouthpiece for the US government.” I’m with MichaelKenny: “(This) seems so obvious, I just wonder why anyone would write an article about it!”

    Yet Kim Petersen is surprised by MichaelKenny’s comments. She says “(TRNN is) “independent” of corporate or government funding.” Sorry, Kim. Nothing on TV is ‘”independent” of corporate or government funding.”‘ That’s the reality. Many years ago, corporations like ADM began sponsoring the News Hour on PBS. That’s when I permanently gave up watching TV.

    In the 1960s, the term ‘boob tube’ came into existence. The term was meant to characterize people who were watching TV as boobs. If you still didn’t understand the purpose of TV by the time converter boxes for analog TV were being pushed by the government, and if you still don’t get it that ALL TV sucks (on purpose), then you are a misguided and foolish person.

  7. bozh said on May 28th, 2010 at 12:25pm #

    I agree, “one big happy family” is misleading. One large criminal, greedy gang; akin to any mafioso gang, describes reality much better.
    To boot, addicted to power, alcohol, drugs, viagra, golf [the stupidest and most irritating game one cld invent], waging wars-poverty {yes, that too, and not to mention stupidity}, sillycoms, mansions, gowns, jewelry, churches, sex, etc.

    And it is all my fault since i abandoned god 1, 2, and 3 and switched to god-devil7xy.
    As u know, don, u can’t separate {on living level} god from devil. And having trns of them, we have a huge mess on our hands with only 3 people in the world working for better world: u, me, and angelina! tnx

  8. Melissa said on May 28th, 2010 at 12:44pm #

    For Robert Simms,

    I think that Kim is not a she, and while I’m not 100% sure, I believe that The Real News Network is NOT on the boob tube.

    I believe the “video based media entrant” is an internet news site exclusively. I might be wrong, I encourage you to check it out for yourself. I think you might actually find you like TRNN, it does better than PBS and NPR, hands down.

    As always,
    Peace, Resistance, Hope,

  9. Melissa said on May 28th, 2010 at 12:50pm #

    Hmmm. But it does say it is television news and documentary network.

    Where? Cable? Canada?

    I’ve only seen it via computer.

  10. Kim Petersen said on May 28th, 2010 at 1:13pm #

    Thanks Melissa. I am glad someone bothers to check on my gender and not assume it incorrectly. TRNN is only online now; the plan, I believe, is to go to cable and TV.

  11. Kim Petersen said on May 28th, 2010 at 1:03pm #

    Robert Simms,
    With all due respect, if you cannot distinguish between video and boob tube, and if all you can muster is assertion and ad hominem, then I leave it to the readership to decide what is compelling and who is “misguided and foolish.”

  12. Deadbeat said on May 28th, 2010 at 2:21pm #

    This isn’t the first time TRNN failed to report all sides. TRNN exhibited biased towards the so-called “Green Revolution” in Iran and offered little to no background of the U.S. role in overthrow of Mossedegh in 1953 as well as [Zionist] desires in the West to see Ahmadinejad deposed.

    While TRNN promotes itself as being “independent” of government and corporate money there needs to be further scrutiny of the private money they receive.

    For example, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! was especially aggitated during the height of the Madoff scandal of the “[Jewish] foundations” that lost money and the resulting fallout of donations to “charities” to “organizations” like her own. Why would Goodman be concerned about this? As James Petras wrote at the time Madoff perhaps did more to setback Zionism than any [lack of] action from the left.

    The point here is that needs to be more scrutiny of WHO are the donors to these outfits that are positioning themselves as “alternatives”. The Left has been led down an extremely crooked road these past 40 years following the so-called “greatest living intellectual.” That experience should have taught us to maintain OUR independence and not allow anyone to think for us.

  13. Hue Longer said on May 28th, 2010 at 4:26pm #

    Kim, have you considered doing this as an open letter or maybe a MediaLense style email exchange? I’d enjoy their responses if any

    Concerning TRNN’s failures it may not be sinister but rather victims perpetuating what they have learned as normal. Certain things never occur to people waking up from their lifelong nap while other things do—even if those things are contradictory.

    Noam Chomsky once described how many people in the media business were not aware of what they were pushing…and these guys trying to do clean may not have a clue as to what you’re telling us (heheh, i love referencing that guy here)

    I watched the show once and my only thought was why it needed to be visual…copying the formula of image making propaganda seems like a bad idea

    Cheers for the piece

  14. Kim Petersen said on May 28th, 2010 at 6:14pm #

    Hue, I did pose questions to TRNN, but they never responded. I had also approached TRNN about their tendentious reporting of the Green Revolution in Iran. They never responded then either.

  15. Rehmat said on May 28th, 2010 at 6:00pm #

    Amira Hass: “A remarkable failure for a journalist”

  16. Robert Simms said on May 28th, 2010 at 9:14pm #

    OK, TRNN is not yet on TV. I should have paid more attention.

    The problem for me is the overwhelming amount of news that is becoming available to us 24/7. Most of it is biased, but I don’t see that as the major problem. For me, the questions are: how much news on a particular topic do we really need in order to make an informed decision? Can we become so overloaded with the steady stream of analysis and propaganda that we are unable to make a decision? Can a new and improved (and supposedly unbiased) news source guide us toward making better decisions? I think not.

    For example, do we really need to read more pundit analyses and ‘breaking news’ about the oil volcano in the Gulf in order to understand – how it happened, the coverups, who’s to blame, the severity of the problem and what needs to be done with regard to future oil drilling and exploration? We already know. We already know what Obama is all about. We already know what Congress is all about. And we already know what corporations are all about.

    When do we stop searching for ‘new’ information and begin the difficult task of disrupting the military-industrial-congressional complex from causing further destruction of our planet and its peoples? When do we start ACTING on what we already know, instead of just talking more about it?

  17. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 12:40am #

    “We already know. We already know what Obama is all about. We already know what Congress is all about. And we already know what corporations are all about.”

    I notice the significant absence of israel and zionism there. Considering their profound control of the american guv and multinational finances, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to discern what’s really bugging “Robert Simms” about this article. A rather pathetic strawman attempt, the israelis really are scraping the bottom of the barrel now. 😀

  18. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 12:41am #

    That is a fantastic article. This is how media criticism should be done. Most of the points I wanted to bring up about trnn have already been addressed. But there is one thing I can add about trnn’s fronting as a progressive/alternate site. The way trnn hard sold the israeloamerican “green color coup” attempt in Iran is what killed them as a progressive source for news in my mind. That was a spectacularly disgraceful show of marketing ziofascist war crimes on trnn’s part. Particularly grotesque was paul jay’s behaviour on an interview with F. W. Engdahl where he attacked Engdahl’s intelligent expose of that coup attempt with ziofascist propaganda talking points. Contrast this with his acceptance of this wilkerson’s obvious propaganda (note that in another trnn interview with Engdahl, jay praised wilkerson – apparently, it’s love ;D ). The difference is Engdahl expressed views opposing the israeloamerican propaganda line and wilkerson reinforced that line. As you can see, paul jay knew exactly who to oppose and who to support.

    Full Spectrum Dominance and Iran Pt2

  19. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 12:43am #

    It’s also good to see some intelligent questions asked about this ship’s sinking. Neither the Russians or the Chinese are buying this “report” blaming North Korea:

    “Responsibility for stating that evidence points to the conclusion “overwhelmingly” rests entirely with the authors of the document. The key peace of evidence cited is a fragment of a torpedo propeller – somehow recovered at the final phase of the investigation – with a marking which reads “No. 1” and matches a N. Korean torpedo found 7 years ago in the Yellow Sea. Considering that the blast was allegedly caused by a torpedo carrying a net explosive weight of 250 kg, investigators must have been remarkably lucky to find the right fragment with the marking implicating N. Korea. The marking, which is the sole indication of the country of origin of the torpedo, could of course look exactly the same on a South Korean torpedo.

    The commission is churning out new facts and details evidently meant to shatter one`s imagination. Reportedly, several N. Korean mini-subs and a mother-ship left the country`s unspecified naval base in the Yellow Sea 2-3 days before the incident, headed for an unknown destination, and returned 2-3 days after the incident. Though the subs had to be maneuvering in a heavily monitored zone near the maritime border between the Koreas, their routes had not been tracked as they managed to evade radars. The version contradicts the previous US claim that satellite and acoustic reconnaissance showed no signs of presence of any N. Korean ships or subs in the region of the Cheonan sinking.

    The spin-off of the version offered by the report commenced immediately upon its being circulated, and there is a distinct impression that the developments are following an a priori blueprint. The White House endorsed the commission`s conclusions implicating N. Korea and condemned “the act of aggression” in a statement made available almost synchronously with the report. Even earlier, US President B. Obama talked to S. Korean President Lee Myung-bak over the phone and agreed that all contacts with N. Korea should be suspended until it becomes clear what caused the tragedy and who perpetrated the attack. Japan, the country espousing greater pressure on N. Korea and its international isolation as a universal approach, also expressed full support for Seoul in no way assessing the data collected by the investigation.”

    The Conundrum of the South Korean Corvette (I) 25.05.2010

  20. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 12:45am #

    This article (above) raises an interesting issue that a usn sub also sank. That seems unlikely now, given the time passed and covering up such a loss would be impossible now since family members of the sub’s crew would be wondering where their Johnny was. But the 3rd bouy dives are something to wonder about. What were they doing there, when the ship’s halves were known to be elsewhere. And why were these dives such a priority over that of the Korean ship? I’ve seen a lot of commentary that an israeli sub may have torpedoed the Korean ship. That also seems a stretch, given the distance Korea is from israel, though not impossible. The israelis certainly have motivation to stage a falseflag against North Korea. The connection here is the German made subs the israelis own, and their presumably German made torpedoes. It’s been reported the “torpedo” used to sink the Cheonan was of German make. It’s much more plausible, I think, that a u.s.n. sub torpedoed the ship, if the ship was in fact torpedoed. Either by mistake or as a falseflag op.

    From the initial claims by the u.s and South Korea that they didn’t think the North had a part in the sinking, I suspect the Korean ship was not deliberately sunk, but was the victim of an accident. Perhaps it triggered an old mine (there are many in that area still) or an internal mishap. And the israeloamericans are now using the sinking to bash North Korea, after the fact. Another interesting thing is the green netting covering the fore part of the after section of the ship as it sits on a barge. It appears somebody doesn’t want analysis of the damage to that part of the ship where it broke in two. Why? Was it in fact an external explosion? Or was it internal?

    I’ve been watching this story develop, wondering when the israeloamericans would kick in their propaganda. It’s obvious North Korea is an unresolved failure in israeloamerican eyes. Both because they have positive relations with Iran and because they kicked yank arse during the Korean war (not many ami know, but the objective of the american forces during that war was the conquest of North Korea, in which they failed completely to achieve) and the americans (not to mention, ziofascists) don’t like it that small nations can remain independent of their fascist control.

  21. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 12:47am #

    See also:

    Russian expert doubts Pyongyang’s involvement in warship sinking 14:1027/05/2010


    “I personally have serous doubts that it was North Korea that sank the ship. Why do this? For what purpose?… I don’t see any logic,” said Konstantin Pulikovsky, who maintained official contacts with Pyongyang while serving as presidential envoy to Russia’s Far East in 2000-2005.”

    “Russian President Dmitry Medvedev sent on Wednesday a group of Russian experts to South Korea to examine the results of the investigation into the Yellow Sea incident.”

    Russian experts to look into warship’s sinking in S.Korea (Update) 22:2226/05/2010


    China to weigh evidence before blaming N.Korea for warship sinking 12:3227/05/2010

    The North Koreans also want to examine the “evidence”, but the South is playing coy.

  22. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 12:48am #

    Some additional views that do not promote the israeloamerican propaganda line, like the (cough) real news network does:

    South Korea, U.S. maneuvers threaten war on DPRK

    By Deirdre Griswold Published May 26, 2010 1:41 PM

    “China later expressed skepticism that a DPRK submarine had sunk the South Korean ship, but their skepticism got little publicity here.

    The DPRK denied any involvement and counter-charged that the Lee regime was trying to torpedo agreements made some years ago between the north and the south that had improved relations between the two. It also announced that it would send a team from its National Defense Council to examine the “evidence” the south claimed to have.”


    The Sinking of the Cheonan: We Are Being Lied To

    by Scott Creighton

    This article goes into detail on the “torpedo” parts “found” and how they actually compare with the North Korean torpedo they are claimed by the israeloamericans to be a part of. As the title says, the israeloamericans are lying. Imagine that!

    Another view:

    If North Korea Sunk The Cheonan, Why Didn’t They Sink The USS Pueblo?

    Written by therev Monday, 24 May 2010 17:20

    “I really think North Korea had no motive to sink the Cheonan. In fact it is probably a planned bad deed gone bad by US operatives directing S.Korean manueuvers. They have pictures of N. Korean torpedo’s and so how hard is it to make a replica? Not hard. And if they decided to use the Cheonan to drop the Torpedo into the ocean, so some fishing vessel will hit it, upon an investigation blame N. Korea for sinking a fishing vessel to give reason to implement sanctions, is more likely the scenario. Except there was a mishap and it detonated in their ship sinking it instead. Same story line, except now it is the S. Korean Navy who suffered the plot. And they still can spin the story that N. Korea torpedoed them.”

  23. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 2:52pm #

    Madsen offers some info about the usn ships involved with the Cheonan that I had not heard before:

    Beijing suspects false flag attack on South Korean corvette By Wayne Madsen May 28, 2010, 00:18


    “The Cheonan, an ASW corvette, was decked out with state-of-the-art sonar, plus it was operating in waters with extensive hydrophone sonar arrays and acoustic underwater sensors. There is no South Korean sonar or audio evidence of a torpedo, submarine or mini-sub in the area. Since there is next to no shipping in the channel, the sea was silent at the time of the sinking.

    However, Baengnyeong Island hosts a joint US-South Korea military intelligence base and the US Navy SEALS operate out of the base. In addition, four U.S. Navy ships were in the area, part of the joint U.S-South Korean Exercise Foal Eagle, during the sinking of the Cheonan. An investigation of the suspect torpedo’s metallic and chemical fingerprints show it to be of German manufacture. There are suspicions that 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.

    The presence of the USNS Salvor, one of the participants in Foal Eagle, so close to Baengnyeong Island during the sinking of the South Korean corvette also raises questions.

    The Salvor, a civilian Navy salvage ship, which participated in mine laying activities for the Thai Marines in the Gulf of Thailand in 2006, was present near the time of the blast with a complement of 12 deep sea divers.

    Beijing, satisfied with North Korea’s Kim Jong Il’s claim of innocence after a hurried train trip from Pyongyang to Beijing, suspects the U.S. Navy’s role in the Cheonan’s sinking, with particular suspicion on the role of the Salvor. The suspicions are as follows:

    1. The Salvor engaged in a seabed mine-installation operation, in other words, attaching horizontally fired anti-submarine mines on the sea floor in the channel.

    2. The Salvor was doing routine inspection and maintenance on seabed mines, and put them into an electronic active mode (hair trigger release) as part of the inspection program.

    3. A 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.”

  24. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 2:53pm #

    While I doubt #3 happened – the ship was underway, not anchored, the mine exercise may provide a clue to what happened. The Cheonan could have been accidentally sunk during this mine exercise. This could explain all the attention at the 3rd buoy. Since the mines are not tethered objects like old fashioned mines and actually are a mini, seabed mounted installation that fires a mine, which then acts like a homing torpedo, it’s possible one of these fired off its mine at the Cheonan. The mine installation could have been located and fired from that 3rd buoy location and the usn was busy recovering it first so the evidence would be removed – and also so they could inspect the device to see why it fired off the mine. This would explain the importance attached to that 3rd buoy location over that of the sunken ship. It could also explain why the u.s. and South Korean guvs initially didn’t blame North Korea. They were taken by surprise by an accident and were not sure what do yet with the spin. IE: still in a state of panic. Later, it occurred to use North Korea as the culprit once the panic subsided.

  25. Robert Simms said on May 29th, 2010 at 11:22pm #

    hayate, thanks for illustrating a couple of my points with your hubris, paranoia and extensive verbiage: “How much news on a particular topic do we really need in order to make an informed decision? Can we become so overloaded with the steady stream of analysis and propaganda that we are unable to make a decision?”

    Let’s at least try to agree on a few definitions:
    Questioning Jewish supremacism and questioning U.S. funding for Israel is anti-semitism.
    Questioning war is anti-Americanism. Questioning the government is a lack of patriotism. And mass questioning of the government is home-grown terrorism.

    Please refer to for further enlightenment.

    Robert Simms
    (aka Ezra Feingold)

  26. hayate said on May 29th, 2010 at 11:37pm #

    Robert Simms said on May 29th, 2010 at 11:22pm

    Typical hasbarat response. Insults and a demand for less information to be available. That would make your job spamming support for the zionist status quo somewhat easier, though. Clever boy.

  27. Mulga Mumblebrain said on May 31st, 2010 at 3:57am #

    I love the dementia of the Rightwing mainstream media,manifested in total lack of recall. After all the US and its puppet stooges lied over the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, KAL 007,’yellow rain’ in Indochina, Saddam’s WMD, the entire 9/11 fiasco, the JFK and RFK assassinations, Grenada as a centre of ‘terrorism’,just about everything happening in Venezuela, etc,et bloody cetera, yet the toads of the Mainstream media believe each new transparent lie, with touching credulousness. Of course, seeing that their high wages depend on this display of memory loss and stupidity, and total subservience to power, who can blame them? The US thrives on hatred, fear and tension. It feeds their only remaining industry, the business of bringing death to women and children around the planet.This farce, a black-flag op I would imagine,scuttled Hatoyama’s government and ended all talk of a US withdrawal from Okinawa,both US priorities, puts pressure on China, reinforces the fascist regime in power in South Korea and gives Obummer the chance to preen as global bully-boy, a favourite role amongst Yankee thugs, a not inconsiderable voting bloc. Not long ago, amongst the really lunatic moron element on the US Right, North Korea was being blamed for the oil leak in the US Gulf, a ‘midget submarine’ again the means, and one launched by a North Korean ship latterly in both Cuba and Venezuela. I’d say this story is only slightly more credible than that psychotic fable.

  28. hayate said on May 31st, 2010 at 4:56am #

    Apparently I’m not the only one who thinks the Cheonan was accidentally mined in another instance of american “friendly fire”.

    Did an American Mine Sink South Korean Ship?

    New America Media, News Analysis, Yoichi Shimatsu, Posted: May 27, 2010

    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.

  29. hayate said on May 31st, 2010 at 4:57am #


    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.

  30. hayate said on May 31st, 2010 at 4:58am #


    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.