Tuesday, April 7, 2009

North Korea's Launch: Watch Out for Incoming Communications Satellites?

Comments on North Korea's recent test of a
  • communications satellite which even now is playing tunes in praise of Dear Leader
  • partially successful ballistic missile which
    • Successfully detached its first stage
    • Before malfunctioning
Take your pick. Reaction to North Korea's [successful / not entirely successful] launch of a [communications satellite / mockup nuclear warhead on an IRBM] isn't all one tune, either:
  • "I bet Japan isn't happy right now. They're probably still edgy about missiles since the nuclear bombs our terrorizing government dropped in World War II."
    (BlogCatalog Discussion thread)
  • "...Kim Jong-Il wept tears of regret that the money it cost could not have been used to help his people...."
    (AFP, reporting on a North Korea state press story)
  • "...Media and officials of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on Tuesday hailed the successful launch of a long-rang rocket that put an experimental satellite into orbit...."
    (Xinhua: Background on the New China News Agency at GlobalSecurity.org)
  • "...'The U.N. Security Council should respond properly and teach North Korea a lesson that it has to pay for the act of provocation.'..."
    (Japan's foreign minister Hirofumi Nakasone (Taiwan News))
  • "...The North Korean report was a a bit of a blast from the past because North Korea made a similar claim in 1998 that it had sent a satellite into orbit playing the exact same two songs...." (Global News Blog (Reuters))
  • "...'This issue also involves the right of all countries to peaceful use of outer space,' she [China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu] said referring to the resolution 1718 passed by the UNSC after North Korea's nuclear test in 2006...."
    (The Times of India)

It's a Communications Satellite - It Has to be a Communications Satellite

I think that last comment shows how important it is that as many people as possible assume, officially, that the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea launched a communications satellite - successfully, of course - and not anything resembling a weapons system.

In some circles, it doesn't matter whether or not North Korea launched a communications satellite, a mockup nuclear warhead, or radioactive kimchi. America is a racist terrorist imperialist oppressor, and that's all there is to it.

'Real Americans' have equally odd ways of dealing with reality.

North Korea's way of handling the real world is to carefully manage what its citizens see and hear:
"...'Chants of jubilation are reverberating throughout the country on the news that our satellite is beaming back the "Song of General Kim Il-Sung" and the "Song of General Kim Jong-Il,"' the ruling communist party paper Rodong Sinmun said, referring to the North's founding president and his son.

"It reported that Kim Jong-Il 'felt regret for not being able to spend more money on the people's livelihoods and was choked with sobs.'

" 'Our people will still understand,' it quoted him as saying...." (AFP)
Those are the songs that the Reuters blog referred to, by the way.

Communications Satellite Trumps People's Livelihoods: Why?

The AFP article neglected to explain why Dear Leader " 'felt regret for not being able to spend more money on the people's livelihoods and was choked with sobs.' " Perhaps it's because somehow it's vital that North Korea deploy communications satellites - at any cost. And, that American terrorism and oppression are to blame.

There are other possibilities, of course. North Korea's leadership, under Kim Jong Il, may have determined that 'communications satellites' are vital to the Democratic Peoples' Republic of Korea. After all, they're constantly attacked by warmongers.

This article, from October, 2008, shows what North Korea (says) it's facing:

"The U.S. and south Korean military bosses held the 40th U.S.-south Korea "'annual security consultative meeting' in Washington on Oct. 17 at which they reaffirmed the 'strong defense commitments' of the U.S. to south Korea and adopted a 17-point joint statement the keynote of which is the 'rapid dispatch of reinforcements in contingency on the Korean Peninsula'....

"...Availing itself of this opportunity, the DPRK warns the south Korean puppets acting war servants of the U.S. imperialists.

"These war servants who go reckless to attack fellow countrymen with arms provided by their American master will not escape from the fate of a tiger-moth as they are cursed and denounced by all the fellow countrymen.

"If the enemy makes a preemptive attack at any cost, the powerful army of Songun and people of the DPRK will deal merciless retaliatory blows at the aggressors...."
("KNS, via GlobalSecutity.org)

Incoming Communications Satellites?

I hope that the current 'communications satellite' launch is more a matter of hardball diplomacy, than preparation for an anticipatory counteroffensive against U. S. imperialists. Or 'puppets' of USI.

The recent test wasn't as unsuccessful as some make it out to be. The vehicle successfully 'staged' - separated from the first stage - a technically challenging process.

I readily acknowledge North Korea's technical abilities. The country apparently is very close to IRBM nuclear capabilities. And, judging by a recent incident, where Syria complained that the Jews blew up a Syrian reactor that didn't exist, North Korea has become a moderately successful exporter of nuclear technology.

I have no problem with another country having high tech. Nations with a vibrant economy and a taste for technology make great trading partners.

North Korea, on the other hand, seems to be a self-isolated and possibly paranoid dictatorship. When an outfit like that gets nuclear weapons and delivery systems, there's a danger that one of the leaders will start believing his own propaganda.

Related posts: News and views:
Updated/correction (April 7, 2009)

The Xinhua (April 7, 2009) link in "News and views" was incorrect, and has been fixed.
CNN says status of North Korean vehicle is a "mystery." North Korea says their communications satellite is cheerfully singing the praises of Dear Leader and his father, while "...Officials from the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and the U.S. Northern Command said the payload cleared Japanese airspace, but later fell into the Pacific Ocean...." The Japanese government says the same thing, and has ships headed to the impact points to recover debris.

In a way, it's a case of he said/they said: in this case involving an invisible communications satellite emitting undetectable signals.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.