Saturday, August 29, 2009

No Nukes on North Korean Cargo Ship

So much depends on how things are put. And, what part of an event is considered important by those describing it.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) recently seized a cargo ship on route to Iran from North Korea. News services around the world reported what happened. Each hand its own angle on the story. In this sense, "angle" means "a biased way of looking at or presenting something". (Princeton's WordNet)

I'm not sure I buy that definition entirely: at least, if the word "biased" is taken as a pejorative. If "biased" is used to describe having a particular point of view, okay.

Provided that the reporting doesn't have a shot at implying that, since no North Korean nuclear weapons material was found on the ANL Australia, terrorist claims about the Democratic People's Republic of Korea by imperialist capitalist warmongers are all lies. And no: I didn't read anything like that: but, being born during the Truman administration, I've read - and heard - plenty of serious thinkers express that sort of idea.

Australian Ship Seized, Korean Ship Seized: It's the Same Ship

The ship that was seized was reported as being North Korean (The Korea Times) and Australian (The Age). It's also a Bahaman ship.

The ANL Australia is owned by the ANL Shipping Company, an Australian firm; flies a Bahaman flag, and was hauling cargo for North Korea. (The Age, ANL)

It Depends on What You Think is Important

An Australian paper focused on the probe that the Australian-owned ship - and probably its owners - will face. My take on that is that the probe is necessary, but the company may not have knowingly been breaking the United Nations rules about North Korea exporting weapons.

The South Korean paper focused on actions of the UAE and the possible (probable) violation of U.N. Resolution 1874 by North Korea.

The Wall Street Journal and CNN had more to say about the diplomatic angle of the event. The Wall Street Journal's article went into a bit more detail.

And, typos happen: CNN reported that the ship is the "AML Australia." The company doesn't have a ship by that name, but does have one called the "ANL Australia," the ship identified by The Age. (ANL Schedule Search) I haven't been able to find a ship called the "AML Australia," apart from iterations of the CNN story, or CNN's source, and my guess is that an Australian news service is more likely to know the name of an Australian ship, than editors on the other side of the world. My guess is that The Age and Reuters are right about the ANL Australia's name.

Australian/Bahaman/Korean Ship Seized, Weapons Found: Good News, Bad News

The bad news is that it looks very much like North Korea is determined to ignore U.N. Resolution 1874. And, is quite willing to supply weapons to Iran, including:
  • Rocket launchers
  • Detonators
  • RPGs
It's not just Australia, The Bahamas and North Korea that's involved. Reuters says France, Italy and China are linked to the situation. That could mean anything from being involved with the illegal shipment of arms, to having cargo on the same ship.

The good news is that the weapons apparently were quite conventional. No nuclear material - at least none that got mentioned in the news. After what happened (or didn't, depending on which of Syria's stories you read) in the Syrian desert, nuclear weapons material from North Korea bound for the Middle East isn't that much of a stretch.

Like I said, good news.

Related posts: In the news:


Tech said...

I wonder why this is only coming out now. You would think they would have reported this when it happened to strengthen the case against North Korea.

Brian H. Gill said...


I'm not sure which case against North Korea you're referring to.

The news didn't come out immediately, certainly. According to The Age, "The UAE, a hub for Iranian goods, seized the ship earlier this month." (August 29, 2009) - which meant that there was a delay of up to about four weeks in reporting the incident.

That "earlier this month" could have been August 28 and still be grammatically accurate.

The Wall Street Journal reported that "The seizure took place roughly a month ago, according to an Emirati official. It was earlier reported on the Web site of the Financial Times." (August 29, 2009)

Reuters says the seizure took place on August 14 - the same date cited by the Wall Street Journal as being the date of a letter sent to the U.N. sanctions committee.

The two-to-four-week delay in reporting could be due to the UAE and other interested parties being concerned about an ongoing investigation, and keeping the matter under wraps.

Or, maybe something else.

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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.