Doubts surface on North Korea’s role in ship sinking

Ed Note: No Lies News reported these doubts in May 2010. Below is an article printed in July 2010 that also confirms doubts about the official story. And the US Military is using this sinking, now in doubt, as a reason for the war provocative exercises to be held this November weekend 2010 off the coast of North Korea. Could it be that someone is trying very hard to start a war, a war that could cost millions of lives???

Some in South Korea dispute the official version of events: that a North Korean torpedo ripped apart the Cheonan.
By Barbara Demick and John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
July 23, 2010 | 2:53 p.m. latimes.com

Reporting from Seoul —

The way U.S. officials see it, there’s little mystery behind the most notorious shipwreck in recent Korean history.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton calls the evidence “overwhelming” that the Cheonan, a South Korean warship that sank in March, was hit by a North Korean torpedo. Vice President Joe Biden has cited the South Korean-led panel investigating the sinking as a model of transparency.

But challenges to the official version of events are coming from an unlikely place — within South Korea itself.

Armed with dossiers of their own scientific studies and bolstered by conspiracy theories, critics dispute the findings announced May 20 by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, which pointed a finger at Pyongyang.

They also question why Lee made the announcement nearly two months after the ship’s sinking, on the very day campaigning opened for fiercely contested local elections. Many accuse the conservative leader of using the deaths of 46 sailors to stir up anti-communist sentiment and sway the vote.

The critics, mostly but not all from the opposition, say it is unlikely that the impoverished North Korean regime could have pulled off a perfectly executed hit against a superior military power, sneaking a submarine into the area and slipping away without detection. They also wonder whether the evidence of a torpedo attack was misinterpreted, or even fabricated.

“I couldn’t find the slightest sign of an explosion,” said Shin Sang-chul, a former shipbuilding executive-turned-investigative journalist. “The sailors drowned to death. Their bodies were clean. We didn’t even find dead fish in the sea.”

Shin, who was appointed to the joint investigative panel by the opposition Democratic Party, inspected the damaged ship with other experts April 30. He was removed from the panel shortly afterward, he says, because he had voiced a contrary opinion: that the Cheonan hit ground in the shallow waters off the Korean peninsula and then damaged its hull trying to get off a reef.

“It was the equivalent of a simple traffic accident at sea,” Shin said.

The Defense Ministry said in a statement that Shin was removed because of “limited expertise, a lack of objectivity and scientific logic,” and that he was “intentionally creating public mistrust” in the investigation.

The doubts about the Cheonan have embarrassed the United States, which is beginning joint military exercises Sunday in a show of unity against North Korean aggression. On Friday, an angry North Korea warned that “there will be a physical response” to the maneuvers.

Two South Korean-born U.S. academics have joined the chorus of skepticism, holding a news conference this month in Tokyo to voice their suspicions about the “smoking gun” — a piece of torpedo propeller with a handwritten mark in blue ink reading “No. 1” in Korean.

“You could put that mark on an iPhone and claim it was manufactured in North Korea,” scoffed one of the academics, Seunghun Lee, a professor of physics at the University of Virginia.

Lee called the discovery of the propeller fragment five days before the government’s news conference suspicious. The salvaged part had more corrosion than would have been expected after just 50 days in the water, yet the blue writing was surprisingly clear, he said.

“The government is lying when they said this was found underwater. I think this is something that was pulled out of a warehouse of old materials to show to the press,” Lee said.

South Korean politicians say they’ve been left in the dark about the investigation.

“We asked for very basic information — interviews with surviving sailors, communication records, the reason the ship was out there,” said Choi Moon-soon, an assemblyman for the Democratic Party.

The legislature also not been allowed to see the full report by the investigative committee — only a five-page synopsis.

READ FULL STORY HERE

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