Follow-up on North Korea's Nukes
Jude Wanniski
September 4, 2003


Memo To: Website Fans, Browsers, Clients
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: The Bogus Press Reports from Beijing

You may recall last week reading my memo about the widespread reports that North Korea had warned the high-level delegation in Beijing that it possessed nuclear weapons and would soon test them for all to see. It did not sound right to me, as Pyongyang had repeatedly indicated it did not have nuclear weapons as a goal, and would happily allow the IAEA inspectors back in as soon as the Bush administration signs a non-aggression pact with North Korea -- which the administration does not want to do. Here is the report filed by Gordon Prather a few days later for WorldNetDaily. It looks like the Associated Press got snookered by a US official in Washington with second- or third-hand reports of what was going on in Beijing -- and the NYTimes spread the bogus report. I've not seen a retraction, but there should be.

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Report on N. Korea nukes: Bogus

By Gordon Prather


You can come out of your nuke fallout shelter for a while, at least. It was just another neo-crazy false alarm.

Contrary to what an anonymous high-level Bush-Cheney official told the Associated Press, North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Yong Il did not announce to the Russian, Japanese, U.S. and South Korean delegates at the Beijing conference this week that DPRK actually had a nuke stockpile and would test one of them in the near future.

Now, DPRK did withdraw from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as was its right six months ago.

No longer subject to International Atomic Energy Agency Safeguards, they expelled the IAEA weenies who had been keeping DPRK nuclear facilities "frozen," under lock and seal, since 1994. They restarted their plutonium-producing reactor and may have recovered enough weapons-grade plutonium, by now, from their "unfrozen" spent fuel to make a half-dozen nukes.

They are no longer prohibited from developing nukes. They can even buy nukes, or nuke designs or nuke technology from other nuke powers not subject to the NPT such as Pakistan if they want to.

Where would they get the money?

Well, they could sell ballistic missiles to Pakistan or perhaps weapons-grade plutonium to Islamic terrorists.

Why do they want nukes? On numerous occasions, President Bush has said that he would "not tolerate" Iraq, Iran or North Korean having nukes. Look at what Bush just did to nuke-less Iraq.

So, by now, DPRK may have a nuke stockpile. The CIA reckons it may, but the Russians consider it unlikely. Having supplied the plutonium-production and plutonium-recovery technology, the Russians don't doubt DPRK now has the necessary weapons-grade plutonium for making implosion nukes. But, they do doubt DPRK has the technological capability to produce nukes.

The DPRK has never admitted to having while subject to the NPT a nuke development program. In fact, in his opening remarks at Beijing, Kim implied that they never did.

"Without solid evidence, the United States accused us of developing a new clandestine nuclear-weapons program with uranium enrichment. We replied we have something stronger than a program with enriched uranium. We have stronger weapons, such as national solidarity."

Some anonymous high-level Bush official had charged last October that a DPRK weenie had admitted they did have a uranium-enrichment program. When the DPRK officially denied it, some neo-crazies told their media sycophants that it was even worse than they imagined; the "stronger weapons" referred to in the DPRK reply meant "thermo-nukes"!

[It should be noted at this point that if the DPRK does have or is building a uranium-enrichment facility, the CIA hasn't got a clue as to where it is. Not a clue.]

Now comes some anonymous high-level Bush official who wasn't even at the Beijing conference to tell the Associated Press that Kim admitted to having nukes and intends to test them. Well, if Kim did, the Russians and Chinese didn't hear him.

Kim did refer to allegations that DPRK had nukes and intended to test them that had appeared in a Japanese newspaper in July. Kim charged that report, and others, were lies, spread by the U.S. with the intention of derailing the Beijing talks before they began.

Here is what Kim actually told the delegates.

DPRK would "declare" its "intention" to give up its "nuclear" programs in return for resumption of fuel-oil and humanitarian food aid;

DPRK would "freeze" all "nuclear" activities and allow inspection of all facilities in return for U.S. signing a non-aggression pact;

DPRK would dismantle all "nuclear" facilities once the South Korean-supplied light-water power reactors came on line.

Notice that Kim consistently refers to "nuclear" programs and facilities. Never "nuke." Never "nuclear weapons."

It is not as though the North Koreans don't know the difference between "nuke" and "nuclear." At the official DPRK news website, they frequently rail about U.S. "nukes" and "nuclear weapons." But they never acknowledge that they have either "nukes" or "nuclear weapons." All they say is that they are working on their "deterrent" against "nuke" attack.

Kim emphasized the demand that the United States sign a legally binding non-aggression pact before DPRK would even allow "inspections" of their "nuclear facilities." He warned that a verbal assurance by President Bush of DPRK's security if it gives up its "deterrent" will not suffice. Kim also rejected the suggestion, put forth by Russia, that a joint security assurance by the U.S., Russia and China would suffice.

How are you fixed for duct tape?


Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.