South Korea’s Ship Sinking: Another False Flag?

This writer’s May 5 article included a history of noted previous ones, accessible here.

Important ones caused the Spanish-American War, WW II, the Vietnam War, and Iraq and Afghanistan wars post-9/11 (a glaring false flag). 

Besides constant Middle East tension, more now looms after North Korea was blamed for the March sinking of South Korea’s Cheonan warship near the western border with the North.

At the time, New York Times writer, Choe Sang-Hun, headlined (March 26), “S. Korean Navy Ship Sinks in Disputed Waters,” saying:

A South Korean Navy patrol ship sank… after suffering damage to its hull… raising suspicions about the possible involvement of North Korea, whose navy has skirmished with South Korean ships in the waters off the Korean Peninsula.

Then on May 19, Sang-Hun headlined, “South Korea Publicly Blames the North for Ship’s Sinking,” saying:

“South Korea formally accused North Korea… of responsibility for the sinking… killing 46 sailors in one of the deadliest provocations” since the July 1953 Korean War armistice, leaving a “state of war” in place to this day. Also, longstanding economic sanctions in violation of the armistice and UN Charter’s Article 39, permitting them only to restore international peace and security during war or when they’re verifiably threatened.

Washington bogusly imposed them, saying  “North Korea is seen as posing a threat to US national security,” although for years Pyongyang sought normalization and was rebuffed; “North Korea is designated by the Secretary of State as a state sponsor or supporter of international terrorism,” despite no evidence to prove it; “North Korea is a Marxist-Leninist state, with a Communist government,” though nothing in international law prohibits it; and “North Korea has been found by the State Department to have engaged in proliferation of weapons of mass destruction,” — true or false, America not only proliferates, it threatens their use preemptively against any nation perceived as a threat, even non-nuclear ones.

South Korea Blames Pyongyang for the Cheonan Sinking

Claiming a North Korean attack, Seoul said there’s “no other plausible explanation…. The evidence points overwhelmingly to the conclusion that (a) torpedo was fired by a North Korean submarine,” even though none was detected in the area. 

Official statements from Britain, Australia, Sweden and Washington backed Seoul, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs saying on May 19: 

The United States strongly condemns (this) act of aggression. (It’s) one more instance of North Korea’s unacceptable behavior and defiance of international law. The attack constitutes a challenge to international peace and security and is a violation of the armistice agreement.

 South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said, “We will take resolute counter-actions against North Korea. We should make North Korea admit to its wrongdoing through international cooperation.” Obama promised full support.

South Korea investigator, Yoon Duk-yong, said fragments were found, consistent with North Korean torpedo specifications listed in materials it distributes to export them, and they matched a stray Pyongyang torpedo found seven years ago. He added that the Cheonan “was split apart and sunk due to a shock wave and bubble effect produced by an underwater torpedo explosion (manufactured) in the North.”

Pyongyang categorically denied it, calling it a “fabrication,” threatening “full-scale war.” Seoul refused its offer to send inspectors to challenge the allegation, forcing its Notational Defense Commission, headed by Kim Jong-il, to threaten retaliation against any further provocations.

On June 4, AP reported that, for the first time, South Korea officially referred North Korea to the Security Council, its ambassador Park In-kook handing a letter to Mexico’s Claude Heller, its current president, asking for a response to “deter any further provocations.”

On May 23, Japan Today released poll numbers showing more of their readers think America, not North Korea, sunk the ship: 48-46%, and at one point Washington lead by 10 points.

Appearing on Democracy Now on May 27, Korean expert, Bruce Cumings, discussed similar past incidents, including in 1999 when “a North Korean ship went down with 30 sailors lost and maybe 70 wounded.” Then last November, another “North Korean ship went down in flames. We don’t know how many people died in that. This is no man’s land… off the west coast of Korea that both North and South claim. We have no idea what” happened to the Cheonan, but whatever did “is being blown way out of proportion.”

Aggression or a False Flag?

The incident begs the question as to what Pyongyang could possibly gain from an attack, especially since for years it’s wanted a formal end to the Korean War, a lasting peace, and normalization with America and Seoul, despite decades of betrayal and snubs by successive US administrations, Obama no different than his predecessors.

Writer, Stephen Gowans, calls the North a “product of its history,” from Japan’s colonization through “its daily struggle with the United States to survive.” Like other nations, it rejects domination, wants its economic and political sovereignty recognized, and normalization with its neighbors and the West. Washington has other aims, its customary imperial ones, needing enemies that would have to be invented if they didn’t exist. In Asia, it’s North Korea like Saddam was in the Middle East and the Soviets were during the Cold War. As a result, it’s been vilified, isolated, and called a regional threat, again after a very suspicious incident, unlikely that Pyongyang caused. So who then?

Investigative journalist, Wayne Madsen, suspects a false flag, manufactured to blame the North. So does Beijing after Kim Jong Il’s hurried visit to explain as well as Seoul’s unconvincing, contradictory story. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov also expressed doubts about South Korea’s account, and wants independent verification of the evidence. 

Stephen Gowans also is suspicious, saying the sinking had “all the markings of another Gulf of Tonkin incident (by) the aggressor… accus(ing) the intended victim of an unprovoked attack to justify a policy of aggression under the pretext of self-defense.” 

Key perhaps was to pressure now former Japanese Prime Minister Yukio Hatayoma “to reverse course on moving the US Marine Corp base off Okinawa,” Japan’s southern-most, poorest prefecture, home for thousands of US troops.

Since WWII, America has maintained 88 bases in Japan, 37 on Okinawa, a tiny sliver of land about the size of a large US city. Understandably, Okinawans are furious, and with good reason. Their choicest real estate was stolen. They’ve practically been pushed into the sea, and for decades US forces have committed thousands of robberies, rapes, homicides, assaults, and other abuses they’d never get away with at home. 

On Okinawa, they’re subject to “administrative discipline” under US jurisdiction, not Japan’s, the result of America’s Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) Article 17 (on criminal justice) stating:

“The custody of an accused member of the United States armed forces or the civilian component (shall) remain with the United States until he is charged.” 

In other words, it shields US felons from prosecution under Japanese law, whisks them out of the country to avoid it, and creates an intolerable situation for Okinawans or wherever US forces are stationed. The Pentagon is in charge, not the host country. Imagine how that would go down in America if, say, China or Russia had bases here. Okinawans have no choice but to protest as 100,000 did in late April, to no avail.

After the Cheonan‘s sinking, Hatoyama agreed to change course; clearly Washington’s aim has everything to gain from stoking tensions, even more conflict, to gain popular support for diffusing a threat by a self-proclaimed nuclear power that threatens only self-defense if attacked.

Madsen said the incident occurred near Baengnyeong Island opposite North Korea, “heavily militarized and within artillery fire range… across a narrow channel.”

“The Cheonan, an ASW corvette, was decked out with state-of-the-art sonar, (and) was operating in waters with extensive hydrophone sonar arrays and acoustic underwater sensors.” Yet it detected no evidence of a submarine, mini-sub or torpedo in the area. Everything was quiet at the time.

However, Baengnyeong “hosts a joint US-South Korea military intelligence base,” US Navy SEALS, and four US ships were in the area for a joint exercise. Further, the suspect torpedo’s “metallic and chemical fingerprints” were German, not North Korean as claimed. Germany sells no torpedoes to Pyongyang. It does to Israel and the Pentagon.

Other red flags further arouse suspicions, including the “presence of the USNS Salvor,” a Navy salvage ship, earlier involved “in mine laying activities.” Former Japan Times editor, Yoichi Shimatsu, reported them at lower depths, able to explode with enough force to sink the Cheonan. He also said Pyongyang has no underwater vessels stealthy enough to slip past Byeongnyeong Island’s advanced sonar and audio detectors. 

Navy SEALS may have attached “horizontally fired anti-submarine mines on the sea floor of the channel (or perhaps) a magnetic mine to the Cheonan, as part of a covert program aimed at influencing public opinion,” stoking tensions enough to get Japan and South Korea to want our forces in the region — Washington’s aim by whatever means, including perhaps sinking an ally’s ship and killing 46 members of its crew, a minor externality to tighten its imperial grip, even at the risk of all out war.

Stephen Lendman wrote How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Contact him at: Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles by Stephen.

7 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. AaronG said on June 8th, 2010 at 5:14am #

    Whenever a false flag event is suspected, why is there frequently “joint exercises” going on at the time eg 9/11? mmmmmmmmm

  2. bozh said on June 8th, 2010 at 7:48am #

    It is plutocratic class of life which benefits from a much troubled world; tensions in it, warfare, and threats of warfare.

    And we pay for their criminal acts by icreased house-warming and car driving costs, while world plutos go laughing to the bank.

    The evilest people constantly getting richer and we getting poorer; i.e., in safety-security-joy-peace and money-power! tnx

  3. hayate said on June 8th, 2010 at 12:47pm #

    This article is a good summary by Lendman.

  4. hayate said on June 8th, 2010 at 11:31pm #

    Here are a few other articles on this sinking worth looking at:

    Who Sank the South Korean Warship Cheonan? A New Stage in the US-Korean War and US-China Relations The original Japanese text is available here

    Tanaka Sakai

    Translated by Kyoko Selden

    This article 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?

  5. hayate said on June 8th, 2010 at 11:32pm #

    The Sinking of the Cheonan: We Are Being Lied To

    by Scott Creighton

    That 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.

  6. hayate said on June 8th, 2010 at 11:34pm #

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

    The USS Salvor being there I think is the missing link that explained the accident.

    While I doubt #3 happened (see the article) – 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.

  7. hayate said on June 8th, 2010 at 11:42pm #

    Speculating it was a usn mine that sank the Cheonan in a “friendly fire” incident:

    Did an American Mine Sink South Korean Ship?

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

    So to recap, the usn was installing or running tests on a minefield when the Cheonan triggered one of these mines which sunk her. Apparently the specific mine installation was at that 3rd buoy described. The mine would have the same effect on a ship as a modern torpedo exploding under the ships hull and a small vessel like Cheonan would certainly see it’s back broken. This accident would explain why North Korea wasn’t blamed initially, like a “bad guy” usually gets when there is a falseflag, which is why I consider the sinking accidental, rather than deliberate as a falseflag. Later, the decision was made to blame the North Koreans and start falsifying evidence and hop up the media.

    My best guess is neither China or Russia accepts the falsified report produced to to blame the North, and they probably also suspect an accident occurred. “Unofficially” the Russians have said the report is bunk. The results from their own independent investigations are not announced yet. Likely, as with the Iranian nuclear issues, the Russians and Chinese will chose a route to defuse the worst of western aggressive planning. It should be easier with North Korea, since the israeloamericans seem to have used the issue to get what they wanted to happen in Japan and South Korea politically already.

    Though I argued against it, I’m not ruling out the israeloamericans may have deliberately sunk Cheonan with one of those mines. Usually after one of their falseflag ops, the zionist run media goes into overdrive spewing out propaganda about the incident and blaming the stiched up “bad guy”. But they could have kept their propaganda machine on standby in a clever ruse to misdirect the Russians and Chinese, who were bound to suspect foul play. The propaganda is for us, while a change of tactics would be to deceive other country’s intelligence services and policy makers.