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Saturday, February 08, 2003

North Korea Cheated on Clinton Nuke Deal

North Korea's Dangerous Deception
by Notra Trulock
October 21, 2002

North Korea has finally admitted that it has been pursuing the development of nuclear weapons despite promises to the contrary. In 1994, in a deal engineered in part by Nobel Peace Prize winner Jimmy Carter, the Clinton administration tried to bribe North Korea into abandoning its nuclear intentions. In return for a pile of cash, an annual supply of fuel oil, and new supposedly proliferation-resistant nuclear reactors, North Korea agreed to freeze plutonium production at its nuclear facilities north of Pyongyang. The deal became known as the Agreed Framework; but North Korea also promised to remain in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, and live up to its obligations under the International Atomic Energy Agreement nuclear safeguards program.

In short, the Clinton administration thought it had bought off North Korea. What started as a limited accomplishment would soon be touted as a "major diplomatic success" for an administration short on such successes. Bill Clinton, Madeleine Albright and others also scored it as a major achievement in their campaign to stop the spread of nuclear weapons. Over the years, the intelligence community raised "concerns" about covert activities in North Korea, but the White House and State Department usually dismissed these as worst-case scenarios based on sketchy evidence.

Now the State Department reports that North Korea considers the Agreed Framework "nullified." If true, this suggests some very ominous "worst-case" scenarios largely forgotten or ignored by the media. First, as part of the Agreed Framework, the North Koreans insisted that the U.S. refurbish and preserve a storage pool full of spent fuel rods, recently dumped from its production reactor. Many in the U.S. Energy Department, which eventually cleaned and canned the rods, thought this a bad idea and said so at that time. The White House and State Department, however, were intent on closing the deal and ignored those warnings.

Should they now opt to reprocess this fuel, Pyongyang would have enough plutonium for about five nuclear warheads, thanks to the Clinton administration and American taxpayers. That would be in addition to the plutonium the U.S. judged the North Koreans had produced by 1994, believed to be enough for two, possibly three nuclear warheads. An intelligence-community estimate last December strongly implied that North Korea had already fabricated these weapons.

At the time of the agreement, there was much concern inside the intelligence community that North Korea would cheat on the deal by pursuing other routes to the development of nuclear warheads. The alternative to plutonium is highly enriched uranium (HEU), which is most commonly produced using gas centrifuges. In 1999, the Washington Times reported that the North Koreans had tried to buy electrical components for gas centrifuges from Japan, but the sale was blocked. Now they have admitted what that suggested—that they had started secretly to produce weapons using highly enriched uranium. The facilities it requires are more easily hidden than the reactors that produce plutonium.

The State Department says that it has acquired evidence of North Korea’s HEU production only recently. It is easy to understand why the Clinton administration would try to conceal the fact that the agreement with North Korea was an extremely costly blunder. We have poured $100 million a year in fuel and food into North Korea to keep Kim Jong Il from developing nuclear warheads, all in vain. The continuation of this largesse in the first two years of the Bush administration raises the question of why it took so long to find that North Korea was cheating. In addition, U.S. diplomats in Pyongyang have been told that North Korea has "more powerful things as well," apparently a reference to their extensive chemical and biological weapons programs.

Many suspect North Korea acquired gas centrifuges from Pakistan as payment for North Korean long-range missiles supplied in the late 1990s. North Korea actively markets several long-range missile systems to Iran, Egypt, Syria and others to generate revenue for its weapons-of-mass-destruction programs.

All this could throw a monkey wrench in the administration’s plans for Iraq. North Korea, for example, could use this as a pretext to return to testing of a missile capable of delivering a nuclear warhead to targets in the United States. Some of President Bush’s critics have asked why he included North Korea in his "axis of evil." Last week’s disclosures have answered that question. Like Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong Il is a cruel tyrant who starves his subjects to maintain a huge army and produce weapons of mass destruction. He has shown that his word is worthless.

Notra Trulock is an Associate Editor at Accuracy in Media.

Clinton Gave Interview To Racist Paper

Ex-president chastised for giving exclusive to 'anti-Semitic' daily

Former President Bill Clinton chose a newspaper with a clear anti-Semitic and anti-American profile to publish a recent column in Sweden, according to a WorldNetDaily reader in the Scandinavian nation. Clinton's message, that the U.S. should "lead, not dominate" the world as the 21st century emerges was submitted for publication in at least 20 countries, but his choice of Sweden's Aftonbladet as that country's exclusive publisher of the column must have been "a mistake because of the carelessness of your advisers," Dmitri Vasserman wrote to the former president. The Swedish tabloid – Scandinavia's largest newspaper – published the column Jan. 1, under the title, "I'm disappointed in you, Bush." In his letter to Clinton, Vasserman said he could not imagine Clinton would have anything to do with Aftonbladett if he knew something about them in advance. Vasserman said, the "publication of your article has done a great damage; it showed that Aftonbladet is still an appropriate paper for democratic non-racist politicians." He added, "I hope you will find an appropriate way to correct this mistake." WND spoke with an intern at Clinton's New York office on Monday who said he would try to get a response, but no one from the former president's staff called back.

'The Crucified Arafat'
In a Jan. 20 Aftonbladett column titled "Stop buying Israeli goods!" writer Lena Askling said, "Apartheid against Palestinians is escalating, and the Israeli violence increases in unimaginable proportions." An Easter 2002 opinion piece titled "The Crucified Arafat," was written by Aftonbladet’s political editor-in-chief, Lutheran theologian Helle Klein, said Vasserman, who noted the tradition of characterizing Jews as Christ killers. Columnist Gunnar Fredriksson said in an April 8 piece that Russian Jews "are considered often as racists. They hated dark-skinned Chechens and other people from Caucasus; now they hate Palestinians and the Muslims." Fredriksson said the few Russians who do have contact with Palestinians belong to criminal gangs. Politically, he said, the Russian Jews in Israel cooperate with the ultra-orthodox groups and immigrants from Morocco, Tunisia and Ethiopia. "These groups have almost nothing in common but the hatred of Palestinians," he wrote. Columnist Jan Guillou said April 16 that the "difference between Israel and the apartheid state of South Africa is that Israel executes more people and is keeping more people in jails and militant ghetto zones." Gillou criticized another newspaper for asserting that Palestinian youth and children are being brainwashed by their leaders to hate the Jews and the Jewish state. The Aftonbladett columnist complained that while South Africans' resistance against apartheid was understood as a rational response, Palestinians are accused of being anti-Semites for their resistance against Israel. Olle Svenning noted in his column on Sunday that "a couple of new biographies on George Bush have recently been published." "One relates how the president found salvation: He'd had a hard night with the bottle and woke up the following morning feeling far worse for wear," he wrote. "He looked at his reflection in the mirror and discovered that his face was speckled with vomit. That's when he fell to his knees and found God." "Which is all well and good," Svenning commented, "if only he'd made a bit of progress beyond the Old Testament, with its constant focus on revenge, war and violence." Last year, the Aftonbladet was found guilty by a Swedish court of "agitating against an ethnic group" for operating an online forum in which readers posted death threats against Jews. The paper argued that the comments were not deleted from the moderated site at the time because of technical problems, but nevertheless was held responsible by the court.