Experts See Signs of Potential N. Korean Work at Myanmar Military Site

Global Security Newswire Staff
Add to Briefcase
Global Security Newswire Staff
July 14, 2014, 9:27 a.m.

Ex­perts see in­dic­a­tions of pos­sible North Korean activ­ity at a mys­ter­i­ous mil­it­ary site in My­an­mar that, by some ac­counts, may be linked to chem­ic­al arms.

The Burmese gov­ern­ment last week sen­tenced five loc­al journ­al­ists to a dec­ade of hard labor after they were de­clared guilty of air­ing state secrets with their early 2014 re­port about a secret mil­it­ary fa­cil­ity in the cent­ral Mag­we re­gion. The in­vest­ig­at­ive re­port in the now-de­funct Unity journ­al said the com­plex was man­u­fac­tur­ing chem­ic­al-war­fare ma­ter­i­als.

While ex­pert opin­ion is di­vided about wheth­er the plant is pro­du­cing chem­ic­al weapons, some spe­cial­ists be­lieve it likely that North Korea is in­volved in some ca­pa­city, the Bangkok Post re­por­ted on Sunday.

“It’s not a chem­ic­al weapons fact­ory, but re­portedly a fact­ory where they pro­duce alu­min­um cas­ing for mis­siles, and ‘the Chinese tech­ni­cians’ they men­tion in the [Unity] art­icle are most likely North Koreans,” said long­time journ­al­ist Ber­til Lint­ner, who has re­por­ted ex­tens­ively on North Korea.

Jef­frey Lewis, an East Asia non­pro­lif­er­a­tion ex­pert who has co-writ­ten about the chem­ic­al weapon pos­sib­il­it­ies of the mil­it­ary site, told the Post he was par­tic­u­larly in­trigued by de­tec­ted evid­ence of for­eign work­ers.  “[The Burmese Dir­ect­or­ate of De­fense In­dus­tries] has been sanc­tioned for deal­ing with North Korea, and this site ap­pears sim­il­ar to an­oth­er loc­a­tion near Minbu where North Koreans are be­lieved to live and work,” Lewis said.

“Work­ing from satel­lite im­ages, it would ap­pear that DDI’s activ­it­ies are ex­pand­ing, not con­tract­ing, des­pite prom­ises to stop any il­li­cit pro­grams and co­oper­a­tion with North Korea,” said Lewis, who dir­ects the James Mar­tin Cen­ter for Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Stud­ies’ East Asia Non­pro­lif­er­a­tion Pro­gram.

Dan Kasz­eta, a former U.S. Army chem­ic­al weapons of­ficer, said if My­an­mar were pro­du­cing chem­ic­al arms, it likely would have a de­veloped a test­ing and train­ing pro­gram for their use — something not yet in evid­ence.

“A strong in­dic­at­or is some kind of test­ing re­gime to see if weapons ac­tu­ally work,” Kasz­eta said. “It seems un­likely that a coun­try would go to the massive ef­fort of mak­ing chem­ic­al weapons without see­ing wheth­er their chosen de­liv­ery mech­an­isms work.”

My­an­mar has signed but not yet rat­i­fied the Chem­ic­al Weapons Con­ven­tion.

What We're Following See More »
16 YEARS, $70 BILLION DOWN THE DRAIN
Report: U.S. Failed in Training Afghan Forces
5 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

"The U.S. has invested 16 years and more than $70 billion to train Afghan security forces, but the effort has been undermined by poor planning, training and oversight, a government watchdog said in a report Thursday. The 259-page report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, offered a critical assessment of one of the top goals of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan—to train local forces so they can secure Afghanistan on their own. The report details how unprepared the U.S. was to train local forces when the war began in 2001 and concludes many of the problems that hampered the early days of the war still exist."

Source:
WARNING ISSUED 2009, STILL PROBLEM
People Terrorist Ties Licensed to Fly, Repair Aircraft
8 minutes ago
THE DETAILS

In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration warned that individuals with terrorist ties were licensed to fly or repair planes. Years later, it is still a problem. Researcher Mark Schiffer found several known terrorists have FAA licenses when testing an algorithm on public records. Part of the problem is the FAA does not use photos on licenses and does not completely vet information. But they claim pilot certificates are to show the pilot's training level—not security—and pilots have to have government-issued IDs.

Source:
OTHER OFFICIALS ALSO USED PRIVATE ACCOUNTS
Kushner Private Email for WH Business
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business." His lawyer said Kushner and his colleagues usually forwarded news articles or political commentaries.

Source:
TO TALK ABOUT AGENDAS AND ELECTIONS
Trump to Dine with GOP Donors Tuesday
1 hours ago
THE DETAILS

"President Trump will meet with major GOP donors for a private dinner on Tuesday in New York as part of a fundraising effort for the Republican National Committee, according to three people briefed on his plans." Trump is expected to talk about the party's agenda on the Hill and the midterm elections.

Source:
VENEZUELA, NORTH KOREA ADDED
White House Announces Enhanced Vetting for Eight Countries
1 hours ago
WHY WE CARE
"President Trump is replacing his controversial travel ban with a targeted list of restrictions that will enhance vetting for nationals from eight countries, senior administration officials announced Sunday. The eight countries on the modified list of countries are Chad, Iran, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Syria, Venezuela and Yemen." The officials say these states failed to comply with the U.S. information-sharing requirements that aim to make vetting processes stronger.
Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login