Saturday, 24 February 2007

HEU - Highly enriched uncertainty

The debate over whether or not North Korea has a credible Highly Enriched Uranium program continues to rage. There is little doubt that HEU has been on Pyongyang's agenda, but just like New Year resolutions and that book all journalists "threaten" to write, how far along the road to producing a bomb are they?

"WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States should reexamine a questionable charge that North Korea has a covert uranium enrichment program, a key American complaint against Pyongyang that could complicate the new nuclear weapons deal, experts said on Wednesday."
(Full report: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/21/AR2007022101600.html)

One of the experts being cited in the report is David Albright. He has been getting a lot of ink recently. It was Albright that the world's media were quoting as a reliable source regarding North Korea's softening attidude just before the lastest round of six-party talks.

But now Albright's qualifications, and consequently his reliability as an expert are being called into question.

"Not that Albright really knows. Although he's regarded as a physicist on the basis of master's degrees in physics and math from Midwestern US universities, neither he nor Wit was able to use their expertise while in Pyongyang in the run-up to the latest six-party talks that culminated in the deal for North Korea to give up its nukes, eventually, in return for a vast infusion of energy aid."
(Full report: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/IB24Dg01.html)

Conventional wisdom would dictate that when one is "uncertain" about something, you should essentially hope for the best but plan for the worst. But in the case of North Korea and now Iran, the worst is really just too awful to think about.

Based on their individual records when it comes to accuracy, I suppose it is safe to assume that Washington, Pyongyang and Tehran are all being less than honest and transparent. Each has their own agenda. It would be nice to see the media more frequently allude to this uncertainty in their reports.



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