The initial South Korean review stated that
the explosive was gunpowder, which would conform to North
Korea's crude munitions. This claim was later overturned
by the inquiry board, which found the chemical residues to
be similar to German advanced explosives. Due to sanctions
against Pyongyang and its few allies, it is hardly credible
that North Korea could obtain NATO-grade ordnance.
Thus, the mystery centers on the USNS Salvor,
which happened to be yet right near Byeongyang Island at
the time of the Cheonan sinking and far from its home base,
Pearl Harbor. The inquiry board in Seoul has not questioned
the officers and divers of the Salvor, which oddly is not
under the command of the 7th Fleet but controlled by the
innocuous-sounding Military Sealift Command. Diving-support
ships like the Salvor are closely connected with the Office
of Naval Intelligence since their duties include secret operations
such as retrieving weapons from sunken foreign ships, scouting
harbor channels and laying mines, as when the Salvor trained
Royal Thai Marine divers in mine-laying in the Gulf of Thailand
in 2006, for example.
The Salvor's presence points to an inadvertent
release of a rising mine, perhaps because its activation
system was not switched off. A human error or technical glitch
is very much within the realm of possibility due to the swift
current and strong tides that race through the Byeongnyeong
Channel. The arduous task of mooring the launch platforms
to the sea floor allows the divers precious little time for
double-checking the electronic systems.
If indeed it was an American rising mine that
sank the Cheonan, it would constitute a friendly-fire accident.
That in itself is not grounds for a criminal investigation
against the presidential office and, at worst, amounts only
to negligence by the military. However, any attempt to falsify
evidence and engage in a media cover-up for political purposes
constitutes tampering, fraud, perjury and possibly treason.
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U.S. Mine Sink SKorean Ship? (2)
10-Year Old Big Bloke