Buying Destruction

Ryan Mauro is a fellow with the Clarionproject.org, the founder of WorldThreats.com and a frequent national security analyst for Fox News Channel. He can be contacted at ryanmauro1986@gmail.com.


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We shouldn’t be surprised that a new U.N. report concludes that North Korea is selling nuclear and ballistic missile technology to Iran, Syria and Burma. However, the report also confirms that Kim Jong-Il’s regime is using “links with overseas criminal networks to carry out these activities,” which could include the trafficking of WMD components. This fact means it is only a matter of time before a corrupt North Korean official sells off expertise, advanced weapons or even WMDs to a winning bidder.

Far too often the discussion about North Korea focuses on whether the regime will sell nuclear weapons, but a huge arsenal of chemical and biological weapons, conventional weapons, and personnel including special forces, scientists and hackers could also come onto the black market. A South Korean think tank recently concluded that North Korea has 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical weapons and the capability to produce much more. It is wishful thinking to believe that none of that large arsenal will be transferred out of the country, either as part of an official sale by the government or a deal with corrupt officials.

When Gordon Chang, an expert on Asia and author of Nuclear Showdown: North Korea Takes on the World, was asked by FrontPage how likely it is that these criminal networks will buy powerful weapons or expertise, he responded by asking, “How likely is it that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow?”

“Anything in North Korea is possible, and the links between ‘officials’ and ‘criminals’ are strong. Besides, many North Korean officials are criminals. I’m not so sure we should make a distinction between the two groups,” Chang told FrontPage when asked about the potential for a corrupt official to sell weapons on his own accord without official authorization.

A sharp warning of the nexus between corruption and WMD came in early 2004 from David Kay, the former director of the Iraq Survey Group that concluded that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime did not possess WMD stockpiles at the time of the invasion. He warned that the corruption his group saw meant that Iraq was a “far more dangerous country than even we anticipated with what may turn out to be not a fully accurate estimate.”

“We know there were terrorist groups in state [Iraq] still seeking WMD capability. Iraq, although I found no weapons, had tremendous capabilities in this area. A marketplace phenomenon was about to occur, if it did not occur; sellers meeting buyers,” Kay said. Concern about a rogue government deciding to carry out an attack or sponsor terrorism is valid but the potential for a corrupt official to sell weapons or expertise under the table is also an incredibly pressing threat. And North Korea has many more weapons than Iraq did, many people willing to sell them, and a preexisting business relationship with organized crime groups already used to traffic illicit materials.

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  • Chezwick_Mac

    North Korea is our constant reminder that sociological evil comes in many colors…and that Islamic green is but one variety.

    Until we convince China to stop propping up the Kim dynasty, the Orwellian nightmare will continue. In a sane world, the international community would band together and strangle this regime via quarantine….but, it's not a sane world.

    China will keep the patient on life-support for as long as it serves a purpose. When China finally pulls the plug, it will be because conditions are ripe and that South Korea will be ready for its Faustian bargain: Neutralization of the North in exchange for tutelage inside China's orbit.

    Of course, the ultimate objective is Japan. China knows that a united Korea is the perennial dagger pointing at the Japanese jugular. That's when an aging, sclerotic Japan will itself cave and accept being a Chinese vassal as preferable to facing off against a united Korea.

    • hrayspitz

      North Korea is not being allowed to collapse because nobody, not the Chinese or the South Koreans, wants, or can afford, to clean up the mess.
      Personally, I think we SHOULD encourage North Korea to collapse and encourage the PRC to take it over.
      The expense of securing and rebuilding North Korea would leave them almost as broke as we are…

  • jacob

    AND WHAT IS THE ORGANIZATION GOOD ONLY FOR CONDEMNING ISRAEL 24/7/30/365 DOING ABOUT IT ??

    ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ! ! ! ! ! !

    THANKS FOR ASKING ANYWAY…..! ! !

  • Wesley69

    THE NUCLEAR GENIE IS OUT OF THE BOTTLE AND THERE IS NO GOING BACK!

    I can understand countries like Syria, Burma, maybe even Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Turkey wanting the means to build a bomb, but organized crime???????? The world will enter a new phase of existence – nation -states, multinational corporations and criminal empires. Imagine if the narco-terrorists in Mexico could get their hands on a nuclear device, or the Somali pirates?

    Something needs to be done about North Korea, but how and what? Only with Chinese approval and/or action can the following take place.

    If it was reunified with South Korea and the entire country was demilitarized, China may agree to it.
    Making it part of China is also possible. South Korea would have China on its border. Powerful, dangerous, but certainly more stable
    North Korea stays as its and when something nuclear happens and fingers point to North Korea, it is nuked out of existence.

    There needs to be an end to this story that involves the end of this regime. The danger is if the story continues, cities may be turned to ash as mushroom clouds streak toward the heavens, thanks to Kim Jong-Il.

  • captaingrumpy

    While the world concentrates on North Korea, it leaves China alone. If a country tried to save the people of North Korea ,it would take all their money (Except if they had Bernanke).
    I can see no change until WMD is sold and seen to be sold.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Who has the money to buy WMD, certainly not Somalia, Mexican
    cartels probably and with islamist terrorists crawling all
    over South America, training and preparing for jihad against, US,
    we must wake up to the fact of a dawn of the dead scenario.
    That Iran and North Korea are in cahoots is enough to make
    even the most powerful super hero give pause to the potential
    for the unbelievable…………………………………………William

    • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

      YOU ARE SO RIGHT.

  • http://www.mysapce.com/freddawes1776/ Fred Dawes

    Understand one fact population can and is being used as a weapon against the people of the USA.
    The system is about to come APART for many reasons with the help of people on the inside who own nothing to this system or its people many who are at the high places inside our government and who are in all things supporters of other's and other systems and other cultures and who are in fact enemies of this nation have the total control over this nation and want us all dead,dead,dead.

  • hijinx60

    One overlooked fact is that the United States is at war with North Korea. The Korean War was actually only "put on hold" with no side surrendering. Last year, Kim Jong-II declared that N. Korea was again at war with the US. Little was made of this in the media or Washington, but in reality Kim is right though no official fighting is taking place. It seems to have been taken as just a posturing position. However, we need to watch them closely, very very closely.

  • USMCSniper

    Obama has approved plans for the US to start direct talks with both North Korea in a significant shift in policy. The State Department said it would meet one-to-one with Pyongyang negotiators in an effort to persuade the North Koreams to abnadon their nuclear weapons program. "Ahh,… Nevvah happin GI"

  • American Patriot

    This article proves that organized criminals cannot be afforded the civil rights of the average street thug. All organized crime groups must be obliterated forthwith and without hesitation or mercy. Such evil wastes of protoplasm must be recycled into more worthy beings rather than be allowed to contribute to the deaths of millions of innocent people. While fair trials are still in order whenever possible, it is not wrong to stop organized crime from jeopardizing the lives of innocents, by any means necessary, when the criminals cannot be brought to justice by conventional means.