Sifting information from propaganda re North Korea, Syria

The UK Times of London has a breathless article about how North Korea is building runways under mountains, which it says was revealed by a defector, confirmed on Google Earth, and reported in the South Korean Press last week. Besides not linking to the the location in Google Maps (that’s so, like, 2004), the article has two main problems. One is that knowledge of such runways has existed since at least 2005 and was noted by Google Earth Community members then (note the date of the posting. Here it is, BTW:

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The other is that if you go looking for the original South Korean article, it mentions the original source of the story to be… a Voice of America report last week, while the defector in question defected in 2006. All of which brings the timing of this news item into question.

The article goes on to debate whether the release by the CIA last week of purported evidence about Syria’s nuclear ambitions (which would have used North Korean technology) is meant to harm chances of a peace deal with North Korea (ostensibly at the behest of Dick Cheney’s “people”) or else is meant to improve chances of such a deal by in effect declaring on behalf of Kim Jong Il something he could never bring himself to do, allowing him to save face. I’m not sure. The Times has a botchy record on accuracy regarding the Syria raid and surrounding stories.

And in the interests of equal time, here is an interesting post on a Middle East blog I follow, arguing that the allegations raised by the CIA presentation don’t make sense…

{Update 19:54 UTC: Here is another tunnel airport, mentioned on Google Earth Community in June 2006.]