More Details on North Korean Arms Sales to Philippine Terrorists
A newspaper from South Korea that references the same Yomiuri Shimbun article, reported much the same information but with a few more details.
South Korea’s National Intelligence Service (NIS), however, told The Korea Times it was not aware of the secret deal being struck between North Korea and the terrorist group in the Philippines.
"Even though we have classified information on the North’s attempts to sell its firearms to third countries, we are not aware of any deal being successfully made," an NIS official said, asking not to be named.
The large-circulation newspaper in Japan quoted an intelligence agency in Southeast Asia as saying that Lim Kyu-do, a firearms dealer from the North, signed the $2 million contract with the MILF in the middle of 1999 to deliver those arms, including 10,000 M16 rifles, grenades and 200 guns of other kinds.
Note this was not a denial of events but simply stating 'we were not aware'. The cynical would say, 'File that in the 'Neither were we until we unearthed the document trail' section.
The Korean Times reports with greater detail on precise payment schedule, method, dates and location.
The MILF gave two $1-million checks to the North via a Malaysian agent on Sept. 25 in return for the Pyongyang regime’s delivery of the firearms in several shipments to Mindanao island, the stronghold of the terrorist group, by the end of 2000, the daily said.
Here's an interesting paragraph:
The agency in Southeast Asia could confirm the trade by confiscating documents from the MILF in November last year and swiftly raised precautious measures against further attempts by the North of exporting its weapons system to the militia, the daily said.
- Whose agency? What Southeast Asia country?
- Why unnamed? Why stay anonymous?
- Does the sentence mean this agency took measures or they raised the issue to others and urged measures to them? A lot can be lost in translation, let alone Japanese-to-Korean-to-English.
- What does this agency have to gain by providing this (dis?)information?
Then there's this from a webpage written blog-style from a site called NavLog:
Small Submarines Increasingly Appeal to Terrorists, Criminals
(c) K.B. Sherman, 2003
The Manila Times is reporting that the Moro Islamic Liberation Front plans to buy a number of midget submarines to be used in fighting the government, according to a military spokesman. MILF is a communist terrorist group, according to the Philippine Government.
In a press briefing at Camp Aguinaldo, Armed Forces spokesman Col Essel Soriano was reported to have presented to the media documents which he said were found in the Buliok complex, an MILF stronghold in Central Mindanao that was overrun by the government troops in February of this year. (NOTE: Determining precisely what year is 'this year' is key, as the date at the top suggests 2003.) Among the documents reportedly were receipts for weapons amounting to $2,196,250, as well as a report from the MILF political affairs chief, Ghadzali Jaafar, dated June, 1999, mentioning a mini-submarine as an available weapons system. MILF spokesman Ustadz Eid Kabalu subsequently reportedly denied the existence of the documents, accusing the military of fabricating them to justify past and present offensives against the MILF.
However, a brochure describing the midget submarine was found. It purports to describe a 45-foot long submarine with the capacity to carry, of six persons, including two divers. The submarine "…is designed for special operations and [has] a good tactical range and a low noise level," according to the brochure. Missions for such a sub were said to include mounting sabotage operations and landing personnel and arms along beaches.
Not sure what to make of that yet. Right now it means there is a lot more digging to be done. Scrounging the Manila Times is in order...and it will likely be a tall order.
The possible date discrepancy raises new questions.
Is it possible that the original story was blustering from a country with reasons to bluster about North Korea? Is it possible that the story is recycled news? Yes. But the danger remains, regardless of the dates involved. It is curious to note that none of the dates mentioned in the 'new' article are outside the scope of what was written above at NavLog.
Jane's had this to say in August 2003:
It remains to be confirmed but it is probable that both the MNLF and the MILF were able to import supplies of US materiel abandoned in Vietnam after the communist victory of 1975 and later sold onto the international arms market.
Other reported sources of imported weaponry have been North Korea and the black market in southern Thailand.
While external shipments have contributed significantly to small-arms proliferation in Mindanao, evidence is compelling that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) themselves have played a scarcely less important role. To a minor degree this has involved the capture of weapons by rebel forces in encounters. Far more, however, it stems from widespread sales of munitions by corrupt elements in the AFP to dealers who then sell to insurgents or criminals.
A third source of weaponry used on Mindanao has been local MILF production. MILF production facilities, manned by skilled gunsmiths have been turning out copies of the RPG-2, the American M-79 grenade launcher and .45 calibre pistol as well as crude anti-personnel mines and bombs.
Anyone with a subscription to Jane's to peek at the rest of this report from last year?
There is much work to be done. The Word Unheard will be burning the midnight oil later tonight.