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Rummy Hiding His Cards On N. Korea Involvement?

What Didn't Rumsfeld Know About Reactor Sales to N. Korea?

Rummy Hiding His Cards On N. Korea Involvement?

What Didn't Rumsfeld Know, And When Didn't He Know It?

6.20.03 -- Defense Secretary Rumsfeld qualifies for inclusion in a "Conservatives Most Wanted" card deck for any number of reasons. One reason that is not getting nearly enough attention is his alleged complicity in selling nuclear reactors to North Korea in 2000.

Rumsfeld was a director on the board of the Zurich engineering company, ABB, when they signed a contract with the North Korean government to supply that government with two light water reactors.


Despite his intense "hands-on" nature and the allegation by at least one board member that he was aware and actively involved in the transaction, Rumsfeld's spokesperson insists he has no recall of the activity. (He has been unwilling to address the issue publicly.)

It is interesting to observe Rumsfeld's current threatening posture toward North Korea considering how compromised he is by his past actions. Like the conflicts of interest involving Vice President Cheney and the energy industry (and between Cheney, Halliburton and Iraq), Rummy's case is further evidence how this "CEO Administration" operates in their own morality-free world.

It's a game that functions on the principal of denial, as if the "profit motive" is simply a "blind spot" in the civic consciousness. That being said, it is all the more amusing when administration officials react to charges of conflict of interest with moral indignation, rebuffing questions about conflict of interest by appealing to higher ethical ground.

For further reference, there is an excellent Fortune Magazine article on this story .

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Trust the Government 22.Jun.2003 07:12


We can't, as citizens, possibly know what all the evil-doers all around the world are up to. All we know is that they wish us harm, and they hate our freedoms.

Fortunately, we have our Government, which is chock-full of evil-finders, evil-un-doers and evil destroyers to keep our little citizen-butts safe from worry and want.

Trust me. I know. I'm a doctor.

There. Don't you feel better?

Non-starter 23.Jun.2003 00:31


I wasn't going to comment at first, since I figured everyone would see this as the non-starter that it is. But maybe not, so I will :P

This is nothing but pure, unadulterated beguilement. From the tone of the article, you'd think Rumsfeld was clandestinely arranging for the shipment of weapons-grade plutonium to the enemy. Far from it, this was part of a US-sponsored, State Department-negotiated framework for peace.

North Korea already had 3 graphite-moderated nuclear reactors. (Or, at least they were close to having them). They clearly needed the energy, and they definitely wanted the plutonium.

Graphite moderated nuclear reactors produce less overall plutonium than do light water moderated nuclear reactors, but they produce /weapons-grade/ plutonium.

The framework agreed upon said that the U.S. -- Rummy's company, as it turns out -- would provide two light water nuclear reactors for power generation, in exchange for the abandonment of the original reactors. Light-water reactors have other advantages over gas-graphite moderated reactors, such as high-burnup fueling strategies which further reduce the amount of /reactor-grade/ plutonium produced. (Drastically reducing the number of nuclear weapons that could be produced, even if North Korea were able to sneak-off with the spent fuel and reprocess it).

The administration's current problems with the DPRK is not the reactors -- it's the reprocessing capabilities, the subsequent restarting of the gas-graphite reactors, and the active pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Now, I'm no Rumsfeld supporter. But can't we find /real/ gripes to discredit the man with?