May 29th, 2009
04:23 PM ET

The test ban treaty would help North Korea

Paula A. DeSutter
The Wall Street Journal

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/28/north.korea.alert/art.scope.afp.gi.jpg caption="South Korean soldiers use binoculars to look at North Korea on Wednesday in Paju, South Korea."]
North Korea has announced that it has tested another nuclear weapon. Detection of North Korea's October 2006 nuclear test has been touted as evidence that the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) is verifiable. CTBT advocates will undoubtedly make the same argument for this week's test and assert that CTBT is important and that the United States should ratify it. Here is why both arguments are wrong.

Verification has two purposes: detection and deterrence. If you can't detect, you can't deter. But even if you can detect, you may not be able to deter.

With regard to seismic detection, North Korea is a best-case scenario. It is small, its known test site is granite, and it is not a seismically active region. In 2006 we collected noble gases to confirm the explosion was nuclear. Moreover, North Korea announces its tests. Detection of announced tests cannot be sold as proof of verifiability.

As for deterrence, it's a simple concept: convince others that the cost of taking an action you wish to prevent is far greater than any benefits. At a minimum, violators should not benefit from their violation.

The Obama administration's special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Bosworth, has been touring the region warning of "dire consequences" if North Korea tests. Strong words, but likely empty of substance. Will we bomb their nuclear sites? Unlikely, even if we knew where most of them were. Trade restrictions? North Korea has nothing to sell to non-rogue states. Stop food aid? Americans don't want to punish the starving slave-citizens of North Korea for actions over which they have no influence. In fact, we've taught North Korea since the early 1990s that crime pays.


Filed under: 360° Radar • North Korea • Nuclear Weapons
May 29th, 2009
04:16 PM ET

Pakistan tightens security after terror attacks

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/29/pakistan.peshawar.blast/art.lahore.amath.afp.gi.jpg caption="Pakistanis look Thursday at the rubble of a police building in Lahore hit by a suicide bomb on Wednesday."]


Pakistani authorities increased security throughout the capital Friday after this week's deadly bombings in Lahore and Peshawar, and a threat by the Taliban to carry out further attacks.

All vehicles must go through checkpoints before entering Islamabad, the city's deputy police inspector general Bin Yamin told CNN. Three people have been arrested in Islamabad in connection with the current threats, he said.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for Wednesday's suicide attack in Lahore that killed 27 people. It also threatened to continue attacking cities in Pakistan until the military ends its operations against Taliban militants in the country's northwest.

There has been no claim of responsibility for the Thursday attacks in North West Frontier Province.

Officials said they believed bombers who killed 12 victims Thursday may have caused some of the blasts to lure people nearer before detonating further explosions.

The attacks targeted Dera Ismail Khan and the provincial capital, Peshawar, where government forces have waged a massive operation against Taliban militants.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Pakistan • Taliban
May 29th, 2009
04:14 PM ET

Satellite spots activity at North Korean missile site


[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/29/nkorea.missile/art.tank.afp.gi.jpg caption="South Korean soldiers ride in armored vehicles during a drill Friday in the border city of Paju."]
U.S. satellite imagery has spotted "vehicle activity" at a North Korean ballistic missile site, two Defense Department officials said Friday.

This activity is similar to that before a long-range missile launch by North Korea earlier this year. It comes amid growing world concern over North Korea's latest nuclear test and test-firings of short-range missiles.

Officials said the imagery shows vehicles used to transport Taepodong 2 missiles were spotted, but no missile parts were seen. The Taepodong 2 missile is a long-range missile that North Korea tested this year.

North Korea test-fired a short-range missile Friday off the country's east coast, a South Korean military source said. It would be the sixth such missile test since the country conducted a nuclear test Monday.

Also Friday, North Korea upbraided the U.N. Security Council for slamming its nuclear test, calling the members of the body "hypocrites" and warning of "stronger self-defense countermeasures" as the world body considers more sanctions against the country.

"There is a limit to our patience," the Foreign Ministry said in a combative statement.

North Korea blasted the Security Council's condemnations of the nuclear test on Monday and the launch in April of what North Korea called a satellite but other countries called a long-range missile.


Filed under: 360° Radar • North Korea • Nuclear Weapons
May 29th, 2009
04:09 PM ET

Murder case brings 'Foxy Knoxy' infamy in Italy

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/CRIME/03/27/amanda.knox.italy/art.knox.sollecito.split.afp.gi.jpg caption="Both Raffaele Sollecito (left) and Amanda Knox deny charges of murder and sexual assault."]

Hada Messia
CNN Rome Bureau

The Italian media call her "Foxy Knoxy" and portray her as a "devil with an angel's face," and there are 11 Facebook pages dedicated to her, all in Italian.

Amanda Knox, 21, is an American college student from Seattle, Washington, who is on trial for murder in Perugia, Italy. The case has given Knox almost pop star status there.

She was voted the top woman in an online "person of the year" poll by an Italian TV channel in December, beating out Carla Bruni, the Italian-born French first lady.

Seven of the 11 Facebook pages champion her innocence; four seem convinced that Knox is pure evil. A sampling of comments: "No to Amanda. No to her superstardom" ... "She's a sociopath" ..."Everyone is not sure if she is guilty or not and that she will lead us to a new existential awareness. Please shout with me your anger. ... Let's say no. Let's say Knox."

Knox and former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito, 24, are charged with murdering and sexually assaulting one of Knox's roommates, British exchange student Meredith Kercher, on November 1, 2007. They have pleaded not guilty.


Filed under: 360° Radar
May 29th, 2009
03:49 PM ET

Middle East eagerly awaits Obama with curiosity and cautious optimism

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/05/29/art.arab.cartoon.abbas.obama.jpg caption="A political cartoon published in the Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds."]

Octavia Nasr
AC360° Contributor
CNN Senior Editor Mideast Affairs

President Barack Obama will deliver a message to the Muslim world on Thursday. He chose Cairo, Egypt, as his podium. Not surprising, when you consider Egypt’s size and stature in the Muslim world. Population of about 60 million, and home to Al-Azhar Mosque, the authority on Islam and the launching point of thousands of Islamic clerics and scholars spread all over the world from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. Add to that the role secular Egypt plays in the region especially on the Palestinian-Israeli front and the media access where everyone, including Israeli journalists, is welcomed and provided the forum to beam the speech quickly and widely across the world.

Professor Shibley Telhami of the Brookings Institute just led an opinion poll tracking sentiments between media and identity in the Arab Middle East. He says poll results show President Obama right now enjoying a clear popularity in the region in comparison to his predecessor President George W. Bush.

The poll conducted in six moderate Arab countries in April and May shows President Obama as someone “Arabs admire and want to love,” says Telhami. “Their negative views of him are very low… however, they’re still skeptical of the U.S. administration and its foreign policy.”


May 29th, 2009
03:00 PM ET

Know your North Korean nukes

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/asiapcf/05/26/nkorea.test/art.kimfinger.jpg caption="North Korean leader Kim Jong-II is suspected to have suffered a stroke last August."]

Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

My success in navigating the vagaries of foreign cultures is spotty at best, because while I speak no language other than English fluently, I try them all with unhinged enthusiasm. So I have dazzled a French waiter by informing him “Your pajamas are smashing.” I have told a Spanish sales clerk, “No, no! I need to see the lawnmower canoe.” And I wonder if that Albanian has yet realized that I had no intention of buying his rabbits.

Still, even as the latest North Korean nuclear bomb test is reverberating around the globe, I am starting to grasp the logic of their game. Or rather, I should say, by talking to smart foreign affairs analysts and reading an awful lot of obscure reports, I am beginning to get the gist of the overall situation.

So my loyal readers (or accidental readers, if that happens to be the case,) here is Tom’s Quick Guide to Understanding North Korean Nukes.

Question: Didn’t Kim Jong Il, (the president of North Korea, who is often mistaken for the fifth Teletubbie) blow up a big part of a nuclear plant last year as a sign of his willingness to disarm? Answer: Yes. But it wasn’t that big. A cooling tower. The rest of the facility seems marvelously intact and the Pentagon has detected signs of renewed activity.


Filed under: 360° Radar • North Korea • Tom Foreman
May 29th, 2009
02:53 PM ET

Protect yourself: Make sure check scams don’t scam you!

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/26/art.check.jpg]

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Editor-in-Chief, ZATZ Publishing

A few months ago, I posted a blog on this site about how to protect yourself from counterfeit check scams. I track this kind of thing. I get security alerts from the FDIC about these check scams. The reason I posted that article was because I got seven alerts in one day, an all-time record.

Today, that record was broken. I got alerts about 11 counterfeit check scams, all over the country. And, last week, I received another six. Check out the full list at the end of this article.

Make sure you check out a detailed a series of tips you should take to protect yourself.

Here are five that are most important:


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • David Gewirtz • Finance
May 29th, 2009
11:56 AM ET

Can good people become evil?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/meast/05/21/iraq.abu.ghraib.impact/art.abu.ghraib.file.pool.jpg]


What happens when you put good people in an evil place? Does humanity win over evil, or does evil triumph? These are some of the questions posed in a 1971 simulation of prison life conducted in the summer of 1971 at Stanford University.

The Stanford prison experiment was a study of the psychological effects of becoming a prisoner or prison guard. The experiment was conducted in 1971 by a team of researchers led by Psychology Professor Philip Zimbardo at Stanford University. Twenty-four undergraduates were selected out of 70 to play the roles of both guards and prisoners and live in a mock prison in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. Those selected were chosen for their lack of psychological issues, crime history, and medical disabilities, in order to obtain a representative sample. Roles were assigned based on a coin toss.

Take a look at the Stanford Prison Experiment web site, which features an extensive slide show and information about this classic psychology experiment, including parallels with the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib.

Filed under: 360° Radar • Torture
May 29th, 2009
11:29 AM ET

No one represents America's center

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/19/california.proposition.vote/art.california.vote.gi.jpg]

John Feehery
Special to CNN

There's nothing in the middle of the road but yellow stripes and dead armadillos." - Jim Hightower

"Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides." - Margaret Thatcher

Despite these warnings from the left and the right, increasingly, the American people are viewing themselves as centrists.

According to the Pew Research Group, fully 39 percent of the American people identify themselves as political independents, the highest percentage in 70 years.

As Andrew Kohut of Pew put it, "Centrism has emerged as a dominant factor in public opinion as the Obama era begins. ... Republicans and Democrats are even more divided than in the past, while the growing political middle is steadfastly mixed in its beliefs about government, the free market and other values that underlie views on contemporary issues and policies."


Filed under: 360° Radar • John Feehery
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