Contact: Roland Watson, firstname.lastname@example.org
PLAGIARISM IN THE BURMA NUCLEAR “SCOOP”
August 3, 2009
Please forward widely.
To: Desmond Ball and Phil Thornton
Is it too much to ask to be given a little credit, when credit is due? Your articles this past weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald and Bangkok Post about Burma’s nuclear program contained some new information and one new source (“Tin Min”). However, they also included more than ten pieces of information that Dictator Watch first reported.
In the primary SMH article, Burma’s Nuclear Secrets:
For the defector “Moe Jo,” we had first access to his interrogation debriefing, by border-based groups upon his arrival in Thailand; we asked him follow-up questions; and we published his claims (among other intel) that the SPDC wanted a nuclear bomb by 2020 (published in August 2008), and that there was a large State Scholar program with Russia in support of this (which info we first published in November 2006, from other sources). In our Moe Jo-sourced articles, we did not reveal that he was a defector – we were trying to protect his family.
In the SMH article on your work by Hamish McDonald, Revealed: Burma’s nuclear bombshell:
You say: “Another Moscow-trained Burmese Army defector was picked up by U.S. intelligence agencies last year.” We had access to, and published intelligence from, this defector’s border debriefing as well.
This article further states that “Burma protested to Thailand about overflights by unmanned surveillance drones that were apparently launched across the Thai territory by U.S. agencies.” Dictator Watch was the first to reveal the use of the drones (in November 2008).
In the BP article, Burma’s nuclear bomb alive and ticking:
You mention that the SPDC has a uranium milling and enrichment facility at Tha Beik Kyin. We first disclosed this information (November 2006), although we view the enrichment claim at this point as unconfirmed (evidence for it, though, is building). We also first disclosed that there were at least two uranium mills (January 2007). We further believe that there may be a reactor at Tha Beik Kyin. In any case, there are three suspected reactor sites: Myaing in Magwe; Tha Beik Kyin; and the Setkhya Mountains (which many people have been speculating about for years, including Dictator Watch starting in January 2007, and which you identify as Naung Laing, which location we previously identified in November 2008).
You mention the SPDC’s five uranium deposits listed on its Ministry of Energy website. After extensive Internet research, I was the one who found this website, and publicized its existence (in January 2007).
You talk about the Google Earth photos of the suspected Myit Nge uranium operation. An associate of Dictator Watch scanned all the non-cost satellite imagery available for Burma, and identified this site (among others), which photos we published (in March 2007).
You mention plutonium reprocessing at Naung Laing. We first disclosed that the SPDC’s nuclear program might extend to plutonium (in August 2008).
You also talk about weaponization research at Naung Laing, which we also disclosed earlier (in November 2006). Continue reading “To: Desmond Ball and Phil Thornton-Your articles this past weekend in the Sydney Morning Herald and Bangkok Post about Burma’s nuclear program contained some new information and one new source (“Tin Min”). However, they also included more than ten pieces of information that Dictator Watch first reported.”
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