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Published On: Fri, Feb 17th, 2017

Italian Businessman Dumped North Korean Nuclear Waste off the Coast of Taiwan: SISMI Documents

nsnbc : Documents declassified by the Italian military intelligence service SISMI reveal that Italian businessman Giogio Comerio dumped nuclear waste in the Mediterranean, as well as off the coasts of Somalia and Taiwan.

Photo courtesy Greenpeace

Photo courtesy Greenpeace

The dumping of the radioactive waste happened during the 1990s, reveal documents declassified by the Italian military intelligence service SISMI on Wednesday. The cache of 61 documents was submitted to an Italian parliamentary investigation commission.

The documents name Giorgio Comerio as an Italian businessman who made a fortune sending ships loaded with nuclear waste and other hazardous materials to sea to have the waste dumped to the bottom of the Mediterranean Sea as well as off the coasts of Somalia and Taiwan.

Timing and Positioning is Everything?

The dumping of nuclear waste was a “common practice” in Europe until environmental groups like Greenpeace and direct action against the dumping attracted so much public attention that the dumping was dumped. Nuclear waste from Italy was regularly dumped in the Mediterranean while nuclear waste from Germany, France, the UK, among others, was dumped in the North Sea, the Irish Sea, among others.

Readers who are old enough and were active in the anti-nuclear and environmental movements in Europe between the 1970s – 1990s will remember bruises or worse sustained during demonstrations when police cracked down on protesters and police in European countries criminalized protesters as “left-wing radicals” and/or “terrorist sympathizers”.

The consequences of this dumping are rarely reported in major European media and even more rarely discussed by parliamentary groups. So why would Italy’s SISMI suddenly declassify a cache with 61 documents and why would an Italian parliamentary group all the sudden be interested in what is usually classified, omitted or ignored?

The suddenly declassified SISMI documents reveal that Comerio began collaborating closely with the government of the People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) a.k.a. North Korea around 1995. In return for the payment of US$227 million he disposed of 200,000 barrels of radioactive waste, whose final resting place must be on the ocean floor near Taiwan, according to SISMI.

Photo courtesy KCNA

Photo courtesy KCNA

The release of the documents coincides with a renewed round of sanctions against the DPRK after the country successfully test-fired a strategic ballistic missile and renewed hysteria over the DPRK’s nuclear program. Ironically, the three major permanent UN Security Council members, USA, Russia as well as China all had their political incentives, and in the case of Russia and China also strong economic incentives for slamming the DPRK with sanctions in 2013.

The Italian SISMI’s decision to declassify the 61 documents detailing the dumping of North Korean nuclear waste off the shore of Taiwan also coincides with until now unsubstantiated reports, according to which “Pyongyang is responsible for the assassination of Kim Jong-Un’s half-brother Kinm Jong-Nam” on Monday.

Taiwanese environmental groups responded to the release of the documents by launching protests and by demanding that the government in Taipei launch investigations and conduct tests to determine whether the dumping of waste had impacted Taiwan’s environment and the condition of the ocean. The government should also find out the precise location where the Italian company dumped the waste, activists said. Unlike protesters in Europe who were bruised when they protested against the dumping of European nuclear waste, non of the Taiwanese protesters concerned with North Korean nuclear waste suffered any bruises inflicted by police.

The Taiwanese Cabinet’s Atomic Energy Council responded to the protests by claiming it was not aware of the practice described in the SISMI documents – while State media reports suggest that the Cabinet will have to have a closer look at the documents. Between 1989 and 1995, an estimated 90 ships carrying nuclear waste were sunk in the Mediterranean, and as recently as 2003, the intelligence service presented a report to the Italian government saying that two ships loaded with industrial waste and other toxic materials had arrived in the Somali capital Mogadishu. Surely, most of this waste wasn’t from North Korea.

CH/L – nsnbc 17.02.2017

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