- Obama military strategy too weak for future security, panel reports
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Panama charges crew of N. Korean freighter carrying weapons
Question of the Day
Panamanian authorities have charged the crew of a North Korean-flagged freighter that was smuggling fighter jets and air-defense missiles from Cuba, and they have asked the United Nations to inspect the cargo to see if the crew was violating international sanctions against Pyongyang.
The 35 crew members will face charges under Panamanian law for endangering public safety by not declaring the munitions aboard, prosecutor Javier Caraballo told reporters.
The 509-foot freighter, the Chong Chon Gang, “never declared war materiel, and that in itself is a violation of the rules and a grave danger for the transit through the Panama Canal,” Mr. Caraballo said, according to BBC News.
“This type of behavior could carry a sentence of between four and six years,” he said, according to Agence France-Presse, noting that the crew had declined to speak with investigators.
Mr. Atkiss, who works for the Command Consulting Group in Washington, said the crew had “set the ship’s electronic control system on fire” when it was boarded.
The fire disabled a crane that unloads the ship, requiring 10,000 tons of sugar to be removed manually from the cargo hold.
Mr. Atkiss said it is not unprecedented for the entire crew to be charged.
“In a situation where there’s illicit activity aboard, the crew are subject to charges, depending on the degree to which they are complicit,” he said.
The crew has been in custody since the North Korea-bound ship was boarded last week as it was transiting the Panama Canal.
Authorities said they had received a tip from intelligence sources that drugs could be on board.
After several days of searching — and the removal by hand of many thousands sacks of sugar — Panamanian officials found a fire-control radar set for a high-altitude anti-aircraft missile system, and the country’s president tweeted a picture of it Monday evening.
Cuba admitted Tuesday that the radar, nine missiles “in parts and spares,” two MiG fighters and 15 fighter jet engines were among 240 tons of undeclared weapons on board.
As punishment for its relentless pursuit of illegal ballistic missile and nuclear weapons technology, North Korea is subject to almost a complete U.N. Security Council arms embargo, which prohibits the sale and/or transfer of almost every kind of weapon except small arms.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
- Senator's memo shows Iran links in Homeland Security's troubled immigration program
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- Dems back bill to fix problems in investor visa program
- Democrats proceed with Mayorkas vote despite pending investigation
- NSA monitored 'World of Warcraft' players
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Catholic League slams Obama: 'Do Christian lives mean so little to you?'
- EDITORIAL: The real Lois Lerner exposed in newly released emails
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world