Who’s Deceiving Whom? Open Source North Korea Under the Microscope

December 11, 2018
Joshua H. Pollack

The following is an excerpt from NK News

Along with the features of daily life that few of us could have anticipated a generation ago —smartphones, rent-a-scooters, Greek yogurt in every grocery store — something new has come to the world of think tanks and NGOs: the budding democratization of imagery intelligence.


In my own area of specialty—weapons of mass destruction, especially nuclear and missile programs—this change ought to come as a boon.

However strong the quality of classified analysis, its governmental consumers are also the overseers of its production, and have the privilege of deciding upon its selective public release.

The credibility of WMD intelligence in the eyes of the public has also been used and abused: after the ill-conceived, ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003, having some sort of check on the government’s claims seems more urgent than ever.

Transparent, credible alternatives to the official story are invaluable, and the means to create them now seem to be within reach.


For a variety of reasons, North Korea has drawn an unusually large share of the attention of think tanks working with commercial overhead imagery, especially those interested in WMD.

Continue reading at NK News

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