[FOUNTAIN]I’ve got a secret“Secrets have always existed. They will evoke curiosity from the public, but rulers will always take advantage of them.” This was the mantra of human rights activists of the former Soviet Union during the Cold War era.
“Making more information public would prevent wars. We could make better decisions if we had more information,” some American organizations that advocate the abolition of government secrecy say.
Some believe that information-sharing would reduce risk. They claim that the free flow of information is the source of liberty and democracy and protects the citizens and society from information manipulation. There is nothing new about the theory that dark secrets destroy the people and society.
Some even say that it is not possible to keep secrets today because the world is dominated by the Internet and cutting-edge information technology.
But some secrets remained secret even after the Cold War ended. Take the countless secret military bases in the United States and closed cities in Russia.
The best-known example is the U.S. military’s Area 51, which U.S. President George W. Bush has recently redesignated as a “total secrecy” area for another year.
No one knows what Area 51 is for. The so-called “X-File” fanatics claim it is a secret test site where the U.S. government conducts experiments on dead aliens, their offspring, and flying saucers. Others insist that the site has been the birthplace of many high-tech weapons and devices since the spy reconnaissance aircraft U-2 was tested there in 1954. They say many illegal and environmentally damaging experiments have been conducted there.
In April 2002, a group of American scientists took photographs of Area 51 from a Russian satellite and posted the pictures on the Internet. They did not claim that the base was related to alien research or weapons tests, but made the pictures of a perfectly protected facility available to the public. Now anyone can access the information that has long been monopolized by a few.
When the truth is hidden, imagination fills the gap. Pyeongyang continues to claim that it has completed reprocessing spent fuel rods and resumed operations at its nuclear reactor. The entire country of North Korea is a huge fortification of the 21st century. Can anyone reveal what they are really up to?
by Kim Seok-hwan
The writer is an editorial writer of the JoongAng Ilbo.
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