Vol. 3, Issue 9, March 29, 2005
Jules Verne Blamed for North Korea's WMD Program
The commission appointed more than a year ago by President Bush to investigate flawed intelligence on weapons of mass destruction is expected to deliver its report to the White House on Thursday, and people who have had sneak peeks of the report suggest that it will be critical of the national intelligence apparatus' failure to assess the impact of French literature on weapons programs throughout the world.
"The final report of a presidential commission studying American intelligence failures regarding illicit weapons includes a searing critique of how the C.I.A. and other agencies never properly assessed the impact of key information made readily available to hostile regimes by the French," said David Sanger in the New York Times. "We need to ask ourselves, why didn't we suspect the French right away?"
Noted 19th century author Jules Verne is singled out as the principal culprit for developments in both Iraq and North Korea's weapons technology programs, which have advanced dramatically in recent years thanks to books made widely available by the French.
"French publishing houses have gone out of their way to not only disseminate this information, but actually translate it into other languages," said Sanger. "They might as well just have given North Korea the weapons with a nice little bow on the top."
Jules Verne (1828-1905) was a popular French author whose predictions of advanced technology proved surprisingly prescient. He is best known for works including 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Around the World in Eighty Days. The many exacting descriptions of technologies in his works, ranging from weaponry to vehicles, have proved a rich source for rogue nations, say analysts.
"We ought to have figured it out when we found all those electrified submarines in Iraq," said White House spokesperson Scott McClellan. "They were even labeled "project Nautilus," for crying out loud."
According to the report, North Korea has almost certainly used Verne's works to develop Leyden-ball based weapons, video-conferencing phonotelephote machines, and extremely fast balloons capable of circumventing the globe in eighty days or less.
"May I point out that this puts North Korean balloons only forty days away from the American heartland," added McClellan. "We may need an entirely new defense network."
The report also claims that all of North Korea's infamous artillery batteries, which analysts believe are capable of reaching Seoul and most other points in South Korea, are actually modeled on the 900-foot long Columbiad cannon described in the 1867 work From the Earth to the Moon.
"There are a lot of lessons to be learned from this," said President Bush. "While it does appear that it is the French who have really betrayed the Western world in this instance, we need to take a hard look at all literature to make sure similar leaks aren't present elsewhere. As I've always said, literature can be a dangerous thing."
The French ambassador to the United States had no comment, other than to say "Why do I even bother coming to work?"