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South Korea throws strop at Google Earth

Military installations laid bare

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The South Korean government is to take the US to task over Google Earth on the grounds that the globetrotting online service shows sensitive military installations laid bare in a way which might benefit North Korea.

Presidential spokesman Kim Man-soo said earlier this week the powers that be were planning on "raising concerns with US authorities" after South Korean newspapers highlighted the shocking fact that Google Earth (free software download, but Mac and Linux users move along, nothing to see here...) showed "images of the presidential Blue House and military bases".

Well, since South Korea is still (technically) at war with its jolly northern neighbour, we suppose it's conceivable that Google might inadvertantly aid the Godless Commie Pyongyang regime were it to decide to march on Seoul, red banners aflutter.

On the other hand, Google has some impressive material on North Korea, too, such as this snapshot of Yongbyon - home of the country's main nuclear research facility:

Yongbyon as seen by Google Earth

As for the South Korean stuff, it's not quite as drastic as the government claims. Here's the best grab we could get of Osan air base, just 45 nautical miles south of the DMZ, and which was overrun twice by Chinese and North Korean forces during the Korean War:

Osan air base

Hmmm. Regarding the Blue House, we did a quick swoop over Seoul looking for a big blue building with a stretch limo parked outside, but got distracted when we discovered another stucture which seems to house South Korea's entire vintage air reserve, including a very poorly-camouflaged B52 (arrowed: by us, we hasten to add, not a Google Earth employee with pinko espionagesque tendencies):

That South Korean vintage air capability in full

We leave it to readers to decide whether or not Google Earth represents a very real threat to the South Korean Way of Life™, while we get back to searching for Jesus in Peru and Steve Jobs in Nevada. ®

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