Jefferey Hodges over at Gypsy Scholar has a couple of new posts about the Korean stem cell scandal, including this one about a relative who heard a rumor that Roh had a secret contract with an American scientist, thus neatly combining Hwang's accusation of another Korean (Roh), while still maintaining the impulse to blame American conspirators for the whole thing.
As I said here, the allegations need only be possible, not plausible. It need not survive Occam's Razor, it merely needs to offer a figleaf to the country.
I once had a student who turned in a plagiarized paper. When I confronted her, she claimed to have written it herself. When I showed her the identical published version, she still claimed to have written it herself the night before. I asked if she was suggesting that somehow a columnist had hacked into her hard drive the night before and stolen her paper, she agreed that it must be the only explanation. When I pointed out that the article had been published some years before she claimed to have written it, she still asserted that the columnist must somehow have stolen it from her. When I asked if she was claiming that he had somehow stolen it from her in the future, she confirmed that the time-travelling columnist hacker must be what had happened. When I suggested that she might want to find a lawyer to sue the time-travelling-hacking-plagiarizing columnist, she proclaimed that it was exactly what she was determined to do. She strode out of my office with the ostensible purpose of filing a lawsuit against the columnist.
It does not matter how stupid the story is: "That's my story and I'm sticking with it" is a powerful lie through which liars enable others to pretend to believe them. There's nothing particularly Korean about that reaction -- in my own experience, I've seen it in every country in which I've lived. If Hwang can somehow get around his previous accusation of another Korean (Roh) and find some way to blame Americans (or even better, Americans and Japanese), enough people will convince themselves it is true that he might be able to escape most negative consequences.