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The Crimea will soon be back in Russia

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By Col. W. Patrick Lang | March 1, 2014

It is becoming clear that the Nuland/neocon/NED campaign against Russia in Ukraine was probably a covert action intended to punish Russia for not supporting US/Israeli/Saudi and Turkish policy in Syria and to some extent with regard to Iran.

I have no specific knowledge of US actions in this but “back azimuths” run into events and actors make the true story obvious. Was there to be a second phase of the spread of revolution, a phase aimed at Russia itself? We will probably never know.

In any case Putin has called Obama’s bluff:

“Mr. Putin’s request, largely a formality, signaled publicly for the first time the Kremlin’s readiness to intervene militarily in Ukraine, and it served as a blunt response to President Obama, who just hours earlier pointedly warned Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty. Even as Mr. Putin submitted his request to the Senate, formally called the Federation Council, it was clear that forces allied with Moscow were largely in control of the disputed peninsula.” – NY Times

You should not threaten if you are not prepared to act. The Russian Strategic Missile Forces have the ability to end civilization in North America. The same is true with regard to the capabilities of US missile forces if they were applied to the Eurasian land mass.

For those who have forgotten or never knew, this is called MAD (mutual assured destruction). Russian and US ICBM forces cancel each other out as instruments of war.

Obama threatened penalties for Russia for disobedience to his warnings.

What could they be?

  • Conventional war conducted by the US in Russia’s back yard would be very foolish. The risk of escalation to nuclear war would loom large.
  • The editorial board of the Washington Post suggests diplomatic and economic sanctions against Russia.

What?

  • We would close our diplomatic posts in Russia and withdraw our ambassador?
  • We would boycott the G-8 meeting in Sochi?
  • We would persuade the Europeans to boycott Russian natural gas?
  • We would seek UN sanctions against Russia? They would veto anything like that.
  • We would not allow them to participate in diplomacy involving Syria and Iran?

You get the picture.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/02/world/europe/ukraine.html?hpw&rref=world&_r=0

http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/01/world/europe/ukraine-politics/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/condemnation-isnt-enough-for-russian-actions-in-crimea/2014/02/28/7b93b7c0-a09d-11e3-9ba6-800d1192d08b_story.html?tid=pm_opinions_pophttp://

http://www.haaretz.com/news/world/1.577114

Colonel W. Patrick Lang is a retired senior officer of U.S. Military Intelligence

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 3 Comments

Crimean war

Professor Mazin Qumsiyeh | Popular Resistance | March 2, 2014

It is sometimes instructive to learn a bit of history to reflect on current events because if we do not learn from history, we are bound to repeat the tragic history of useless wars. This came to me as I read about the escalating situation in Ukraine, where the US and western countries invested heavily to dislodge the Ukraine (strategically located on the Black Sea) from Russian influence. The coup that toppled the elected government in the capital and Russia’s strong influence in the mostly Russian Speaking Crimean peninsula of the Ukraine threatens to ignite another Crimean war (a prelude to many more European wars).

The Crimean war 1854-1856 was a devastating and useless conflict that was started with a with an incident here in Palestine (then under Ottoman Rule). The British were in the midst of an industrial economic boom (at least for the elites, the workers were essentially enslaved). To fuel this industrial boom, Britain (and to a lesser degree France) were aiming to expand their empires.  The weak Ottoman empire seemed a target. Russia’s influence on the religious Holy Places was high. This was understandable considering that most Palestinian Christians at the time and even still today are Orthodox (especially around the holy sites of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem).

Russian intellectuals had gone through a period of Westernization before the 1850s and then grew disillusioned with the west and its hypocrisy. Those who considered themselves Patriotic Russians thus became increasingly oriented towards Czar Nicholas and the Orthodox Church and increasingly opposed to the Western Encroachments on the borders of Russia.

When France instigated a provocation by Catholic supporters challenging long standing Orthodox traditions at the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, a fury of high level diplomatic lobbying ensued with threats and counter threats that escalated to the Crimean war. Alyce Mange wrote that “The Crimean War (1854-1856) was a war fought ostensibly for the preservation of the Ottoman Empire but actually for the curtailment of Russian encroachment.”

The war was costly to all sides concerned even though the Russian empire lost to the alliance of the three empires (Britain, France, Ottomans). But the origin of the problem remained here in Palestine where competing Russian, British, and French interests remained until the first draft of the Sykes-Picot agreement (which divided their influences).  Russia withdrew and so it remained for Britain and France to divide the spoils of WWI in the “Near East/Middle East” (I prefer the term Western Asia to these colonial terms).  In parallel, there was the growth of the world Zionist movement that got from France and Britain the infamous Jules Cambon and Arthur Balfour Declarations (1917) partially as quid pro quo for the Zionists lobbying the US to enter the war.

Fast forward from 1854 to 2014 and we see again the beating of war drums for hegemony with triggers in Palestine. The circumstances differ but I am afraid this could also degenerate into a useless devastating war.

The Zionist movement was unhappy about the lack of progress in their efforts (using others) to destroy the Iran-Syria-Lebanon axis. A big part of their failure to achieve success in pushing for more conflicts (as they did with Iraq) is due to the fact that Russia (and China) refuse to go along and realized that the end-game is total Western hegemony in Western Asia (with Israel assuming even more power over Western foreign policies). The Russians and Chinese also took lessons from the disastrous US attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan and NATO attacks on Libya which had terrible consequences (including spreading radicalism and terrorism around the area). They calculated that they must draw a line.

The Zionist movement became involved (as they do frequently) because their key members are in the US State Department and also heavily influential in France and Britain. They thought that we must break Russia’s will to resist encroachment in Western Asia.

Ukraine seemed like an ideal “soft belly” for Russia. It seems possible that reports such as this one on Israelis involved in the protests in Kiev may have some basis. But most Israeli meddling is not done via Israelis but via their now obedient people working for the US government.

It is not a coincidence that protests escalated in Ukraine and Venezuela. I do not know what will happen, but suggest that all wars are useless and counterproductive (to all sides); the history of the 1854 Crimean war should give us pause.

What I suggest is that the talk about democracy by Western leaders like Kerry, Obama, Hollande and company is wearing thin. Most people know that democracy is not achieved by coups against elected governments (whether in Egypt or Ukraine) and certainly not done on behalf of countries who support dictatorships everywhere that are friendly to their interests (see Saudi Arabia as a glaring example).

For the good people of Ukraine (both in the East and the West), do not let your country be used for power politics again. But also I suggest that they remember who their neighbors for the next few hundred years will be (hint it is not Israel or the US or England). But even those countries will not remain immune from destabilization and change if they do not learn to share this planet earth and respect other people. Remember might does not make right and even great empires fell before. This brings me back to the point I always emphasize” READ HISTORY (objectively and not tribally).

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ukrainian warships voluntarily leave Sevastopol: sources

RT | March 2, 2014

About 10 Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet ships have left the naval base in Sevastopol, with several vessels now heading to Odessa, administrative sources have said. The ships left the base voluntarily but some of them broke down and returned, they claimed.

Over the last 24 hours, “about 10 [war]ships and vessels of the Ukrainian Black Sea Fleet have left the Sevastopol base,” a source in the government of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea told Interfax on Sunday.

“Naturally, no one has compelled them to do so,” the government source added.

The administration of the Crimean autonomy has nothing to do with the moves of the Ukrainian ships, an administrative source also told RIA Novosti.

Several vessels have since returned to the base in Sevastopol “because of malfunctions,” the source said.

Meanwhile, former Ukrainian troops were due to swear allegiance to the Crimean authorities in Sevastopol at 5pm local time (15:00 GMT). An unnamed official source earlier told RIA Novosti that “the majority of the Ukrainian armed forces deployed in Crimea” have passed to the side of the region. The transition was made “without a single shot fired,” the source said.

Ukrainian state agencies have been categorically denying both the claims of Ukrainian soldiers switching sides en masse and, earlier, reports of warships leaving Sevastopol.

However, the governor of southern Ukrainian Odessa Region told local media that several Ukrainian ships are sailing to the city of Odessa and it is being decided where they will dock.

A Russian media report on Saturday claimed that Ukraine’s Navy flagship, the Hetman Sahaidachny frigate has refused to follow orders from Kiev, came over to Russia’s side and was returning home from the Gulf of Aden flying the Russian naval flag. Various Ukrainian media denied the report as “false” and “propaganda,” but gave only a Facebook statement of a former Navy officer turned journalist in support of the rebuttal.

This comes as the newly appointed Navy Chief rear admiral Denis Berezovsky has sworn allegiance to the people of Crimea, according to RIA Novosti.

“I, Berezovsky Denis, swear allegiance to the Crimean people and pledge to protect it, as required by the [army] regulations,” Berezovsky said.

Hours after the announcement, the self-proclaimed government in Kiev dismissed the Navy Chief and launched a treason case against him.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Argo, Temperature, and OHC

By Willis Eschenbach | Whats Up With That? | March 2, 2014

I’ve been thinking about the Argo floats and the data they’ve collected. There are about 4,000 Argo floats in the ocean. Most of the time they are asleep, a thousand metres below the surface. Every 10 days they wake up and slowly rise to the surface, taking temperature measurements as they go. When they reach the surface, they radio their data back to headquarters, slip beneath the waves, sink down to a thousand metres and go back to sleep …

At this point, we have decent Argo data since about 2005. I’m using the Argo dataset 2005-2012, which has been gridded. Here, to open the bidding, are the ocean surface temperatures for the period.

Argo_Surf_Temp_2005_2012

Figure 1. Oceanic surface temperatures, 2005-2012. Argo data.

Dang, I like that … so what else can the Argo data show us?

Well, it can show us the changes in the average temperature down to 2000 metres. Figure 2 shows that result:

Argo_Avg_0m_to_2000m_2005_2012Figure 2. Average temperature, surface down to 2,000 metres depth. Temperatures are volume-weighted.

The average temperature of the top 2000 metres is six degrees C (43°F). Chilly.

We can also take a look at how much the ocean has warmed and cooled, and where. Here are the trends in the surface temperature:

trend ocean surface temps argo 2005 2012Figure 3. Decadal change in ocean surface temperatures.

Once again we see the surprising stability of the system. Some areas of the ocean have warmed at 2° per decade, some have cooled at -1.5° per decade. But overall? The warming is trivially small, 0.03°C per decade.

Next, here is the corresponding map for the average temperatures down to 2,000 metres:

trend ocean 0to2000m temps argo 2005 2012Figure 4. Decadal change in average temperatures 0—2000 metres. Temperatures are volume-averaged.

Note that although the amounts of the changes are smaller, the trends at the surface are geographically similar to the trends down to 2000 metres.

Figure 5 shows the global average trends in the top 2,000 metres of the ocean. I have expressed the changes in another unit, 10^22 joules, rather than in °C, to show it as variations in ocean heat content.

OHC argo 0to2000 2005to2012 loess decompFigure 5. Global ocean heat content anomaly (10^22 joules). Same data as in Figure 4, expressed in different units.

The trend in this data (6.9 ± 0.6 e+22 joules per decade) agrees quite well with the trend in the Levitus OHC data, which is about 7.4 ± 0.8 e+22 joules per decade.

Anyhow, that’s the state of play so far. The top two kilometers of the ocean are warming at 0.02°C per decade … can’t say I’m worried by that.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , | Leave a comment

IAEA rejects Israel’s anti-Iran nuclear rhetoric

Press TV – March 1, 2014

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has rejected Israel’s demand to release an alleged report about the Iranian nuclear energy work, saying there is no report that may indicate any diversion in Tehran’s program.

“The IAEA has not prepared any report containing new information relating to possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program,” spokeswoman Gill Tudor said on Friday.

The remarks came after Israel demanded that the UN nuclear watchdog agency go public with all information it has regarding the Iranian nuclear energy work.

The demand was made following a Thursday report by Reuters alleging that the agency had held off an update over the Iranian nuclear energy program last year due to concerns that it may undermine nuclear talks with Tehran.

“The agency’s reports on Iran to its Board of Governors are factual and impartial. Their content is not influenced by political considerations,” Tudor added.

Iran has repeatedly emphasized that its nuclear energy program is meant for civilian purposes.

Officials in Tehran have already called on the IAEA to come clean on anything it has regarding the suspicions over the diversion of the Iranian nuclear energy program.

However, the agency has so far found no diversion in Iran’s nuclear program to publicize it.

Iran is in talks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council — Russia, China, France, the UK and the US — plus Germany to fully resolve the decade-old dispute over the Tehran’s nuclear energy program.

The two sides inked an interim nuclear deal in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013. The Geneva deal took effect on January 20. The two sides are now in pursuit of a final comprehensive deal.

Israel’s allegations against Iran come as the Tel Aviv regime, which is widely believed to be the only possessor of nuclear arms in the Middle East, reportedly maintains between 200 and 400 atomic warheads.

Furthermore, the Israeli regime has never allowed any inspection of its nuclear facilities and continues to defy international calls to join the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Wars for Israel | , , , , | Leave a comment

UN finds no evidence Iran seeks nuclear arms: Rouhani

Al-Akhbar | March 2, 2014

President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that despite “thousands of hours” of inspection, the UN’s atomic watchdog has found no evidence of military objectives in Iran’s nuclear drive.

His remarks came on the eve of an International Atomic Energy Agency board of governors meeting in Vienna, on the sidelines of which Iran will hold expert-level talks with world powers.

Western powers “all know that nuclear science in Iran follows a peaceful path”, Rouhani said in a speech broadcast on state television.

“The agency has conducted thousands of hours of inspection, and announced it has not found any diversion from the peaceful use (of nuclear technology) to military purposes.”

In its latest report on Iran in late February, the IAEA said Iran was sticking to a nuclear freeze it agreed under a November interim deal with world powers.

The watchdog’s report came a month after the deal came into force.

Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of world powers are seeking to reach a lasting accord that would allay Western suspicions that Tehran’s nuclear activities mask military objectives.

As part of such a comprehensive deal, the six seek to pressure Iran over its ballistic missile program, which could theoretically provide Tehran with a device to deliver a nuclear warhead, should it choose to build one. Iran has consistently denied any claims that it seeks to militarize it’s nuclear program.

Rouhani on Sunday defended the program, saying it has “always been defensive in nature, and will always remain so”.

On Saturday, Rouhani had called for calm amid provocative rhetoric from Iranian hardliners.

“Sometimes one does not seek war but talks as if one does, and this is seen as a threat to other parties. This is an unnecessary provocation,” he told military personnel and defense ministry officials.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy is based on detente and building trust,” he added.

Since taking office in August, Rouhani has vowed to rebuild strained relations with the West.

(AFP, Al-Akhbar)

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | Leave a comment

Putin Tells Obama Russia Will Act In Case of Ukraine Violence

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RIA Novosti | March 2, 2014

MOSCOW – Russian leader Vladimir Putin told US President Barack Obama in a telephone conversation Sunday that Moscow reserved the right to protect its own interests and those of Russian speakers in the event of violence breaking out in eastern Ukraine and Crimea.

The Kremlin press service said Putin responded to Obama’s expression of concern over possible Russian plans to deploy troops in Ukraine by drawing attention “to the provocative, criminal acts of ultranationalist elements being effectively encouraged by authorities in Kiev.”

Putin said that there was a real threat to the life of many Russians on Ukraine’s territory, the press service said.

Russia’s upper house of parliament voted Saturday to approve military action on Ukraine, citing the same motivations as those mentioned by Putin.

There is already a substantial Russian military presence in southern Ukraine, courtesy of the leased Black Sea Fleet naval base in the Crimean Peninsula.

Large movements of Russian troops have been reported around the peninsula, which is in defiance of express instructions from Ukrainian authorities this week for Russian soldiers to remain confined to their quarters.

In the 90-minute conversation with Putin, Obama condemned Russia’s military intervention, calling it a “clear violation of Ukrainian sovereignty and territorial integrity” and describing it as a breach of international law.

The US leader urged Russia to minimize tension by pulling back troops to bases in Crimea and refrain from any involvement in affairs anywhere else in Ukraine.

In a gesture aimed at signaling the degree of its distress over the course of events, the White House said it is suspending planned participation in preparatory meetings for a G-8 summit due to be held in June in the southern Russian city of Sochi, which last month hosted the Winter Olympics.

“Going forward, Russia’s continued violation of international law will lead to greater political and economic isolation,” the White House said in a read-out of the conversation between Obama and Putin.

Crimea is home to a large ethnic Russian community, which has reacted with alarm to what it sees as the aggressively nationalistic government that has taken hold since last month’s ouster of President Yanukovych. Eastern Ukraine, which was another political stronghold for Yanukovych, also has a substantial Russian-speaking population and saw many anti-government protests Saturday.

Obama said that the United States understood the need to protect the ethnic Russian minority in Ukraine and that it would push Kiev to ensure their rights weren’t hindered.

“The Ukrainian government has made clear its commitment to protect the rights of all Ukrainians and to abide by Ukraine’s international commitments, and we will continue to urge them to do so,” the White House said in the readout.

Russia’s Federal Migration Service said it has noted a sharp spike in applications from Ukrainian citizens seeking refuge.

The head of the migration service’s citizenship department, Valentina Kazakova, said 143,000 people had applied for asylum in the last two weeks of February alone.

“People are afraid for the fate of those close to them and are asking not just for protection, but also to help them receive fast-tracked Russian citizenship,” Kazakova said. “A large number of applications are from members of Ukrainian law enforcement bodies and government officials fearing reprisals from radically disposed groups.”

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Hell is Obama Thinking?

Worst Man for the Job

By Daniel Patrick Welch – 3/01/2014

Nothing is quite as nauseating as watching the hypocrisy and hubris with which President Obama ‘warns’ the Russian president not to ‘interfere’ in Ukraine, telling the Russians there would be ‘costs to pay.’ It’s a surreal move, echoed by his equally creepy and out-of-touch consigliore and chief “diplomat,” the morally bankrupt John Kerry. Astonishing in its audacity and lack of regard for history, truth or facts, this bellicose blather seems aimed only at the idiots over whom he presides, the fools and tools in congress and the press, and his bought-and-paid-for lackeys in European capitals.

Outside the bubble, the sabre rattling is alarming and threatening. Having stood the issue completely on its head, No Drama Obama ignores how it looks to Russia, China and anyone with a skeptical mind. It is so jarring that it leaves only two options: is he crazy or does he really want war? That’s why the Russian Senate, offended to the core, asked President Putin to recall the US ambassador over Obama’s remarks.

How oblivious or arrogant do you have to be to spend $5 billion dollars destabilizing a country (the actual total is undoubtedly much higher), have your diplomats caught on tape planning a coup, bring a gang of fascist thugs to power on Russia’s doorstep–whose first order of business is to outlaw the Russian language, conduct a purge of opposing parties, threaten the Russian-speaking population, threaten to restore Ukraine’s nuclear status and provoke and threaten Russia non-stop… and have the *balls* to lecture anyone about interfering? Oh, add to the pot that you have done the same exact thing in several other countries in the past few years alone. It simply boggles the mind.

Continue poking Putin by suggesting he is being a “bully” when he moves to protect the Russian naval base, protect Russians, and listen to the wishes of the elected government of the region who ask for his support, as as new protests erupted across eastern Ukraine rejecting the putschists in Kiev, with Russian flags being raised over government buildings and protesters brandished signs saying “In Russia We Have Brothers. In Europe We Are Slaves” and “Where We Are, It is Also Russia.” This is called an ‘invasion’ by the people who bought and organized a fascist coup. Bizarro World.

But why do I focus on Obama? After all, he is little more than an irrelevant placeholder president, a sort of ventriloquist’s dummy for the vested interests and forces that put him where he is. Furthermore, I am not a fan of any Great Man theory of history that implies superhuman powers to people instead of historical forces. Accordingly, I don’t really go in for ad hominem attacks, which seems to be the only stock-in-trade of the western media, whose searing, eternal question seems to be who is the next Hitler.

Maybe it’s because I’m in the grip of the question the rest of the world is pondering: is he crazy or does he really want war? I can’t get past wondering whether he is sleepwalking through his presidency, having given over control of his administration to a foreign policy apparatus gone wild–or if he indeed believes the hypocritical warmongering crap that escapes his mouth. In short, Either he eats babies for breakfast or he has no clue that he is being led by the nose by psychopaths.

It’s important because in either case he is perhaps the most dangerous man who has ever held the office. His chief flaw is *exactly* the puzzle piece that is *least* amenable to being a leader at this historical juncture. It is a horrific perfect storm, and one that has allowed him to blunder disastrously close to World War III on at least two occasions.

The measure of the man has always told us he was an extremely glib politician. On watching an early speech of his, my wife was shocked at what all the fuss was about, and actually quoted King Herod out loud to the TV: “Take him away/ He’s got *nothing* to say!” Yeah, she’s funny like that. But still, glibness isn’t always hollowness. We got more of a glimpse when he joked casually about sending drones after any boys who had designs on his precious daughters. Later, referring to the boys he actual did mow down with his drones, he joked to aides–equally casually, we assume–that he never thought he ‘would wind up being so good at killing people.’

But the clincher for me is one memory which still haunts me from campaign 2008: a late rally in some Florida dump where Clinton explained (actually apologizing for going off script) that Obama was The Guy because he had said to the council of elders behind closed doors–you tell me what’s the right thing to do and I’ll sell it. At the time I did a double take, and it raised the hairs on the back of my neck. This is not a leader, a president, or even a thinker at all, but a glorified and willing Pitchman-in-Chief, a sort of real life Clayton Bigsby selling an ideology he is too blind to see.

It was a bit of the mask slipping… and it was incredibly ominous. I felt it and said so to my wife at the time, but she had checked out long before. Never thought he was anything more than a charlatan and a whore – from the first time she heard him, actually. Damn, I envy her clarity sometimes. It’s like they made a clone of Truman in a test tube, only this time not a hick… scary. Jimmy Burns led Truman around on a leash, and this misplaced trust in Wise Men led to war crimes such as Hiroshima and Nagasaki, among others.

In another famous example, Kennedy stupidly let the Bay of Pigs invasion proceed, as he was advised by ‘wiser men’ who told him it was already in the pipeline. However, he wisely vetoed air support, realizing that is was a stupid plan laid out by zealots. Obama has neither the balls nor the intelligence to pull off any such thing. There was a flicker over Syria in August, but it appears to have been a mirage brought on by Russian missiles and wiser generals. He has the fatal flaw which makes all smart men stupid: heeding the counsel of fools and those with their own secret agenda masquerading as Wise Men.

The zealots who have his ear have been in power for a long time, and they are the kind of fanatics who avoid scrutiny in public and accountability even to themselves, so stupid or proud that they still see chasing the Russians out of Afghanistan as their greatest triumph, and take no responsibility for having created, from the ground up, the very concept of militarized global jihad.

Even cutting him the most possible slack, he listens to them–and that makes him delusional, a hollow man issuing idle threats. As logic dictates, it is the US who should be worrying about costs, starting with billions to set the coup in motion. That will turn out to have been a pittance.

He is now a dangerous man being counseled by dangerous men. Just today, listening to his smug, arrogant self humiliate a heckler, someone trying to shout a tiny bit of truth through the noise, is truly chilling. The trouble is, Obama may not be lying. He really doesn’t know what the guy is talking about, and doesn’t know that this is the plan–at what may be the most dangerous moment in history–and will go along with whichever three loudest advisers tell him is the right thing. The saddest and scariest part is that he doesn’t even seem to know it–a true button pusher. Soulless.

But this is a measure of the man. At a friendly, fundraising event, with full control and no opposition, he could have said anything he wanted, could have made some sensible retort. Instead he chose to be mean and demeaning, calling the guy a drunk and implying that he is crazy. So now I have to add Bad Man to my list. No lie lives forever, and some day his uppance will come, as Stewie Griffin says. He richly deserves the place he has earned in history, and I have lost interest in splitting hairs: enabler, dupe or antichrist–take your pick.

Writer, singer, linguist and activist Daniel Patrick Welch lives and writes in Salem, Massachusetts, with his wife, Julia Nambalirwa-Lugudde. Translations of articles are available in in up to 30 languages.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

John Holdren’s Epic Fail

White House science adviser attacks Roger Pielke Jr. for his Senate testimony, Pielke responds with a skillful counterstrike

Watts Up With That? | March 1, 2014

From http://1.usa.gov/1mRYomm (PDF) I have converted the text for presentation here with Dr. Pielke’s response.

Dr. Roger Pielke responds:

I’m flattered that the White House has posted up an attack on me. Here is my response:

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2014/03/john-holdrens-epic-fail.html

Please share far and wide.

Holdren’s letter is first, followed by Pielke’s response below.

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Drought and Global Climate Change: An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr

By John P. Holdren – February 28, 2014

Introduction

In the question and answer period following my February 25 testimony on the Administration’s Climate Action Plan before the Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) suggested that I had misled the American people with comments I made to reporters on February 13, linking recent severe droughts in the American West to global climate change. To support this proposition, Senator Sessions quoted from testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee the previous July by Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., a University of Colorado political scientist. Specifically, the Senator read the following passages from Dr. Pielke’s written testimony:

It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.

Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less, frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century”. Globally, “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.”

Footnotes in the testimony attribute the two statements in quotation marks within the second passage to the US Climate Change Science Program’s 2008 report on extremes in North America and a 2012 paper by Sheffield et al. in the journal Nature, respectively.

I replied that the indicated comments by Dr. Pielke, and similar ones attributed by Senator Sessions to Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, were not representative of main- stream views on this topic in the climate-science community; and I promised to provide for the record a more complete response with relevant scientific references.

Dr. Pielke also commented directly, in a number of tweets on February 14 and thereafter, on my February 13 statements to reporters about the California drought, and he elaborated on the tweets for a blog post on The Daily Caller site (also on February 14). In what follows, I will address the relevant statements in those venues, as well. He argued there, specifically, that my statements on drought “directly contradicted scientific reports”, and in support of that assertion, he offered the same statements from his July testimony that were quoted by Senator Sessions (see above). He also added this:

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that there is “not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought.”

In the rest of this response, I will show, first, that the indicated quote from the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) about U.S. droughts is missing a crucial adjacent sentence in the CCSP report, which supports my position about drought in the American West. I will also show that Dr. Pielke’s statements about global drought trends, while irrelevant to my comments about drought in California and the Colorado River Basin, are seriously misleading, as well, concerning what is actually in the UN Panel’s latest report and what is in the current scientific literature.

Drought trends in the American West

My comments to reporters on February 13, to which Dr. Pielke referred in his February 14 tweet and to which Senator Sessions referred in the February 25 hearing, were provided just ahead of President Obama’s visit to the drought-stricken California Central Valley and were explicitly about the drought situation in California and elsewhere in the West.

That being so, any reference to the CCSP 2008 report in this context should include not just the sentence highlighted in Dr. Pielke’s testimony but also the sentence that follows immediately in the relevant passage from that document and which relates specifically to the American West. Here are the two sentences in their entirety (http://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap3- 3/Brochure-CCSP-3-3.pdf):

Similarly, long-term trends (1925-2003) of hydrologic droughts based on model derived soil moisture and runoff show that droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century (Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends (Groisman et al., 2004; Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006).

Linking Drought to Climate Change

In my recent comments about observed and projected increases in drought in the American West, I mentioned four relatively well understood mechanisms by which climate change can play a role in drought. (I have always been careful to note that, scientifically, we cannot say that climate change caused a particular drought, but only that it is expected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought in some regions―and that such changes are being observed.)

The four mechanisms are:

1. In a warming world, a larger fraction of total precipitation falls in downpours, which means a larger fraction is lost to storm runoff (as opposed to being absorbed in soil).

2. In mountain regions that are warming, as most are, a larger fraction of precipitation falls as rain rather than as snow, which means lower stream flows in spring and summer.

3. What snowpack there is melts earlier in a warming world, further reducing flows later in the year.

4. Where temperatures are higher, losses of water from soil and reservoirs due to evaporation are likewise higher than they would otherwise be.

Regarding the first mechanism, the 2013 report of the IPCC’s Working Group I, The Science Basis (http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf, p 110), deems it “likely” (probability greater than 66%) that an increase in heavy precipitation events is already detectable in observational records since 1950 for more land areas than not, and that further changes in this direction are “likely over many land areas” in the early 21st century and “very likely over most of the mid-latitude land masses” by the late 21st century The second, third, and fourth mechanisms reflect elementary physics and are hardly subject to dispute (but see also additional references provided at the end of this comment).

As I have also noted in recent public comments, additional mechanisms have been identified by which changes in atmospheric circulation patterns that may be a result of global warming could be affecting droughts in the American West. There are some measurements and some analyses

suggesting that these mechanisms are operating, but the evidence is less than conclusive, and some respectable analysts attribute the indicated circulation changes to natural variability. The uncertainty about these mechanisms should not be allowed to become a distraction obscuring the more robust understandings about climate change and regional drought summarized above.

Global Drought Patterns

Drought is by nature a regional phenomenon. In a world that is warming on the average, there will be more evaporation and therefore more precipitation; that is, a warming world will also get wetter, on the average. In speaking of global trends in drought, then, the meaningful questions are (a) whether the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts are changing in most or all of the regions historically prone to drought and (b) whether the total area prone to drought is changing.

Any careful reading of the 2013 IPCC report and other recent scientific literature about on the subject reveals that droughts have been worsening in some regions in recent decades while lessening in other regions, and that the IPCC’s “low confidence” about a global trend relates mainly to the question of total area prone to drought and a lack of sufficient measurements to settle it. Here is the key passage from the Technical Summary from IPCC WGI’s 2013 report (http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf, p 112):

Compelling arguments both for and against significant increases in the land area affected by drought and/or dryness since the mid-20th century have resulted in a low confidence assessment of observed and attributable large-scale trends. This is due primarily to a lack and quality of direct observations, dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice, geographical inconsistencies in the trends and difficulties in distinguishing decadal scale variability from long term trends.

The table that accompanies the above passage from the IPCC’s report―captioned “Extreme weather and climate events: global-scale assessment of recent observed changes, human contribution to the changes, and projected further changes for the early (2016-2035) and late (2081-2100) 21st century”―has the following entries for “Increases in intensity and/or duration of drought”: under changes observed since 1950, “low confidence on a global scale, likely changes in some regions” [emphasis added]; and under projected changes for the late 21st century, “likely (medium confidence) on a regional to global scale”.

Dr. Pielke’s citation of a 2012 paper from Nature by Sheffield et al., entitled “Little change in global drought over the past 60 years”, is likewise misleading. That paper’s abstract begins as follows:

Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming1-3. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area of drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming4-5.

The paper goes on to argue that the PDSI, which has been relied upon for drought characteriza- tion since the 1960s, is too simple a measure and may (the authors’ word) have led to over- estimation of global drought trends in previous climate-change assessments―including the IPCC’s previous (2007) assessment, which found that “More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics.”

The authors argue for use of a more complex index of drought, which, however, requires more data and more sophisticated models to apply. Their application of it with the available data shows a smaller global drought trend than calculated using the usual PDSI, but they conclude that better data are needed. The conclusion of the Sheffield et al. paper has proven controversial, with some critics pointing to the inadequacy of existing observations to support the more complex index and others arguing that a more rigorous application of the new approach leads to results similar to those previously obtained using the PDSI.

A measure of the differences of view on the topic is available in a paper entitled “Increasing drought under global warming in observations and models”, published in Nature Climate Change at about the same time as Sheffield et al. by a leading drought expert at the National Center for Climate Research, Dr. Aiguo Dai. Dr. Dai’s abstract begins and ends as follows:

Historical records of precipitation, streamflow, and drought indices all show increased aridity since 1950 over many land areas1,2. Analyses of model-simulated soil moisture3, 4, drought indices1,5,6, and precipitation minus evaporation7 suggest increased risk of drought in the twenty-first century. … I conclude that the observed global aridity changes up to 2010 are consistent with model predictions, which suggest severe and widespread droughts in the next 30-90 years over many land areas resulting from either decreased precipitation and/or increased evaporation.

The disagreement between the Sheffield et al. and Dai camps appears to have been responsible for the IPCC’s downgrading to “low confidence”, in its 2013 report, the assessment of an upward trend in global drought in its 2007 Fourth Assessment and its 2012 Special Report on Extreme Events (http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/) .

Interestingly, a number of senior parties to the debate―including Drs. Sheffield and Dai―have recently collaborated on a co-authored paper, published in the January 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change, entitled “Global warming and changes in drought”. In this new paper, the authors identify the reasons for their previous disagreements; agree on the need for additional data to better separate natural variability from human-caused trends; and agree on the following closing paragraph (quoted here in full):

Changes in the global water cycle in response to the warming over the twenty-first century will not be uniform. The contrast in precipitation between wet and dry regions and between wet and dry seasons will probably increase, although there may be regional exceptions.

Climate change is adding heat to the climate system and on land much of that heat goes into drying. A natural drought should therefore set in quicker, become more intense, and may last longer. Droughts may be more extensive as a result. Indeed, human-induced warming effects accumulate on land during periods of drought because the ‘air conditioning effects’ of water are absent. Climate change may not manufacture droughts, but it could exacerbate them and it will probably expand their domain in the subtropical dry zone.

Additional References (with particularly relevant direct quotes in italics)

Christopher R. Schwalm et al., Reduction of carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America, Nature Geoscience, vol. 5, August 2012, pp 551-556.

The severity and incidence of climatic extremes, including drought, have increased as a result of climate warming. … The turn of the century drought in western North America was the most severe drought over the past 800 years, significantly reducing the modest carbon sink normally present in this region. Projections indicate that drought events of this length and severity will be commonplace through the end of the twenty-first century.

Gregory T. Pederson et al., The unusual nature of recent snowpack declines in the North American Cordillera, Science, vol. 333, 15 July 2011, pp 332-335.

Over the past millennium, late 20th century snowpack reductions are almost unprecedented in magnitude across the northern Rocky Mountains and in their north-south synchrony across the cordillera. Both the snowpack declines and their synchrony result from unparalleled springtime warming that is due to positive reinforcement of the anthropogenic warming by decadal variability. The increasing role of warming on large-scale snowpack variability and trends foreshadows fundamental impacts on streamflow and water supplies across the western United States.

Gregory T. Pederson et al., Regional patterns and proximal causes of the recent snowpack decline in the Rocky Mountains, US, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, 16 May 2013, pp 1811-1816.

The post-1980 synchronous snow decline reduced snow cover at low to middle elevations by

~20% and partly explains earlier and reduced streamflow and both longer and more active fire seasons. Climatologies of Rocky Mountain snowpack are shown to be seasonally and regionally complex, with Pacific decadal variability positively reinforcing the anthropogenic warming trend.

Michael Wehner et al., Projections of future drought in the continental United States and Mexico, Journal of Hydrometeorology, vol. 12, December 2011, pp 1359-1377.

All models, regardless of their ability to simulate the base-period drought statistics, project significant future increases in drought frequency, severity, and extent over the course of the 21st century under the SRES A1B emissions scenario. Using all 19 models, the average state in the last decade of the twenty-first century is projected under the SRES A1B forcing scenario to be conditions currently considered severe drought (PDSI<-3) over much of the continental United States and extreme drought (PDSI<-4) over much of Mexico.

D. R. Cayan et al., Future dryness in the southwest US and the hydrology of the early 21st century drought, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 107, December 14, 2010, pp 21271-21276.

Although the recent drought may have significant contributions from natural variability, it is notable that hydrological changes in the region over the last 50 years cannot be fully explained by natural variability, and instead show the signature of anthropogenic climate change.

E. P. Maurer et al., Detection, attribution, and sensitivity of trends toward earlier streamflow in the Sierra Nevada, Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 112, 2007, doi:10.1029/2006JD08088.

The warming experienced in recent decades has caused measurable shifts toward earlier streamflow timing in California. Under future warming, further shifts in streamflow timing are projected for the rivers draining the western Sierra Nevada, including the four considered in this study. These shifts and their projected increases through the end of the 21st century will have dramatic impacts on California’s managed water system.

H. G. Hidalgo et al., Detection and attribution of streamflow timing changes to climate change in the western United States, Journal of Climate, vol. 22, issue 13, 2009, pp 3838-3855, doi: 10.1175/2009JCLI2740.1.

The advance in streamflow timing in the western United States appears to arise, to some measure, from anthropogenic warming. Thus the observed changes appear to be the early phase of changes expected under climate change. This finding presages grave consequences for the water supply, water management, and ecology of the region. In particular, more winter and spring flooding and drier summers are expected as well as less winter snow (more rain) and earlier snowmelt.

==============================================================

John Holdren’s Epic Fail

By Roger Pielke, Jr. – 3/01/2014

Last week in a Congressional hearing, John Holdren, the president’s science advisor, characterized me as being outside the “scientific mainstream” with respect to my views on extreme events and climate change. Specifically, Holdren was responding directly to views that I provided in Senate testimony that I gave last July (and here in PDF).

To accuse an academic of holding views that lie outside the scientific mainstream is the sort of delegitimizing talk that is of course common on blogs in the climate wars. But it is rare for political appointee in any capacity — the president’s science advisor no less — to accuse an individual academic of holding views are are not simply wrong, but in fact scientifically illegitimate. Very strong stuff.

Given the seriousness of Holdren’s charges and the possibility of negative professional repercussions via email I asked him to elaborate on his characterization, to which he replied quite quickly that he would do so in the form of a promised follow-up to the Senate subcommittee.

Here is what I sent him:

Dear John-

I hope this note finds you well. I am writing in response to your characterization of me before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight yesterday, in which you said that my views lie “outside the scientific mainstream.”

This is a very serious charge to make in Congressional testimony about a colleague’s work, even more so when it comes from the science advisor to the president.

The context of your comments about me was an exchange that you had with Senator Sessions over my recent testimony to the full EPW Committee on the subject of extreme events. You no doubt have seen my testimony (having characterized it yesterday) and which is available here:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2013.20.pdf

Your characterization of my views as lying “outside the scientific mainstream” is odd because the views that I expressed in my testimony are entirely consonant with those of the IPCC (2012, 2013) and those of the US government’s USGCRP.  Indeed, much of my testimony involved reviewing the recent findings of IPCC SREX and AR5 WG1. My scientific views are also supported by dozens of peer reviewed papers which I have authored and which have been cited thousands of times, including by all three working groups of the IPCC. My views are thus nothing if not at the center of the “scientific mainstream.”

I am writing to request from you the professional courtesy of clarifying your statement. If you do indeed believe that my views are “outside the scientific mainstream” could you substantiate that claim with evidence related specifically to my testimony which you characterized pejoratively? Alternatively, if you misspoke, I’d request that you set the record straight to the committee.

I welcome your response at your earliest opportunity.

Today he has shared with me a 6-page single space response which he provided to the Senate subcommittee titled “Critique of Pielke Jr. Statements on Drought.” Here I take a look at Holdren’s response.

In a nutshell, Holdren’s response is sloppy and reflects extremely poorly on him. Far from showing that I am outside the scientific mainstream, Holdren’s follow-up casts doubt on whether he has even read my Senate testimony. Holdren’s justification for seeking to use his position as a political appointee to delegitimize me personally reflects poorly on his position and office, and his response simply reinforces that view.

His response, (which you can see here in full in PDF) focuses entirely on drought — whereas my testimony focused on hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and drought. But before he gets to drought, Holdren gets off to a bad start in his response when he shifts the focus away from my testimony and to some article in a website called “The Daily Caller” (which is apparently some minor conservative or Tea Party website, and the article appears to be this one).

Holdren writes:

Dr. Pielke also commented directly, in a number of tweets on February 14 and thereafter, on my February 13 statements to reporters about the California drought, and he elaborated on the tweets for a blog post on The Daily Caller site (also on February 14). In what follows, I will address the relevant statements in those venues, as well. He argued there, specifically, that my statements on drought “directly contradicted scientific reports”, and in support of that assertion, he offered the same statements from his July testimony that were quoted by Senator Sessions.

Let me be quite clear — I did not write anything for “The Daily Caller” nor did I speak or otherwise communicate to anyone there. The quote that Holdren attributes to me – “directly contradicted scientific reports” — is actually written by “The Daily Caller.” Why that blog has any relevance to my standing in the “scientific mainstream” eludes me, but whatever. This sort of sloppiness is inexcusable.

Leaving the silly misdirection aside — common on blogs but unbecoming of the science advisor to the most powerful man on the planet — let’s next take a look at Holdren’s substantive complaints about my recent Senate testimony.

As a starting point, let me reproduce in its entirety the section of my Senate testimony (here in PDF) which discussed drought.

Drought 

What the IPCC SREX (2012) says:

  • “There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have  experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”
  • For the US the CCSP (2008)20 says: “droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”21

What the data says:

8. Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”22


Figure 8.
Figure 2.6 from CCSP (2008) has this caption: “The area (in percent) of area in severe to extreme drought as measured by the Palmer Drought Severity Index for the United States (red) from 1900 to present and for North America (blue) from 1950 to present.”

Note: Writing in Nature Senevirnate (2012) argues with respect to global trends that, “there is no necessary correlation between temperature changes and long-term drought variations, which should warn us against using any simplifications regarding their relationship.”23

Footnotes:

20 CCSP, 2008: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. [Thomas R. Karl, Gerald A. Meehl, Christopher D. Miller, Susan J. Hassol, Anne M. Waple, and William L. Murray (eds.)]. Department of Commerce, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Washington, D.C., USA, 164 pp.

21 CCSP (2008) notes that “the main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.”

22 This quote comes from the US Climate Change Science Program’s 2008 report on extremes in North America.

23 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/491338a.htm

Let’s now look at Holdren’s critique which he claims places me “outside the scientific mainstream.”

Holdren Complaint #1:  ”I will show, first, that the indicated quote [RP: This one: ““droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”21”] from the US Climate  Change Science Program (CCSP) about U.S. droughts is missing a crucial adjacent sentence in  the CCSP report, which supports my position about drought in the American West. . . That being so, any reference to the CCSP 2008 report in this context should include not just the sentence highlighted in Dr. Pielke’s testimony but also the sentence that follows immediately in the relevant passage from that document and which relates specifically to the American West.”

What is that sentence is question from the CCSP 2008 report that Holdren thinks I should have included in my testimony? He says it is this one:

“The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.”

Readers (not even careful readers) can easily see Footnote 21 from my testimony, which states:

CCSP (2008) notes that “the main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.”

Um, hello? Is this really coming from the president’s science advisor?

Holdren is flat-out wrong to accuse me of omitting a key statement from my testimony. Again, remarkable, inexcusable sloppiness.

Holdren’s reply next includes a section on drought and climate change which offers no critique of my testimony, and which needs no response from me.

Holdren Complaint #2: Holdren implies that I neglected to note the IPCC’s reference to the fact that drought is a regional phenomena: “Any careful reading of the 2013 IPCC report and other recent scientific literature about on the subject reveals that droughts have been worsening in some regions in recent decades while lessening in other regions.”

Again, even a cursory reading of what I quoted from the IPCC shows that Holdren’s complaint does not stand up. Here is the full quote that I included in my testimony from the IPCC on drought:

“There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”

Again, hello? Seriously?

Holdren Complaint #3: Near as I can tell Holdren is upset that I cited a paper from Nature that he does not like, writing, “Dr. Pielke’s citation of a 2012 paper from Nature by Sheffield et al., entitled “Little change in global drought over the past 60 years”, is likewise misleading.”

He points to a January 2014 paper in Nature Climate Change as offering a rebuttal to Sheffield et al. (2012).

The first point to note in response is that my citing of a paper which appears in Nature does not provide evidence of my being “outside the scientific mainstream” no matter how much Holdren disagrees with the paper. Academics in the “scientific mainstream” cite peer-reviewed papers, sometimes even those in Nature. Second, my testimony was delivered in July, 2013 and the paper he cites as a rebuttal was submitted in August, 2013 and only published in early 2014. I can hardly be faulted for not citing a paper which had not yet appeared.  Third, that 2014 paper that Holdren likes better actually supports the IPCC conclusions on drought and my characterization of them in my Senate testimony.The authors write:

How is drought changing as the climate changes? Several recent papers in the scientific literature have focused on this question but the answer remains blurred.

The bottom line here is that this is an extremely poor showing by the president’s science advisor. It is fine for experts to openly disagree. But when a political appointee uses his position not just to disagree on science or policy but to seek to delegitimize a colleague, he has gone too far.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Leave a comment

Resolving Nuclear Arms Claims Hinges on Iran’s Demand for Documents

By Gareth Porter | IPS | March 2, 2014

The Barack Obama administration has demanded that Iran resolve “past and present concerns” about the “possible military dimensions” of its nuclear program as a condition for signing a comprehensive nuclear agreement with Tehran.

Administration officials have suggested that Iran must satisfy the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) regarding the allegations in the agency’s report that it has had a covert nuclear weapons program in the past.

But the record of negotiations between Iran and the IAEA shows Tehran has been ready for the past two years to provide detailed responses to all the charges of an Iranian nuclear weapons work, and that the problem has been the refusal of the IAEA to share with Iran the documentary evidence on which those allegations have been based.

The real obstacle to providing those documents, however, has long been a U.S. policy of refusing to share the documents on the assumption that Iran must confess to having had a weaponization program.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation, Ali Akbar Salehi, declared February 12, “The authenticity of each allegation should be proven first, then the person who submitted it to the agency should give us the genuine document. When we are assured of the authenticity, then we can talk to the agency.”

Neither the IAEA nor the Obama administration has responded publicly to Salehi’s statement. In response to a query from IPS, the spokesperson for the National Security Council, Bernadette Meehan, said the NSC officials would have no comment on the Iranian demand for access to the documents.

The spokesperson for IAEA Director Yukiya Amano did not answer a request from IPS Thursday for the agency’s comment.

But a draft text of an agreement being negotiated between the IAEA and Iran dated February 20, 2012, shows that the only difference between the two sides on resolving issues about allegations of Iranian nuclear weapons work was Iran’s demand to have the documents on which the allegations are based.

The draft text, which was later published on the website of the Arms Control Association, reflects Iran’s deletions and additions to the original IAEA proposal. It calls for Iran to provide a “conclusive technical assessment” of a set of six “topics”, which included 12 distinct charges in the report in a particular order that the IAEA desired.

Iran and the IAEA agreed that Iran would provide a “conclusive technical assessment” on a list of 10 issues in a particular order. The only topics that Iran proposed to delete from the list were “management structure” and “Procurement activities”, which did not involve charges of specifically nuclear weapons work.

The two sides had agreed in the draft that the IAEA would provide a “detailed explanation of its concerns”. But they had failed to agree on provision of documents to Iran by the IAEA. The IAEA had proposed language that the agency would provide Iran with the relevant documents only “where appropriate”. Iran was insisting on deletion of that qualifying phrase from the draft.

The first priority on the list of topics to which both sides had agreed in the draft was “Parchin” – referring to the claim of intelligence from an unnamed state that Iran had installed a large cylinder at the Parchin military reservation.

A November 2011 IAEA report suggested the cylinder was intended for testing nuclear weapons designs and had been built with the assistance of a “foreign expert”. Iran also agreed to respond in detail on the issue of the “foreign expert”, who has been identified as Vyacheslav Danilenko, a Ukrainian specialist on nanodiamonds.

The evidence associated with that claim and others published in the 2011 report shows that they were based on intelligence reports and documents given to the IAEA by Israel in 2008-09. Former IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei referred to a series of documents provided by Israel in his 2012 memoirs.

Iran also agreed to respond in detail to allegations that Iran had sought to integrate a nuclear weapon into the reentry vehicle of the Shahab-3 missile, and that it had developed high explosives as a “detonator” for a nuclear weapon.

Both alleged activities had been depicted or described in documents reported in the U.S. news media in 2005-06 as having come from a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program.

Those documents, about whose authenticity ElBaradei and other senior IAEA officials have publicly expressed serious doubts, have now been revealed as having been given to Western intelligence by an anti-regime Iranian terrorist organization.

Former senior German foreign office official Karsten Voigt revealed in an interview last year for a newly published book by this writer that senior officials of the German intelligence agency BND had told him in November 2004 that the BND had gotten the entire collection of documents from a member of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK) who had been one of their sources, and that they did not consider the source to be reliable.

The MEK, considered by the United States and European states as a terrorist organization, had been used by Saddam Hussein’s regime to support the war against Iran and by Israel to issue intelligence and propaganda that Mossad did not want attributed to it.

ElBaradei, who retired from the IAEA in November 2009, had declared repeatedly that sharing the documents was necessary to ensure “due process” in resolving the issue, but the United States had prevented him from doing so.

In his final statement to the Board of Governors on September 7, 2009 he appealed to “those who provided the information related to the alleged weaponization studies to share with Iran as much information as possible.”

A former IAEA official, who asked not to be identified, told IPS that the United States had allowed only a very limited number of documents to be shown to Iran in the form of Power Point slides projected on a screen.

A May 2008 IAEA report described a number of documents purported to be from the Iranian weapons program but said that the IAEA “was not in possession of the documents and was therefore unfortunately unable to make them available to Iran.”

Around 100 pages of documents were given by the United States to the agency to share with Iran, the former official said, but none of the documents described in the report were among them.

The U.S. policy of denying Iranian access to the documents continued during the Obama administration, as shown by a U.S. diplomatic cable from Vienna dated April 29, 2009 and released by WikiLeaks. At a P5+1 technical meeting, both U.S. and IAEA officials were quoted as implying that the objective of the policy was to press Iran to confess to the activities portrayed in the papers.

U.S. officials said that a failure by Iran to “disclose any past weaponization-related work” would “suggest Iran wishes to hide and pursue its past work, perhaps to keep a future weapons option”.

IAEA Safeguards Chief Olli Heinonen made it clear that no copies of the relevant documents charging Iran with weaponization would be provided to Iran and complained that Iran had continued to claim that the documents were fabricated.

In its report of November 14, 2013, the IAEA said it had received more information – presumably from Israel – that “corroborates the analysis” in its 2011 report.

The past unwillingness of the Obama administration to entertain the possibility that the documents provided by the MEK were fabricated or to allow Iran the opportunity to prove that through close analysis of the documents, and the IAEA’s continued commitment to the weaponization information it has published suggest that the issue of past claims will be just as contentious as the technical issues to be negotiated, if not more so.

Gareth Porter, an investigative historian and journalist specializing in U.S. national security policy, received the UK-based Gellhorn Prize for journalism for 2011 for articles on the U.S. war in Afghanistan. His new book “Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare”, was published Feb. 14.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment