Aletho News


Israeli soldiers invade more Palestinian homes in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | June 18, 2014

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Yesterday the Israeli army invaded a family house in the H1 area, supposedly under full Palestinian Authority civil and security control, of al-Khalil (Hebron). The father of the family is very ill with heart disease; the family was forced in to one room and was not allowed to leave. The eight Israeli soldiers used the house as an unofficial army post, both to rest and to view the area. The soldiers stayed there overnight, terrifying the family, as they had no idea when the soldiers would leave. At approximately 11:00 am, the soldiers left the house, however they informed the family that they would return.

The soldiers then entered the next house, relatives of the same family, with four young children. First they searched the house, and then occupied the children’s room on the second floor. They moved the children’s beds to get more space and placed a black blanket to cover the doorway.

The soldiers took shifts, sitting in front of the room watching the family, while the rest were sleeping, eating, and viewing the area. The family told the ISMers present that the soldiers also took showers. The soldiers seemed very uncomfortable with the ISM volunteers in the house, and behaved very aggressively towards them, and the family members who were taking photos.

The family offered the soldiers to use the roof instead of the children’s room, but they refused.

The military presence in the house caused a lot of fear for the family, they were unable to carry out their daily routines, and the children were very upset that they could not enter their room; they were afraid the soldiers would take their belongings and break their toys.

After five hours the family convinced the military to leave, as they left, it was witnessed them joining with a much larger group of soldiers.

Since last Friday, there has been a large increase in home invasions all over the West Bank. This is part of the collective punishment inflicted on the Palestinian population, since the disappearance of three Israeli settler youth on Thursday.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , | 1 Comment

Rwanda’s dangerous diplomatic missions as staging grounds for criminal activity

By Theogene Rudasingwa | Pambazuka News | June 12, 2014

President Paul Kagame’s 20 year reign of terror is characterised by a distorted and deceptive narrative that he saved Tutsi from genocide perpetrated by Hutu; over-reliance on violence and war-making nationally and regionally; ‘Tutsi-fication’ of the leadership of the military while eliminating real and potential competitors; transformation of the ruling Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) into a rubber stamp to enforce his will while eliminating real or perceived contenders to power; usurping legislative, executive and judiciary powers; closure of political space for political parties, civil society, independent media and intellectual activity; personal control of a financial empire that is spread across public and private sectors; and, a mindset of a serial killer and mass murderer who relentlessly acts with impunity.

It is out of this anti-people, sectarian and anti-democratic domestic policy that Kagame’s dangerous foreign policy is derived, characterized by belligerence, aggression, war-making and plunder in the Great Lakes region; blackmail, grand deception and intimidation that preys on international guilt from failure to prevent or stop the 1994 genocide; an anti-African posture masquerading behind pan-Africanist language; and above all, an immoral foreign policy, founded on the premise that opponents, whether heads of state or ordinary citizens, must die or be jailed.

The Kagame doctrine is not simply wrong. It is anti-Rwandan, militaristic, deceptive, predatory, belligerent, anti-African and immoral. In short, it is dangerous for Rwanda, the Great Lakes region, Africa and the international community.

This predatory and highly criminalised foreign policy is executed through its embassies abroad: Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Senegal, DRC, Nigeria, Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Canada, China, India, Japan, USA, United Nations, South Korea, Singapore, Russia, Turkey, and multiple consulates.

Kagame and about a dozen Tutsi military officers, all former refugees in Uganda, preside over this global criminal enterprise to assassinate opponents. Over the last twenty years, agents of the criminalised Rwandan state have struck terror in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda, killing millions of Congolese and Rwandans. His assassins have struck in Kigali, Nairobi, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Bujumbura, Maputo, Johannesburg, West Africa, Kinshasa, London, Brussels, and Stockholm. Victims of this criminal crusade include Heads of State, opposition politicians, human rights activists, journalists and ordinary Rwandan citizens. According to Kigali sources, confirmed by a number of foreign security agencies, Kagame is poised for even more daring criminal moves in the heart of the United States, Canada, and the rest of the world, as he intensifies hiring assassins from far-flung areas of eastern Europe and the Middle East.

To do that, he is directly or indirectly enabled by money accumulated from the state treasury, his companies Crystal Ventures and Horizon Group, and aid mainly from generous benefactors like the World Bank, IMF, European Union, United States and United Kingdom governments. He is enabled by the rich and powerful in the West, notably former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, American Pastor Rick Warren, Jewish Rabbi Shmuley Boteach and scores of western consultants making money from Rwanda’s, and the region’s, open veins. In Africa, his principal backer and co-accused in regional adventures is President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda.

Rwanda’s embassies abroad have become the staging grounds for criminal activity. In addition to so-called military attachés and secretaries, officially accredited as diplomats, there are many other agents deployed informally to hunt down, intimidate, divide, corrupt, and assassinate Rwandans. Non-Rwandans critical to Kigali’s domestic and foreign policies have occasionally been victims, and will increasingly be targeted according to Kagame’s new desperate directives.

Rwandans must get more united, mobilised and organised to stop these murderous schemes once and for all, through a regime change that must allow sustainable societal transformation to take place.

The international community can no longer claim not to know the depth and extent of criminal activities by Kagame’s regime. The international community may choose to remain silent, insensitive and frozen in inertia as in the past.

Alternatively, we urge Africans and the rest of the world community to support Rwanda’s struggle for freedom, human rights, democracy, justice for all, genuine unity and reconciliation, healing, peace and prosperity for all Rwandans and the Great Lakes region.

Dr. Theogene Rudasingwa was President Paul Kagame’s Chief of Staff, Rwanda’s Ambassador to the United States, and Secretary General of Rwanda’s ruling party, RPF. He is currently the Coordinator of Rwanda National Congress (RNC) and the author of ‘Healing A Nation: A Testimony’

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | Leave a comment

Poroshenko calls for unilateral ceasefire in E. Ukraine

RT | June 18, 2014

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has announced a ceasefire plan for government troops in the East of the country. The move comes after a telephone conversation with Russian President Vladimir Putin which allegedly discussed a ceasefire.

As part of the proposed plan, Poroshenko is calling for all pro-federalization forces in the region to lay down their arms.

“The plan will begin with my order for a unilateral cease-fire,” he said, while refraining from mentioning when he would give the order. Poroshenko, who was elected president in a May 25 vote boycotted by many voters in eastern Ukraine, stressed that all parties involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine must adhere to the plan, Interfax news agency reported.

The president said that Ukraine would also close its border with Russia, as the Kiev government claims that pro-federalization forces are being sent reinforcements from neighboring Russia.

“There is a big risk that criminals may take advantage of the ceasefire,” Poroshenko said. He added that an amnesty would be offered to those who had not committed crimes against Ukraine during the ongoing conflict in the east of the country, while so-called “mercenaries” will be given the chance to leave the country.

Poroshenko’s government believes that most of the violence in eastern Ukraine has been caused by Russian mercenaries, something which Moscow categorically denies. The Russian government has condemned the deployment of Kiev’s punitive “anti-terrorist” operation in eastern Ukraine and urged the Ukrainian government to withdraw their troops on a number of occasions.

The call for a ceasefire follows a telephone call between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents that took place Tuesday. The Ukrainian government confirmed that a ceasefire had been discussed, as well as a number of measures to facilitate its implementation.

“The president held phone talks with the Russian president in the context of implementing the Ukrainian president’s peace plan, including in relation to the de-escalation of the situation in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions,” the Ukrainian statement said.

Last week, Russia told the Ukrainian government that negotiations between the two countries over the tumultuous East are impossible amid the “thunder of cannons and artillery fire.”

Russia has also called on Ukraine to address the “deliberate endangerment” of journalists in the region following the death of Russian journalists Igor Kornelyuk and Anton Voloshin on Tuesday.

According to UN calculations, at least 356 people have been killed in the regions of Lugansk and Donesk since Kiev’s “anti-terror” operation began. Since Kiev’s deployment of government troops, violence has escalated in the region, with daily reports of clashes between anti-government activists and soldiers.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , | Leave a comment

Global fear of Iran’s ‘controversial’ nuclear programme is a ‘US-Israeli construct’

By Henriette Johansen | MEMO | June 17 ,2014

Iran’s nuclear talks with the P5+1[1] are taking place in Vienna. A “solid commitment” from Iran is needed, ensuring that its stated peaceful atomic energy programme is not a clandestine attempt to build nuclear weapons. The Iranians have found themselves needing to make a leap towards lifting the crushing international sanctions, notably those imposed by the US. It is the basis of these sanctions that MEMO has re-examined with a group of senior researchers in the field.

When Ellie Geranmayeh, Iran expert at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) spoke with MEMO, she insisted, “In the same way that any potential military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme needs to be explained to the United Nations, the West also needs to explain the basis of its accusations and suspicions.”

Ever since the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported “sensitive enrichment and reprocessing activity” in Iran in 2003, the country has been under close supervision. The UN Security Council decided to impose economic sanctions for Iran’s non-compliance with its previous request to suspend enrichment activities before extending them in 2007, 2008 and 2010. According to Reuters, Washington was recently pushing for an even more severe attack on the Iranian economy, but this was rejected by the Security Council. Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, argued that the sanctions are “illegal” and imposed by “arrogant leaders”. The sanctions are devastating the Iranian economy and have been imposed despite the fact that Iran’s uranium enrichment is being held below 5 per cent, consistent with developing fuel for a civilian nuclear power plant. US pressure has led several nuclear contracts between Iran and foreign governments to fall through.

The United States Enrichment Corporation (USEC)[2], meanwhile, has used its official website to “call for action” to change the course of its declining share of the global enrichment market, underscoring the need to “limit the spread of enrichment technologies to rogue states”. This controversial Western centric use of the phrase “rogue states” demands a thorough investigation, according to many experts.

Furthermore, the West’s foundation for these claims against Iran has too many fault lines “to begin to even list them,” claims historian and Iran nuclear expert Dr Gareth Porter. The single biggest factor pushing “the elite’s obsession over Iran as a threat and as an enemy,” he says, “is that the basic premise was laid down early at the end of the Cold War.” His ground-breaking work recently received the annual Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism from the London-based journalists’ Frontline Club. MEMO spoke to Porter about the trajectory of the “imminent Iranian nuclear threat” and its construct by a handful of powerful actors with a particular political agenda and documents “with little reliability” that the media over the last decade have had no qualms about accepting and sharing as (unauthenticated) “evidence”.

1) “The laptop documents”

One of the main anomalies in America’s porous trajectory on Iran is the pseudo-crucial “laptop documents”. Presented by the US to the Security Council, these 1,000 pages are alleged to contain research on nuclear weapons-related activities, stolen from the computer of an Iranian scientist or engineer who was, it is claimed, involved in the programme. “This was a trick to cover the truth,” said Porter. He recapped how the documents were passed to Germany’s intelligence agency by a member of the Mujahideen-E-Khalq (MEK) an Iranian terrorist organisation in exile, which has been a client of Israel’s Mossad spy agency for several years. German intelligence and many other government officials, including ex-US Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned that the US and EU should not make the mistake of basing policy on this information.

2) Redesigned Iranian missile

Another central anomaly is the “discovery” that the Iranian missile re-entry vehicle is depicted in the documents as being redesigned to accommodate a nuclear payload. “This was one that had been discarded by Iran at least two years before the drawings were said to have been made,” Porter argues, “not according to Iranian sources, but an authoritative Western source: the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).”

3) Technical errors

“The discovery that the same drawings of an alleged effort to redesign the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab-3 missile contained numerous technical errors,” Gareth Porter contends, “indicated again that they had not been done by those involved in Iran’s missile programme.”

4) Codename (5.15)

This was given to one of the sub-projects in the alleged nuclear weapons research programme that was, in truth, the number assigned to a contract with the civilian atomic energy organisation of Iran or an ore processing facility and was signed two years before the supposed covert research programme was even said to have begun.

Israel’s position

Last week, at the Herzliya Conference, Israel’s platform for the articulation of national policy, Global Jewish News Source reported major Israeli politicians with strong beliefs in this propaganda. “What is at stake is not merely Israel’s position in the Middle East,” argued Likud’s Yuval Steinitz, “what is at stake is the fate of the entire world… Iran is a nuclear threshold state. It just hasn’t created the weapons yet.”

Lina Khatib of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace think-tank explained to MEMO how Israel has been trying to push the US to take military action against Iran to stop its nuclear enrichment programme. Further, the government in Tel Aviv has also been engaging in “clandestine intelligence operations to halt Iran’s nuclear developments, for example through cyber-attacks,” she warned. In response, America pushed back against Israel’s request for military strikes against Iran, and is not likely to include Israel as a formal partner in the Vienna negotiations over the nuclear file, “though the US will ensure that Israeli interests are represented during the talks”.

“Overwhelming” evidence exists, according to Dr Gareth Porter, that it was Israel’s Mossad that produced the falsified documents that have propelled the “manufactured crisis” forward, “not just once, but twice”. First came the “laptop documents” that surfaced in 2004 followed in 2008-2009, two years into his research, when a series of intelligence reports and allegedly Iranian documents were given to the IAEA directly by the Israelis, “resulting in more accusations following the November 2011 IAEA report”.

According to Porter, Israeli’s pressure on the Obama administration to make demands of Iran will ensure that the talks fail. “Thus far that Israeli strategy has succeeded, because the Obama administration has demanded a cut in Iranian centrifuges that makes it difficult to envision a final compromise.” Basing any military action on false dossiers would be as irresponsible as the invasion of Iraq in 2003; the world witnessed what consequences that had, when soldiers on the ground had no clue about what was going on.

Current talks

Iran has been talking separately with most of the members of the P5+1 group in advance of the formal meetings week. Although reports have been modestly positive about the potential outcome, the final accord date set as July 20 is already predicted to be given a six-month extension by government officials from most of the countries involved.

Porter remains “very worried” that the talks will fail because of America’s “hard-line” refusal to tolerate any Iranian enrichment of uranium to support even its present nuclear reactor, “much less future reactors”. He recently interviewed Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who has not given up hope of renewed and extended diplomatic flexibility on behalf of the US. Even so, he indicated that statements had been made in the talks, as well as to the media, that were “posturing”. He implied that this was politically dangerous because it would make later adjustment in the US negotiation stance very difficult.

According to Lina Khatib, we will see the lifting of some sanctions, but a comprehensive deal will take time to be made and implemented. However, as Iran’s nuclear programme is primarily, she says, “aimed at giving Iran political weight in the Middle East and international recognition as a major regional player, rather than at preparing to conduct a nuclear attack,” there might be more “muscle-flexing” involved than seen so far.

The threat of an ISIS take-over of major Iraqi cities near the border with Iran has collided with the current negotiations on the country’s nuclear programme and arguably paved the way for an indirect willingness to reach an agreement with America. The pace of events means that Iran, which in the 1980s fought former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for eight years, may be willing to cooperate with Washington to bolster Iraq’s Shi’ite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that he will consider such cooperation, if the US takes action in Iraq.

However, a US official cautioned against reading too much into the latest talks: “No one should expect that all of a sudden, overnight, even if we resolve the nuclear agreement, that everything will change. It will not. The fundamentals remain exactly as they are. Until we resolve the nuclear issue there cannot be any kind of fundamental change in this relationship.”


[1] Iran has had meetings with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States. These six are known as the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) or alternatively as the E3+3, used by European countries. These meetings are intended to resolve concerns about Iran’s nuclear programme.

[2] USEC: the American corporation that contracts with the United States Department of Energy to produce enriched uranium for use in nuclear power plants.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

What is the Quality of Scientific Evidence Against Iran?

Although the legal debates about Iran are not taking place in an international court – at least not yet – the veracity of the scientific evidence espoused by all sides to support their legal arguments is nevertheless an extremely important matter, particularly in light of the debacle of the 2003 Iraq war having been based, at least in part, on bad technical and scientific analysis of intelligence information on similar questions. – Dan Joyner

By Yousaf Butt | Arms Control Law | June 18, 2014

This week the P5+1 and Iranian officials meet again to try to narrow differences over a comprehensive nuclear deal, which is to last for an as-yet unknown duration. Reaching an agreement will be a challenging task because Iran and P5+1 seem to disagree – among other things – about the enrichment capacity Iran should be allowed during the (unknown) term of the comprehensive deal.

According to the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) limits on Iran’s enrichment capacity are important because they would lengthen the time needed for Iran to “breakout” and quickly enrich uranium to weapons-grade in any hypothetical race to a uranium-based device.

But Jeffrey Lewis of the Monterey Institute has suggested that such limits are meaningless, saying, “This is completely wrong. Breakout is precisely the wrong measure of whether a deal is successful,” because the Iranians – goes the argument – could use a covert facility to breakout if they wanted to do that.

Instead, intensive verification and intrusive inspections above and beyond what is codified in international law by the so-called “Additional Protocol” have been suggested to try to address this fear.

Amid this debate within the nonproliferation community, Gareth Porter last week poked a hornet’s nest by suggesting that key evidence against Iran was fabricated and distributed by Iran’s adversaries Israel and the MEK group.

This is not the first time someone has claimed that forged evidence was being used by the IAEA in its case against Iran: highly respected experts have warned about this before.

In a separate report last week, Mr. Porter assesses that David Albright, the founder and executive director of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, DC, a prominent commentator on nonproliferation and Iran’s nuclear program has embraced an alarmist line on the Iran issue – despite his knowledge that there were serious problems with the evidence on which it was based.

My intention here isn’t to evaluate the specific items of evidence presented in Mr. Porter’s reports but to weigh in with my own expert analysis –  some of it done in collaboration with Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress of the Monterey Institute – of the quality of the evidence against Iran.

By way of context, Iran has never been formally accused of manufacturing nuclear weapons. The IAEA did determine that Iran was in “non-compliance” with its safeguards agreement in 2005. But this had to do with technical nuclear material accountancy matters — “non-compliance” does not mean Iran was making nuclear weapons. For example, South Korea and Egypt both violated their safeguards agreements in 2004 and 2005. But these U.S. allies were never even referred to the UN Security Council — let alone targeted for sanctions. Pierre Goldschmidt, a former deputy director of safeguards at the IAEA, has noted the “danger of setting bad precedents based on arbitrary criteria or judgments informed by political considerations” at the IAEA.

It is not always easy to obtain access to the actual evidence being used against Iran, but occasionally some is leaked to the press and is amenable to scientific scrutiny. Below, I list some of this evidence being used against Iran, as well some historical record of the group(s) making the allegations:

[1]. An indication into the quality – or, rather, lack thereof – of the evidence against Iran comes from my analysis (done with another physicist, Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress of the Monterey Institute) of the graphs published by the Associated Press purporting to show an Iranian interest in modeling a nuclear explosion. Aside from the fact that there is nothing illegal with doing such theoretical modeling, our analysis showed that there was a large numerical error in the graph and that the time-scale of the explosion was wrong.

We concluded that the AP graphs were either shoddy science and/or simply amateurish forgeries.

[2]. In February 2013, the Washington Post published a story that “purchase orders obtained by nuclear researchers show an attempt by Iranian agents to buy 100,000 … ring-shaped magnets” and that such “highly specialized magnets used in centrifuge machines … [are] a sign that the country may be planning a major expansion of its nuclear program.” As evidence, the Post’s Joby Warrick cited a report authored by David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

As I outlined in the The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists at the time, the ring-magnet story was exaggerated and inaccurate.

The Washington Post’s ombudsman eventually got involved and his report is appended below (the cc field has been x’ed out as it mentions the emails of editors & others):

From: Patrick Pexton []

Sent: Monday, February 25, 2013 2:25 PM

To: Butt, Yousaf Mahmood

Cc: xxxx,xxxx,xxxx,xxxx

Subject: RE: Response from ombudsman

Hello everyone.

I’ve read everything that Mr. Butt referred me to, and Joby’s story.

A couple of things trouble me. Language like “place the order” doesn’t seem borne out by the nature of those notes that ISIS included copies of in the PDF. It certainly looks like that Iranian company is looking to buy magnets, but I’m not sure I would say “place the order” or “new orders” based on that evidence. And that there is no evidence that a purchase actually went through, as Joby wrote, correct? And there is no date, other than mentioned in the story “about a year ago.” That’s pretty vague, and Iran since then has made some moves, as Joby reported, such as converting some  enriched uranium into metal, that suggest it might be listening to international concerns.

Is Joby persuaded that these magnets could only be used for centrifuges? Could Mr. Butt be correct that they could be used for other things and Iran would have the industrial and economic demand for them as speaker magnets or what have you? And how would these magnets, if they were intended for use in centrifuges, play in to the damage caused by stuxnet, in which many of the first generation Iranian centrifuges were damaged?

Just before nuclear talks get underway I am always suspicious of stories that suddenly surface that seem to reinforce the narrative that Iran is building nuclear weapons.

Last July, Joby had the story on the potential increasing threat of the Iranian Navy against the U.S. Navy. Nowhere in that story was there anything about the economic sanctions that many defense experts say are hurting the Iranian military deeply.

I’ve been on some 60 U.S. Navy ships, including five or six carrier battle groups underway. The planes and helicopters that circle in the air above battle groups have considerable surveillance- and fire power. So do U.S. attack submarines who patrol with the battle groups. The new littoral combat ships have plenty of ability to attack shoreline installations in minutes. That is a formidable array of offensive capability.

Of course we should always be vigilant and pay attention to information that comes to us, and report it out. But neither do we want to overstate any threat from any enemy, real or potential.

Thanks for your time.


Patrick B. Pexton


The Washington Post


cell 202 738-3672

Lastly, LobeLog requested a Q&A on the subject which was published and stands as the final word on the matter of the alleged ring magnet web-inquiry.

[3]. A lot has been written about the Parchin military base in Iran by David Albright’s and his group at ISIS. However, SIPRI published an expert report by Robert Kelley contesting almost everything asserted by ISIS regarding the Parchin base.

Kelley is a true authority on such matters, being a nuclear engineer and a veteran of over 35 years in the US nuclear weapons complex, most recently at Los Alamos. He managed the centrifuge and plutonium metallurgy programs at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and was seconded by the US DOE to the IAEA where he served twice as a Director in the nuclear inspections in Iraq, in 1992-1993 and 2002-2003. He is currently an Associate Senior Research Fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Most importantly, the SIPRI report says that the paving work at Parchin would not completely hide any alleged contamination because there is an area west of the building of interest that remains untouched. And, in any case, the important samples in such a test would come from within buildings not outside on the ground.

Let’s also recall that the IAEA has already visited Parchin twice in 2005 and found nothing – although they did not go to the specific area they are now interested in. However, the IAEA could have gone to that area even in 2005 – they simply chose to go to other sites on the military base. As the IAEA report at the time summarized:

“The Agency was given free access to those buildings and their surroundings and was allowed to take environmental samples, the results of which did not indicate the presence of nuclear material, nor did the Agency see any relevant dual use equipment or materials in the locations visited.”

When the IAEA last went to Parchin, Olli Heinonen was head of IAEA safeguards and led the inspections – the methodology for choosing which buildings to inspect is described in an excellent Christian Science Monitor article which is worth reading in its entirety, but I quote the relevant bits:

“At the time, it[Parchin] was divided into four geographical sectors by the Iranians. Using satellite and other data, inspectors were allowed by the Iranians to choose any sector, and then to visit any building inside that sector. Those 2005 inspections included more than five buildings each, and soil and environmental sampling. They yielded nothing suspicious, but did not include the building now of interest to the IAEA.

“The selection [of target buildings] did not take place in advance, it took place just when we arrived, so all of Parchin was available,” recalls Heinonen, who led those past inspections. “When we drove there and arrived, we told them which building.”

In the same article Heinonen also explains why the current IAEA approach is deeply, logically flawed:

“Also unusual is how open and specific the IAEA has been about what exactly it wants to see, which could yield doubts about the credibility of any eventual inspection.

“I’m puzzled that the IAEA wants to in this case specify the building in advance, because you end up with this awkward situation,” says Olli Heinonen, the IAEA’s head of safeguards until mid-2010.

“First of all, if it gets delayed it can be sanitized. And it’s not very good for Iran. Let’s assume [inspectors] finally get there and they find nothing. People will say, ‘Oh, it’s because Iran has sanitized it,’” says Mr. Heinonen, who is now at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. “But in reality it may have not been sanitized. Iran is also a loser in that case. I don’t know why [the IAEA] approach it this way, which was not a standard practice…”

Hans Blix, former chief of the IAEA and later of UN weapons inspectors in Iraq, has also expressed surprise at the focus on Parchin, as a military base that inspectors had been to before.

“Any country, I think, would be rather reluctant to let international inspectors to go anywhere in a military site,” Mr. Blix told Al Jazeera English… “In a way, the Iranians have been more open than most other countries would be.”

One of the reasons that Mr. Blix says that is because normally the IAEA does not have the legal authority to inspect undeclared non-nuclear-materials related facilities, in a nation – like Iran — that has not ratified the Additional Protocol.

The IAEA can call for “special inspections” but they have not done so. They can also choose arbitration, as specified in the Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement, but again they have not done that.

So Iran has been more cooperative than they have needed to be in already allowing inspections of Parchin.

Regarding reports (e.g. from the ISIS group ) that Iran may be sanitizing the site, perhaps to prevent the IAEA from detecting uranium contamination, Kelley explicitly states in the SIPRI report mentioned above:

“Iran has engaged in large-scale bulldozing operations on about 25 hectares near the Parchin building. This includes the bulldozing of old dirt piles to level a field 500 metres north of the building of interest. However, there has been no such activity in the area west of the building, except for removing some parking pads within about 10 m of it. The fact that the building’s immediate vicinity has been largely untouched on the west side strongly suggests that the purpose of the earth-moving operations was for construction and renovation work and not for ‘sanitizing’ the site by covering up contamination.”

In another article Kelley has stated:

“Some of the experiments described by the IAEA do not and cannot use uranium. The results would be inconclusive if they did. So the basis for the IAEA’s requests continues to be opaque. The timeline for the alleged experiments is also highly suspect, with claims that massive experimental facilities had been fabricated even before they had been designed, according to the available information. The IAEA work to date, including the mischaracterization of satellite images of Parchin, is more consistent with an IAEA agenda to target Iran than of technical analysis.”  [Emphasis added]

[4]. The biased analysis of Parchin is, unfortunately, part of a longstanding pattern at ISIS. David Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts?” – which declared:

“High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility (Unit-340), located in northwest Iraq near the Syrian border. This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. …

“This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … Unless inspectors go to the site and investigate all activities, the international community cannot exclude the possibility that Iraq is secretly producing a stockpile of uranium in violation of its commitments under Security Council resolutions. The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”

Of course the passage is evasive and does not make any definitive claim. But its suggestive and misleading rhetoric implying a possible nuclear weapon program in Iraq turned out to be wrong.

However, ISIS has written almost identical slippery rhetorical statements about various facilities in Iran. There is no end to such “possible facilities” in any country. The point to take home from the erroneous (suggestive) interpretation of the satellite images of facilities in Iraq is that it is very difficult to be sure of what one is seeing in satellite imagery.

[5]. The Exploding Bridgewire Detonators (EBWs) issue is among other pieces of circumstantial evidence publicized by Albright’s ISIS group as possibly implicating Iran. But there are many non-nuclear weapons uses for EBWs, especially for an oil-rich nation like Iran. One manufacturer of EBWs explains that these have “… applications in explosive welding of piping and tubing, seismic studies, oil well perforating & hard rock mining.”

The manufacturer is explicit that EBWs “… have found a wide range of applications within the mining, explosive metal welding and energy exploration field. Many of these uses could not be accomplished using conventional blasting equipment without a compromise of safety.”

Furthermore, Iran was not secretive about its work on EBWs. As the November 2011 IAEA report states: Iran “provided the Agency with a copy of a paper relating to EBW development work presented by two Iranian researchers at a conference held in Iran in 2005. A similar paper was published by the two researchers at an international conference later in 2005.”

The Agency, however, noted, “Iran’s development of such detonators and equipment is a matter of concern…” It really is not given its other civilian (and conventional military) uses, and Iran’s relative openness in pursuing the technology.

The expert Atomic Reporters have weighed in: “While the IAEA reported in 2011 that there are ‘limited civilian and conventional military applications’ for exploding bridge wire detonators, the open source literature shows the technology is widely used in the mining, aerospace and defense industries.”

Again, as long ago as 2011 Robert Kelley, a former IAEA inspector, stated: “The Agency is wrong. There are lots of applications for EBWs… To be wrong on this point, and then to try to misdirect opinion shows a bias towards their desired outcome… That is unprofessional.”

[6]. Other technical experts have also weighed in on Albright’s and ISIS’ track-record. For instance, in a long-running argument with the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) over the capability of Iran’s centrifuges at the Fordow facility, ISIS consistently exaggerated their capability.  Ivanka Barzashka and Dr. Ivan Oelrich explained how ISIS generated the wrong numbers:

When given the choice between a higher value attributed to unnamed sources and values he calculates himself, Albright consistently chooses the higher values. This is especially misleading when dealing with weapon production scenarios, which evaluate what Iran can currently achieve.”  [emphasis added]

[7]. In a separate long-running argument with a scientist, Dr. Thomas Cochran, at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) over the plutonium production capability of the Khushab II reactor in Pakistan it took David Albright years to admit that he and Paul Brannan over-estimated the capability of the reactor by a factor of 10 to 25. This is not a minor error.

Thus, the pattern that emerges of the “evidence” against Iran (and other nations) is of consistent bias, exaggeration and unprofessionalism by some independent nonproliferation security analysts, as well as by the IAEA itself.

The IAEA under Director General Amano has been particularly unprofessional. Robert Kelley has outlined how:

“What about the three indications that the arms project may have been reactivated?

Two of the three are attributed only to two member states, so the sourcing is impossible to evaluate. In addition, their validity is called into question by the agency’s handling of the third piece of evidence.

That evidence, according to the IAEA, tells us Iran embarked on a four-year program, starting around 2006, to validate the design of a device to produce a burst of neutrons that could initiate a fission chain reaction. Though I cannot say for sure what source the agency is relying on, I can say for certain that this project was earlier at the center of what appeared to be a misinformation campaign.

In 2009, the IAEA received a two-page document, purporting to come from Iran, describing this same alleged work. Mohamed ElBaradei, who was then the agency’s director general, rejected the information because there was no chain of custody for the paper, no clear source, document markings, date of issue or anything else that could establish its authenticity. What’s more, the document contained style errors, suggesting the author was not a native Farsi speaker. It appeared to have been typed using an Arabic, rather than a Farsi, word-processing program. When ElBaradei put the document in the trash heap, the U.K.’s Times newspaper published it.

This episode had suspicious similarities to a previous case that proved definitively to be a hoax. In 1995, the IAEA received several documents from the Sunday Times, a sister paper to the Times, purporting to show that Iraq had resumed its nuclear-weapons program in spite of all evidence to the contrary. The IAEA quickly determined that the documents were elaborate forgeries. There were mistakes in formatting the documents’ markings, classification and dates, and many errors in language and style indicated the author’s first language was something other than Arabic or Farsi. Inspections in Iraq later in 1995 confirmed incontrovertibly that there had been no reconstitution of the Iraqi nuclear program.”

The words of well-connected and informed senior ex-IAEA officials are worth heeding: Dr. Hans Blix, former head of the IAEA, has stated: “So far, Iran has not violated the NPT,” adding, “and there is no evidence right now that suggests that Iran is producing nuclear weapons.” And Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who spent more than a decade as the director of the IAEA, said that he had not “seen a shred of evidence” that Iran was pursuing the bomb. “All I see is the hype about the threat posed by Iran,” he concluded.

The maximalist approach to non-proliferation advocated by ISIS and other groups may be seen as useful but it is inconsistent with existing international law, as codified in the safeguards agreements. In fact, IAEA records show that all substantial safeguards issues raised in 2005 had been resolved in Iran’s favor by 2008. So Iran was again in compliance with its safeguards agreement at that date. All UN Security Council sanctions ought to have been dropped at that point. Yet Iran’s nuclear file still remains tied up at the Security Council due mainly to the IAEA and Security Council’s flawed handling of the case.

Out of all the countries it inspects, the IAEA spends the second-highest amount on Iran’s nuclear inspections— only Japan, with a vastly greater nuclear infrastructure, accounts for a bigger chunk. About 12 percent of the IAEA’s $164 million inspections budget is spent just on Iran. This is now increased to about 17% during the period of the interim deal because of the even more intrusive—and thus expensive—inspections being carried out now.

On a “per nuclear facility” basis the IAEA spends – by far – the largest amount of its inspections budget on Iran. Comprehensive deal or not, the IAEA will continue to conduct in Iran one of the most thorough and intrusive inspections it carries out anywhere.

However, achieving a deal is in everyone’s favor.  It will be made easier by rejecting any flawed (or exaggerated) evidence or analysis being used against Iran – especially by individuals or groups who have a track-record of bias, exaggeration or erroneous scientific analysis.

Dr. Yousaf Butt, a nuclear physicist, is director of the Emerging Technologies Program at the Cultural Intelligence Institute, a non-profit dedicated to promoting fact-based cultural awareness among individuals, institutions, and governments. The views expressed here are his own.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jonathon Cook: Why I accuse the Red Cross of being gutless

By Jonathon Cook | June 18, 2014

I have had further thoughts about my brief Facebook comments attacking the International Committee of the Red Cross. I accused the organisation of hypocrisy for calling for the immediate release of the three abducted Israeli teenagers while refusing to call for a similar release of the nearly 200 Palestinian children effectively taken hostage by a member state of the UN (Israel) while in their own territory (Palestine) and then illegally transferred into foreign territory (Israel). …

I stand by my earlier accusation that the ICRC has proved itself to be serially gutless in remaining silent over decades about Israel’s belligerent occupation, but I should have set out the reasons for my criticism more fully.

Back in 2003, rumours started to surface that Israel was running a secret prison where Arabs seized by its security services overseas (mostly from Lebanon) were being held and horrifically abused. It was Israel’s Abu Ghraib. The Israeli media even reported later on a court case in which a Lebanese Shia leader, Mustafa Dirani, who was held in this secret jail, revealed that he had been repeatedly sodomised with a wooden baton during interrogations.

The prison, known only as Facility 1391, started to come to light only because of a small oversight by Israel. Following the mass round-ups of Palestinians as the second intifada reached its peak, Israel ran out of space in its normal prisons and started to put a few Palestinians into the secret jail, or possibly jails. However, Israel had habeas corpus-style obligations, even according to its own legal codes, to report the whereabouts of Palestinian prisoners to their lawyers (not true for the other Arab inmates, who had no legal representation). Some leading Israeli human rights lawyers started to work out that these few Palestinian prisoners had effectively been disappeared.

I began working on the story, and published it (here, here and here). During the research I was told that the ICRC knew about 1391 and were aware of its location.

When I called their office in Jerusalem to speak to them about it, they refused to say anything on the record. In fact they pretty much refused to say anything at all, apart from confirming that they knew of the prison’s existence, although they claimed not to have had access to it.

Their justification for refusing to speak further or to criticise Israel for the gross violation of international law the prison represented was that they believed it was more important to maintain a position of absolute political neutrality. They told me it was vitally in the interests of the Palestinian prison population that they keep the trust of Israel so that their access would not be withdrawn. That was not a view I shared, but it was one I could believe was honourably held.

But the principle of “absolute political neutrality” that was so important to the ICRC back in 2003 – and has apparently directed their policy for decades, given their almost complete silence on Israel’s belligerent occupation – has now been jettisoned with casual abandon when it comes to defending the rights of three Israeli teenagers. What about “absolute political neutrality” towards the Palestinians?

This is hypocrisy of the highest order, and why I continue to call the ICRC gutless – more concerned about the might of the Israel lobby than the rights of Palestinians under occupation.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 1 Comment

Israel re-arrests 50 Palestinians freed in 2011 prisoner swap

MEMO | June 18, 2014

Israeli occupation forces arrested 65 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank last night, 50 of whom were prisoners released in Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit’s prisoners swap held between Hamas and Israel in 2011.

Head of Prisoners’ Centre for Studies Fuad Al-Kuffash said two Palestinian members of parliament were among those arrested. He added that Israeli forces told the families of the prisoners that they would expel them to the Gaza Strip.

Since last Thursday, when three Israeli settlers reportedly went missing, the Israeli occupation forces have been carrying out a wide house-to-house search in Hebron. They have arrested 240 Palestinians, at least 180 of whom are members of Hamas.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the operation. “The activities carried out overnight, in which Hamas terrorists were arrested, including those who were released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange deal, is an element with an important message that is part of a series of many actions that will continue,” he said.

Netanyahu said that the “goal is to retrieve the kidnapped teens and harm the Hamas movement in Judea and Samaria.”

Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier who was positioned in a military base in his tank on the Gaza borders in 2006. Israel released 1,027 Palestinians as part of prisoners’ swap with Hamas in 2011.

Israeli newspaper Haaretz said that the Israeli government is considering expelling top Hamas officials from the West Bank to Gaza.

According to the Israeli military commander in the West Bank Major General Nitzan Alon, “The battle against Hamas is complex and ongoing; it didn’t begin today and won’t end soon.” He vowed the movement would emerge from the current clash “weakened operationally and strategically”.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , | 1 Comment

Israeli retribution attempts to conceal resistance against settler-colonialism

By Ramona Wadi | MEMO | June 17, 2014

Israel has a penchant for speaking about retribution as an isolated and necessary response – an extension of the ultimate, imaginary patriot who lacks land and invents ownership. Speaking about the three missing Israeli settlers, Israeli Defence Minister Moshe Ya’alon indicated the possibility of targeted assassinations against Hamas leaders.

“We will know how to exact a very heavy price from the leaders of Hamas wherever and whenever we find it appropriate and from whomever ponders the notion of harming the citizens of Israel and disrupting their lives,” Ya’alon said.

The Times of Israel quoted him saying the missing settlers are perceived as “additional testimony to the cruelty and seething hatred that guides the terror groups in our region.”

Echoing Ya’alon and indeed other Israeli officials in expressing their wrath, Economy Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel was dealing with one of the most “lethal, barbaric organisations in the world. We’re turning the membership card for Hamas into a ticket to hell.”

In other news, a Facebook page, which has garnered over 18,000 supporters, is urging Israelis to murder Palestinians every hour until the settlers are returned. The Twitter campaign, #BringBackOurBoys has stirred self-righteous fervour, turning three missing settlers into a global phenomenon, while daily atrocities inflicted upon Palestinians by the settler-colonial state remain largely unchallenged and normalised into an expected and glorified routine.

Justifying the hatred emanating from Israeli society, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin said: “We don’t need to be fearful in our country. A person should not fear to go anywhere in this country, whether it is under our control, or those areas that we have returned to in order to redeem them.”

The statements constantly impart a misplaced sense of ownership, in which even the imagined country and its settler population takes precedence over the missing teenagers. Besides manipulating the events to declare a renewed war on Hamas, as Netanyahu declared from the IDF’s Headquarters, the projection of violence onto Palestinians once again serves to catapult Israel’s fabricated image to international attention.

The persisting alienation with regard to Israel’s state-sanctioned terror against Palestinians will prevent the emergence of a clearer sequence that takes into consideration the nature of Israel as an inherently violent state. Targeted assassinations upon Hamas leaders will be condoned by Israeli and international media in order to deflect attention away from resistance against settler-colonialism. Murder committed by Israel is distorted into a human rights mission as a pre-emptive measure against any possible fracture that exposes the state of Israel as a myth. Hence the incessant reports regurgitating the same information and instigating further violence against Palestinians. The issue at stake is not the missing teenagers; rather the fact that Israeli leaders deem Palestinian resistance a threat to settler-colonialism.

Despite the propaganda depicting the missing settler teenagers as the immediate concern, official discourse indicates a more serious issue. The threat to Israel’s imagined status has been exposed with incessant references regarding “our country” and “our people” in the wake of a challenge that has managed to plunge the foundations of the Zionist project into turmoil.

June 18, 2014 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , | 1 Comment