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The False Intelligence Behind the “Manufactured Crisis” over Iran’s Nuclear Activities

By Gareth Porter | Going to Tehran | March 31, 2014

The world’s news media have long accepted without question the charge that Iran had for many years used its civilian nuclear program as a cover for a nuclear weapons program. That narrative has rested on intelligence documents and reports that were accepted as credible by the International Atomic Energy Agency. The IAEA in turn has been treated in the news media as a non-political authority without any axe to grind.

But, as I document in detail in Manufactured Crisis, the intelligence documents at the heart of this narrative were fabrications created by the state with most obvious interest in promoting such a narrative—Israel. The origin of the false intelligence was the ambition of the neoconservatives in the Bush administration and their Israeli ally to carry out regime change in Iran, which they believed would require the use of force, though not with large-scale ground troop as in Iraq. They also believed that the only way to justify such a war would be to build a case that Iran was threatening to obtain nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

Against the backdrop of a political strategy for Iran, on which Undersecretary of State John Bolton was coordinating with Israel in 2003-04, a large cache of documents from a Iranian nuclear weapons research program came into the possession of Germany’s intelligence agency, the BND, late in the summer of 2004. They included computer modeling of a series of efforts to integrate what appeared to be a nuclear weapon into the Shahab-3 Iranian missile, and experiments with high explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear weapon. Someone leaked to David Sanger of the New York Times that those documents had come from the laptop computer of an Iranian scientist involved in the alleged program who later feared that he had been discovered and managed to get the computer out through his wife.  U.S. officials told senior IAEA officials that they feared the “third party” that had brought out the documents was now dead, according to former Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei.

But that was a crudely constructed cover story to hide the real source of the documents.  In fact, the German intelligence agency, BND got those documents from a member of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), the Iranian terrorist organization that had become a client of Israel. The MEK member was a sometime source for the agency, but senior BND officials regarded the source as “doubtful,” according to former senior German official Karsten Voigt, who told me the whole story of his November 2004 conversation with his BND contacts on the record a year ago.

The senior BND officials had contacted Voigt, who was then coordinator of North-American relations for the foreign office, immediately after Secretary of State Colin Powell had made comments to reporters about “information” that Iran was “working hard” to combine a ballistic missile with “a weapon.” The BND officials were alarmed that the Bush administration was intending to make a case for war against Iran based on those doubtful documents.

The sequence of events presented a remarkable series of parallels with the Bush administration’s exploitation of the BND source codenamed “Curveball” to make the case for war against Iraq less than two years earlier. That Iraqi refugee in Germany—who turned out to be the brother of a senior official of Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Council—had told tales of Iraqi mobile bioweapons labs to the BND, which had passed them on to the CIA. But BND officers had eventually begun to doubt his stories. When George Tenet had asked BND chief August Hanning in December 2002 whether the United States could use the information publicly, Hanning had written a personal note to warn him that the United States should not rely on the information without further confirmation. Colin Powell had nevertheless used the very information about which Hanning had warned as the centerpiece of the case for war in Iraq.  Now Powell was going public with another claim about WMD intelligence from another dubious source to make what sounded like the beginning of a case for war against another adversary of the United States.

Voigt believed the senior BND officials wanted him to issue another warning to the United States not to rely on these documents, and a few days later, he did give such a warning in public, in a coded fashion. In an article in the Wall Street Journal Voigt was reported to have said the information to which Powell had referred had come from “an Iranian dissident group” and that the United States and Europe should not “let their Iran policy be influenced by single-source headlines.”

The BND officials were not the only ones who had questions about those documents. Some U.S. intelligence analysts wondered why the purported nuclear weapons research project documents only included material about alleged high explosives experiments, a missile reentry vehicle and the design of another uranium conversion facility totally different from the one Iran had adopted after years of research, development and testing. Why, they wondered was there nothing about weapons design? And why was the work on the missile reentry vehicle amateurish – or, as David Albright put it to this writer in a September 2008 interview, “so primitive”?  Why was the design for a bench-scale conversion process marred by such fundamental flaws that the IAEA’s Olli Heinonen had to acknowledge in a February 2008 briefing that it had “technical inconsistencies.”

The documents also exhibited anomalies that were direct indicators of fraud. The most dramatic was the fact that the studies modeling the missile reentry vehicle were based on the initial Shahab-3 missile, which the Iranian missile program is known to have begun to replace with an improved model as early as 2000 – two years before those modeling studies were said to have been started in mid-2002. The redesign of the reentry vehicle, which was a key to improved design, would have been far advanced by then, according to Michael Elleman of International Institute for Strategic Studies, who was the main author of an authoritative study of the Iranian ballistic missile program. The shape of the new reentry vehicle, first revealed to the world when the new missile was flight tested in August 2004, bore no resemblance to the old one portrayed in the documents. The authors of the documents had obviously been unaware of that complete redesign of the reentry vehicle, meaning that they could not have part of an Iranian Defense Ministry-sponsored program.

The creators of the collection of documents were clever enough to build them around an authentic document that could be verified as real and thereby lend credibility to a collection that otherwise lacked any evidence of authenticity. But the document was not from inside the Iranian government but a letter from a high tech company to an Iranian engineering firm. It would have been relatively easy for Mossad, which carries out constant surveillance of high tech companies, to acquire that document. The document was then used to provide evidence of connections between different parts of the alleged project that was otherwise absent: anonymous handwriting on it referred to the reentry vehicle study. Those touches reveal creators who were eager to maximize the political effect of the document and apparently not worried that they would be too obvious.

The daring of the venture as well as the fact that the actual document around which it was built would have been a routine discovery for Mossad leave little room for doubt about the Israeli origins of the collection.

The plan had been to have the IAEA focus entirely on what ElBaradei was calling the “alleged studies” once the “Work Program” negotiated with Iran on the various other issues the Agency had raised since 2004 was completed. But then came the National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007, which concluded that Iran had stopped the work on nuclear weapons that the intelligence community had been certain it had been doing for years in 2003. That estimate all but eliminated the case for the use of force, so it created a serious problem for Israel.

The Israelis responded quickly, however, coming up with an entirely new series of intelligence documents and reports in 2008 and 2009 showing that Iranian nuclear weapons research and development program was far more advanced than previously believed. Those documents were transmitted to the IAEA directly by Israel, according to ElBaradei’s memoirs, but the IAEA never disclosed that highly salient fact.

The first document arrived as early as April 2008, and the IAEA’s Safeguards Department immediately mentioned it in the May 2008 IAEA report. It was a Farsi-language report on experiments with high explosives that was obviously intended to suggest the initiation of a hemispherical charge for an implosion nuclear weapon.

The very next IAEA report in September 2008 announced that the experiment “may have involved the assistance of foreign expertise.” That was obviously a reference to a scholarly paper on a methodology for measuring intervals between explosions using fiber optic cables co-authored in 1992 by Ukrainian scientist Vyacheslav Danilenko, who had worked in Iran from 1999 to 2005.  The IAEA thus swallowed the implausible Israeli claim that a spy had obtained a top secret Iranian document on nuclear weapon-related experiments that just happened to involve the same methodology about which Danilenko had published.

The far more plausible sequence of events was that Mossad had discovered Danilenko’s work in Iran in a routine investigation of foreign personnel in the country and soon found out that he had worked at the Soviet nuclear weapons complex at Chelyabinsk and had published on a method for measuring explosive internals. Those discoveries would have inspired the idea of secret Iran document describing high explosives experiments that would include a measurement technique that would implicate Danilenko—who would be portrayed as a Soviet nuclear weapons specialist—in the alleged Iran nuclear weapons program.

Further supporting that explanation for the appearance of the document is the fact that the most sensational intelligence claim in the November 2011 IAEA report involves yet another Danilenko publication.  The IAEA said it had “information” that Iran had built a high explosives containment chamber in 2000 “in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments”, which it defines as tests to “simulate the first stages of a nuclear explosion”, at its Parchin military facility. And it cited a publication by the same “foreign expert”—i.e., Danilenko—as allowing it to “confirm the date of construction of the cylinder and some of its design features (such as its dimensions).”

That Danilenko publication, however, was actually on the design of an explosives chamber for the production of nanodiamonds. The drawing of the chamber accompanying the article, moreover, displays features, such as air and water systems for cooling the tank immediately before and after the explosion, that would have made it unusable for the purpose of testing nuclear weapons designs. Despite having worked in a Soviet nuclear weapons complex for many years, Danilenko had worked from the beginning of his career on explosive synthesis of nanodiamonds, which involved no knowledge of nuclear weapons or of methods for testing them. (The first American to discover nanodiamonds synthesis, Dr. Ray Grenier, who had also worked for many years in Los Alamos National Laboratory, the top U.S. nuclear weapons complex, told me that he himself had never worked on anything directly connected with nuclear weapons, and that all of his work on nanodiamonds synthesis had been unclassified.)

The IAEA never produced any confirming evidence for the tale of the bomb test chamber at Parchin provided by Israel.  Former IAEA chief inspector in Iraq Robert Kelley, who had also been project leader for nuclear intelligence at Los Alamos national laboratory and head of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Remote Sensing Laboratory, immediately pointed out that the IAEA description of the alleged explosive containment chamber and its intended purpose made no sense technically.  Kelley observed that the capacity of the alleged chamber to contain 70 kilograms of high explosives reported by the IAEA would have been as “far too small” for the kind of hydrodynamic nuclear tests the report claimed as its purpose. Kelley and three other intelligence experts on photo interpretation also pointed out that the satellite photos of the site at Parchin indicate that it displays none of the characteristics that would be associated with a high explosives testing site.

And Iran’s behavior in regard to the site in Parchin contradicts the notion that it needed to hide evidence of nuclear testing there.  Iran allowed the IAEA to pick any five sites in one of the four quadrants of Parchin to visit and take environmental samples in February 2005 and then did the same thing again in November 2005. And the IAEA reported in February 2012 that it had obtained the complete run of satellite photos of the site from February 2005 to February 2012 and found that there was no evidence of any significant activity at the site for the entire seven years.

The tainted intelligence underlying the charges of a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program is now one of the major issues in the nuclear negotiations with Iran. The introduction of the demand that Iran must satisfy the IAEA indicates either that the Obama administration believes completely in the official nuclear narrative and is dangerously overconfident about its bargaining position or that the administration has been assured by IAEA director general Yukiya Amano that he will do what is necessary to reach agreement with Iran on the issue of “possible military dimensions” of the nuclear program. In either case, the fate of the false intelligence and the fate of the nuclear talks are now deeply intertwined.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian who writes on U.S. national security issues.  His latest book Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, was published in February by Just World Books. 

April 1, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Progress in Iran Nuclear Talks Depends on the Israeli Government Coming Clean on its Nuclear Disinformation Campaigns

By Dr. Yousaf Butt | Arms Control Law | March 4, 2014

One of the sticking points in the on-going Iran nuclear negotiations is the fate of the so-called “Possible Military Dimensions” (aka “Alleged Studies”) file. This is a compendium of allegations against Iran’s nuclear program – largely gathered by third-party intelligence agencies – that the IAEA would like Iran to respond to. Not only are the allegations largely outside the IAEA legal authority and expertise (because they do not directly deal with nuclear material diversion), but Iran has not been allowed to see much of this secret evidence that is being used against it. Such a process is, of course, not consistent with normal Western legal practice. Iran has responded to what little it has been shown of the PMD file by saying that the evidence thus far shown is fabricated.

Though this Iranian response is often cast as Iran “not cooperating with the IAEA” (or “refusing to discuss the matter”), another possibility must be considered: that Iran is correct. That is, that at least some the evidence has indeed been cooked-up by an adversarial Intelligence service (or by an agent recruited by such an Intelligence service).

A wonderful new book by Gudrun Harrer on the IAEA inspections in Iraq sheds some light on which countries could be involved in fabricating and planting such fake nuclear “evidence”. On p. 185 of the book, it is confirmed that Israel provided the IAEA with false information on Laser Isotope Separation activities in Iraq. The reference for this information is the author’s interview with David Albright of ISIS (see at this insert the relevant scanned pages from the book):

Harrer on Albright Israel

Israel has, of course, long been suspected of being behind some of the forged and suspect evidence against Iran: the neutron initiators, AP graphs, etc., but until now it was hard to definitely pin the blame on that country. Thanks to David Albright at ISIS, we now know that Israel has been guilty of planting disinformation with the IAEA in the past.

The German intelligence agency has also discredited much of the secret evidence against Iran.

Having myself analyzed some of what is (evidently) in this PMD file – with Dr. Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies – I can say that the evidence is certainly of poor quality and/or an amateurish forgery. It does not look like anything a state-level research scientist would produce. There are large and conspicuous mathematical and physical errors in the material.

Similarly, Robert Kelley has assessed that at least some of the evidence purporting to show weaponization research work continuing past 2004 is less than compelling:

 [The] 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…. 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…

David Albright’s confirmation of Israeli nuclear disinformation goes hand-in-glove with statements from former IAEA director, and Nobel Prize winner, Mohammed ElBaradei. In his biography, ElBaradei says that the documents that the IAEA had about the alleged neutron initiators in Iran circa 2008 were given to the Agency by Israel. He further states that Israel gave him permission to show the evidence to Iran.

So the question is, why has the IAEA not cooperated with Iran in evaluating material like they did with Iraq circa 1995, in the incident mentioned by Harrer?

Iran could be genuinely helpful if they were allowed to see the original evidence and comment on it. When the IAEA worked with Iraq to evaluate documents, the Iraqis helpfully pointed out mistakes that the IAEA could independently confirm. Isn’t that the example we would like to see with Iran?

Being charged with secret evidence also goes against every notion of Western justice. The IAEA either needs to drop the PMD file, or amend their procedures.

Unfortunately, it is quite likely that the Israeli government is once again carrying out nuclear disinformation, possibly in collaboration with the MEK, an Iranian terrorist – in some nations, formerly terrorist – organization opposed to the current Iranian regime.

Over the past weekend, it was also confirmed that Israel masterminded the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists. These assassinations, too, perhaps were carried out with local MEK collaboration. If the Israeli government is capable of assassinating civilian Iranian scientists, would fabricating nuclear intel on Iran trouble their consciences? Presumably not. Especially as they have done it in the past, according to David Albright at ISIS.

Before further pursuing Iran on the PMD file – which may contain substantial forged evidence – it would make sense to ask Israel to come clean about any fabricated intelligence it may have planted with the IAEA. It is quite possible that some of the PMD file is not fake. Israel’s assistance and cooperation in identifying what is fake and what is not would be most helpful. If David Albright of ISIS has further insight into this – as he did in the Iraqi case – his involvement would also, of course, be very welcome.

It is becoming increasingly difficult to give credibility to hyperbolic Israeli statements about Iran’s underhandedness in pursuing its nuclear program, when Israel itself has been underhanded in pursuing clandestine disinformation campaigns against NPT states, while itself remaining resolutely outside the NPT.

There are several points for the IAEA to consider in light of these recent developments:

1. Should the IAEA reject all evidence from Israel against Iran and other adversarial states now?

2. Should the IAEA, generally, not accept intelligence from non-NPT states?

3. The IAEA should show Iran any evidence it wants an Iranian response on. Anything less is not consistent with Western notions of justice. Furthermore such cooperation could unveil the origin of any possible forgeries in the PMD file.

4. The IAEA and the US should ask Israel to come clean on any fabricated “evidence” it may have inserted into the PMD file.

5. As I have suggested previously, it would be best to simply drop the PMD file as it relates to decade old unauthenticated allegations of possible research. It is not even clear that what is in the PMD file – even if true – would be a violation of the NPT or the safeguards agreement.

6. If the IAEA really wants to pursue the content of the PMD in a legal way they can initiate special inspections or undertake arbitration as provided for in the CSA. The IAEA does not even have the technical expertise in-house to undertake investigations of missiles, warheads etc. which are mentioned in the PMD file.

7. Since Iran is now in compliance with its safeguards agreement, Iran’s nuclear file – currently hung-up in the Security Council – should return to the IAEA. The referral to the Security Council was unorthodox and politicized to begin with, and there is no rationale for Iran’s nuclear file to remain there post-2008. (Footnote 38 of the latest IAEA report on Iran makes clear that the remaining issues are not IAEA safeguards issues but extraneous UNSC ones).

8. This also means that the UNSC nuclear-related sanctions on Iran should now be dropped. In fact, they ought to have been dropped in 2008.

David Albright must be commended for his helpful insight into fabricated Israeli intelligence in Iraq, and hopefully can assist in tracking down similar disinformation in the case of Iran.

Relatedly, we must thank him and ISIS also for showing the international community expensive satellite pictures of Parchin, in which one can see that west of the paving activity, the site is untouched, and so the IAEA could get environmental samples there (if they even needed those). This undercuts ISIS’ own conclusion that the site has been magically “sanitized” by paving. Normally, of course, the IAEA would take such swipe samples from within the buildings where any suspect U naturally collects: in the corners and at the places where the walls meet the floor.

The technical weaknesses in ISIS’ and IAEA’s approach to Parchin were previously commented on.

The IAEA’s technically unsound obsession with environmental sampling at Parchin may also mean they are confusing the site at Marivan (where open-air implosion tests may have taken place) with the site at Parchin (where implosions in a chamber are alleged).

From the May 2008 Board report, referring to the Marivan site:

A.2. High Explosives Testing

[………….]

Document 3: Five page document in English describing experimentation undertaken with a complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosive in hemispherical geometry and to monitor the development of the detonation wave in that high explosive using a considerable number of diagnostic probes.

 And the alleged weapons’ studies annex Nov 2011:

 43. Information provided to the Agency by the same Member State referred to in the previous paragraph describes the multipoint initiation concept referred to above as being used by Iran in at least one large scale experiment in 2003 to initiate a high explosive charge in the form of a hemispherical shell. [……] Further information provided to the Agency by the same Member State indicates that the large scale high explosive experiments were conducted by Iran in the region of Marivan.

So what is the point of carrying out environmental sampling at Parchin (where chamber experiments are alleged) and not at Marivan where open-air experiments were allegedly done? Is the IAEA – and ISIS – confused between Marivan and Parchin?

The IAEA’s unprofessionalism in vetting the content of the PMD file, and in the obsession over Parchin (which the IAEA visited twice already) vs. Marivan smacks of an agenda to target Iran rather than any sound technical analysis. It is likely to blow up the Iran nuclear deal for no good reason. Iran has cooperated with the IAEA on the PMD file by saying that the material it was shown was fabricated – this may be true. Now Israel should also cooperate and come clean about what forged material – or material from compromised sources like “Curveball” – may be within this file. David Albright, with his past knowledge and evident expertise in fabricated Israeli intelligence should also step up to the plate.

And, certainly, Iran should be shown any evidence it is being asked to answer to by the IAEA. The Agency should also spend about half an hour and check whether the site it is interested in for environmental sampling is Marivan or Parchin. Environmental sampling at Parchin makes little sense. At Parchin, swipes would be taken from within the buildings since chamber-based implosions are alleged. While it is at it, the IAEA should also review the technical basis of their conclusions on Syria.

It is hard to take the Agency seriously when it persists in being blatantly unprofessional.

Dr Jim Walsh, a research associate at MIT, has an excellent suggestion about what to do with Iran’s “PMD” file – as paraphrased by Mark Hibbs: “If the nuclear activities were in the past, I don’t care. It’s dead, and it’s regretful, but let’s do a deal with Iran that moves forward.”

But before we do that, the IAEA should ask Israel to come clean about its potential role in fabricating some of the “evidence” within the PMD file.

Given its historical misuse, the IAEA should also re-visit whether it will continue to accept intelligence from third-parties, especially non-NPT member states.

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

March 4, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Misread Telexes Led Analysts to See Iran Nuclear Arms Programme

By Gareth Porter | IPS | February 5, 2014

When Western intelligence agencies began in the early 1990s to intercept telexes from an Iranian university to foreign high technology firms, intelligence analysts believed they saw the first signs of military involvement in Iran’s nuclear programme. That suspicion led to U.S. intelligence assessments over the next decade that Iran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons.

The supposed evidence of military efforts to procure uranium enrichment equipment shown in the telexes was also the main premise of the International Atomic Energy Agency’s investigation of Iran’s nuclear programme from 2003 through 2007.

But the interpretation of the intercepted telexes on which later assessments were based turned out to have been a fundamental error. The analysts, eager to find evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme, had wrongly assumed that the combination of interest in technologies that could be used in a nuclear programme and the apparent role of a military-related institution meant that the military was behind the procurement requests.

In 2007-08, Iran provided hard evidence that the technologies had actually been sought by university teachers and researchers.

The intercepted telexes that set in train the series of U.S. intelligence assessments that Iran was working on nuclear weapons were sent from Sharif University of Technology in Tehran beginning in late 1990 and continued through 1992. The dates of the telexes, their specific procurement requests and the telex number of PHRC were all revealed in a February 2012 paper by David Albright, the executive director of the Institute for Science and International Security, and two co-authors.

The telexes that interested intelligence agencies following them all pertained to dual-use technologies, meaning that they were consistent with work on uranium conversion and enrichment but could also be used for non-nuclear applications.

But what raised acute suspicions on the part of intelligence analysts was the fact that those procurement requests bore the telex number of the Physics Research Center (PHRC), which was known to have contracts with the Iranian military.

U.S., British, German and Israeli foreign intelligence agencies were sharing raw intelligence on Iranian efforts to procure technology for its nuclear programme, according to published sources. The telexes included requests for “high-vacuum” equipment, “ring” magnets, a balancing machine and cylinders of fluorine gas, all of which were viewed as useful for a programme of uranium conversion and enrichment.

The Schenck balancing machine ordered in late 1990 or early 1991 provoked interest among proliferation analysts, because it could be used to balance the rotor assembly parts on the P1 centrifuge for uranium enrichment. The “ring” magnets sought by the university were believed to be appropriate for centrifuge production.

The request for 45 cylinders of fluorine gas was considered suspicious, because fluorine is combined with uranium to produce uranium hexafluoride, the form of uranium that is used for enrichment.

The first indirect allusion to evidence from the telexes in the news came in late 1992, when an official of the George H. W. Bush administration told The Washington Post that the administration had pushed for a complete cutoff of all nuclear-related technology to Iran, because of what was called “a suspicious procurement pattern”.

Then the Iranian efforts to obtain those specific technologies from major foreign suppliers were reported, without mentioning the intercepted telexes, in a Public Broadcasting System “Frontline” documentary called “Iran and the Bomb” broadcast in April 1993, which portrayed them as clear indications of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme.

The producer of the documentary, Herbert Krosney, described the Iranian procurement efforts in similar terms in his book “Deadly Business” published the same year.

In 1996, President Bill Clinton’s CIA Director John Deutch declared, “A wide variety of data indicate that Tehran has assigned civilian and military organisations to support the production of fissile material for nuclear weapons.”

For the next decade, the CIA’s non-proliferation specialists continued to rely on their analysis of the telexes to buttress their assessment that Iran was developing nuclear weapons. The top-secret 2001 National Intelligence Estimate bore the title “Iran Nuclear Weapons Program: Multifaceted and Poised to Succeed, but When?”

Former IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards Olli Heinonen recalled in a May 2012 article that the IAEA had obtained a “set of procurement information about the PHRC” – an obvious reference to the collection of telexes – which led him to launch an investigation in 2004 of what the IAEA later called the “Procurement activities by the former Head of PHRC”.

But after an August 2007 agreement between Iran and IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei on a timetable for the resolution of “all remaining issues”, Iran provided full information on all the procurement issues the IAEA had raised.

That information revealed that the former PHRC head, Sayyed Abbas Shahmoradi-Zavareh, who had been a professor at Sharif University at the time, had been asked by several faculty departments to help procure equipment or material for teaching and research.

Iran produced voluminous evidence to support its explanation for each of the procurement efforts the IAEA had questioned. It showed that the high vacuum equipment had been requested by the Physics Department for student experiments in evaporation and vacuum techniques for producing thin coatings by providing instruction manuals on the experiments, internal communications and even the shipping documents on the procurement.

The Physics Department had also requested the magnets for students to carry out “Lenz-Faraday experiments”, according to the evidence provided, including the instruction manuals, the original requests for funding and the invoice for cash sales from the supplier. The balancing machine was for the Mechanical Engineering Department, as was supported by similar documentation turned over to the IAEA. IAEA inspectors had also found that the machine was indeed located at the department.

The 45 cylinders of fluorine that Shahmoradi-Zavareh had tried to procure had been requested by the Office of Industrial Relations for research on the chemical stability of polymeric vessels, as shown by the original request letter and communications between the former PHRC head and the president of the university.

The IAEA report on February 2008 recorded the detailed documentation provided by Iran on each of the issues, none of which was challenged by the IAEA. The report declared the issue “no longer outstanding at this stage”, despite U.S. pressure on ElBaradei to avoid closing that or any other issue in the work programme, as reported in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

The IAEA report showed that the primary intelligence basis for the U.S. charge of an Iranian nuclear weapons programme for more than a decade had been erroneous.

That dramatic development in the Iran nuclear story went unnoticed in news media reporting on the IAEA report, however. By then the U.S. government, the IAEA and the news media had raised other evidence that was more dramatic – a set of documents supposedly purloined from an Iran laptop computer associated with an alleged covert Iranian nuclear weapons programme from 2001 to 2003. And the November 2007 NIE had concluded that Iran had been running such a programme but had halted it in 2003.

Despite the clear acceptance of the Iranian explanation by the IAEA, David Albright of ISIS has continued to argue that the telexes support suspicions that Iran’s Defence Ministry was involved in the nuclear programme.

In his February 2012 paper, Albright discusses the procurement requests documented in the telexes as though the IAEA investigation had been left without any resolution. Albright makes no reference to the detailed documentation provided by Iran in each case or to the IAEA’s determination that the issue was “no longer outstanding”.

Ten days later, the Washington Post published a news article reflecting Albright’s claim that the telexes proved that the PHRC had been guiding Iran’s secret uranium enrichment programme during the 1990s. The writer was evidently unaware that the February 2008 IAEA report had provided convincing evidence that the intelligence analyst’s interpretations had been fundamentally wrong.

February 6, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The U.S. was a Passive Observer in Egypt – If You Believe the New York Times

A Black Agenda Radio commentary by Glen Ford | July 10, 2013

One consumes U.S. corporate media at the risk of one’s sanity. Schizophrenia, for example, appears to be the permanent mental state at the New York Times, which cannot figure out which global reality is operative on any given day. Last week, the Times almost simultaneously painted a picture of two different and contradictory worlds – or, at least, two very different Obama administrations. On Friday, June 5, in the wake of the military coup against Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, the Times depicted the Obama administration as totally unruffled by the turmoil in Cairo – as if the U.S. had little stake in the outcome. The Times headline proclaimed: “Egypt Crisis Finds Washington Largely Ambivalent and Aloof.” The newspaper of record gave the impression that Egypt was no longer a “strategic player” in the region and, therefore, the political complexion of its government was nothing for Washington to worry its last nerve about.

By Saturday, July 6, the article had been replaced by reporting on what the Obama administration had really been up to as the coup unfolded. It described President Morsi’s “last hours” in office, awaiting his fate at the hands of an Egyptian military that has been a United States asset for the last 40 years. An Arab foreign minister telephoned to ask if Morsi would accept the appointment of a new prime minister and cabinet, which would make Morsi a mere figurehead. The Arab foreign minister made it clear that he was acting as an emissary of Washington.

Morsi rejected the offer. His top foreign policy advisor stepped out of the room to call the U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson, and tell her so. But, when he came back, he said he’d been on the phone with Susan Rice, Obama’s national security advisor, in Washington, who advised him that the coup was about to begin.

So, of course, the U.S. was deeply involved in the events that were swirling in Cairo – it would have been bizarre beyond belief if the superpower had, indeed, been “ambivalent” or “aloof” about the fate of the Arab world’s most populous country. What is amazing, is the ability of an organization as large as the New York Times to accommodate two opposite realities within its own pages, and pass off both as the truth, without shame or even visible embarrassment.

The New York Times and its corporate colleagues are not in the business of providing reliable information, but of rationalizing and sanitizing the behavior of those in power. If there are contradictions in the narrative, they can always be papered over with more lies in the next edition.

However, the lies told by the Times and its ilk cannot alter the reality of U.S. decline; they can only make Americans oblivious to the facts. The United States will get the kind of civilian front men it wants in Egypt: international corporate citizens like economist el-Hazem Beblawy, as interim prime minister, and Mohamed ElBaradei, the darling of the global rich, as a vice president. But the U.S. is also now dependent on Muslim fundamentalists as the foot soldiers of imperialism in Syria and North Africa, even as it double-crossed its Muslim Brotherhood friend, former president Morsi. And the Arab royals of the Persian Gulf have their own plans for the region. The superpower isn’t as super as it used to be – but you won’t find out why in the New York Times.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

July 10, 2013 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

‘Morsi ousted with US blessing’

RT | July 4, 2013

From its inception the uprising against President Morsi was aided by the US, researcher and writer Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich told RT. She argues that whoever succeeds the ousted Egyptian leader will likely be beholden to the forces that put him in power.

RT: What do you think the future holds for Mohamed Morsi now?

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich: I don’t think Mohamed Morsi has any place to go to really. There might be a lot of jubilation that the military has removed him from office. President Morsi did make himself very unpopular not only inside Egypt but with his neighbors, the surrounding countries. But that being said, the implications are huge as he was democratically elected. And for the army to step in and remove him from office is a military coup and it is very hard for me to believe that the military would have taken this step without the blessing of the United States.

I know that the Americans said, President Obama said, that they would review aid to Egypt. But [US Secretary of Defense] Chuck Hagel had been on the phone with Egypt for two or three days. Egypt basically owes its military, owes its existence to the United States of America. This is not a step they would take without their blessings.

Mohamed Morsi may be out now, but his followers will not be and we’ll only see an escalation of clashes, which is very unfortunate for the Egyptian people.

‘People rallying against poverty – and Morsi’

RT: You talk about the support the Egyptian military got from the US. But live video from Tahrir Square suggests that there are people out there, a significant if not a majority of the Egyptian population who also want Morsi out of power.

SSU: I’m not arguing with that, I’m talking about a military that gets its support from the United States. You have to understand that a lot of people that are on Tahrir Square right now, many of them are not supporters of Morsi. The military actually put tanks against Morsi’s supporters and was very quick to arrest them.

There are people on the streets. A lot of them may be opposed to Morsi because of the laws that he wanted to establish, but a lot of it is also the economy. The [Egyptian] economy is very poor, these are very poor people. A lot of them are out there maybe protesting the fact that President Morsi was not able to improve the economic conditions better over the last year he had in office.

‘Egyptian army defends US-Israeli interests’

Again, for the military to have stepped in and removed him from power, and especially for General [Chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Abdul Fatah Khalil] Al-Sisi, who was instrumental in blocking and enabling the Israelis to kill the Gazans, for them rejoicing over that is just mindboggling. The [Egyptian] military is an instrument of the United States of America, and the billions [of dollars] in support it has gotten for years now goes towards maintaining peace with Israel, not to serve Egyptian people.

Very soon the Egyptian people will wake up and realize that they are perhaps cheering the wrong faction.

American protégé ElBaradei most likely to replace Morsi

RT: The military, having pushed Morsi out of power now, do you think they have a plan who will lead the country next?

SSU: Again, America has invested a lot of time and money into this. Ever since 2007, America knew that former President Mubarak was dying of cancer. There was even a New York Times article in 2007 talking about who would be his replacement. Since 2008, they would have young Egyptians coming to America, go to the State Department, meet at the time Condoleezza Rice and others, and learn how to use modern technology to start an uprising in Egypt.

So this uprising from the very start was aided by the United States and one of the favorite horses in the race has been and continues to be [Nobel Peace Prize winner and opposition leader] Mohammed ElBaradei. He is the one who actually met with the military to remove Morsi.

Interestingly enough, ElBaradei is a member of the International Crisis Group, which is funded by George Soros and also the Carnegie Endowment and Ford Foundation, which during the Cold War was a conduit for CIA money. Although some have said that Mohamed ElBaradei [when he served as Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)] never pushed hard enough to say that Iran was developing a nuclear program and Israel might have had issues with that, he is in fact a favorite [to succeed Morsi] and he is coming up very prominently right now.

‘Next Egyptian president risks becoming a puppet’

RT: Do you think this is bad for the country right now? Mohammed ElBaradei is internationally respected figure, widely regarded as moderate and pro-democratic force for Egypt.

SSU: ElBaradei absolutely is. But it is bad for any country when somebody is helped from the outside – from forces without – to bring this person to power.

Then that person will automatically turn into a puppet. Their concern will not be for ‘what is good for the country’, their concern is their ambition, and that is always dangerous, whether they are moderate or fundamentalist – it does not matter. It should be an Egyptian decision.

RT: If he is elected into office – do you think that there will be a legitimate popular support for him?

SSU: I think that the people will have to decide. But ultimately, should he be elected into office, which is very likely, one has to remember where he comes from and how he got to become so prominent and whose support he has.

A lot of times it happens in every country and we’re not aware of the forces behind a figurehead or a given politician. And once that plays out, you might realize that it is a bit too late to change the course. But let’s hope for the best.

‘Chaos will prevail’

I don’t think that the followers of President Morsi will sit back and take this very quietly.

My hope and my wish for Egypt is to see a very peaceful process from here on. But I doubt that will be the case. I think chaos will prevail.

RT: Why do you say chaos will prevail?

SSU: The Muslim Brotherhood followers, the people that put Morsi into power, they feel disenfranchised. In fact, all though one does not want to see this conflict at all, they are the ones who have more right to backing the democratically elected president than anyone else.

If they feel they don’t really count anymore, that their votes and voices don’t count, they are going to show reaction, I think it is normal.

July 4, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Economics | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fake AP Graph Exposes Israeli Fraud and IAEA Credulity

That Associated Press story displaying a graph alleged to be part of an Iranian computer simulation of a nuclear explosion — likely leaked by Israel with the intention of reinforcing the media narrative of covert Iranian work on nuclear weapons – raises serious questions about the International Atomic Energy Association’s (IAEA) claim that it has credible evidence of such modeling work by Iran.

The graph of the relationship between energy and power shown in the AP story has now been revealed to contain absurdly large errors indicating its fraudulence.

Those revelations indicate, in turn, that the IAEA based its publication of detailed allegations of nuclear weapons-related Iranian computer modeling on evidence that should have been rejected as having no credibility.

Former senior IAEA inspector Robert Kelley, who has challenged the accuracy of IAEA reporting on Iran, told Lobe Log in an e-mail that “It’s clear the graph has nothing to do with a nuclear bomb.”

“The pretty, symmetrical bell shaped curve at the bottom is not typical of a nuclear explosion but of some more idealized natural phenomena or mathematical equation,” he said. “Clearly it is a student example of how to perform integrals to which someone has attached some meaningless numbers.”

Nuclear physicists Yousaf Butt and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress also pointed out that the graph depicted by AP is not only so rudimentary and crude that it could have been done by an undergraduate student, but is based on a fundamental error of mind-numbing proportions.

The graph shown in the AP story plots two curves, one of energy versus time, the other of power output versus time. But Butt and Dalnoki-Veress noted that the two curves are inconsistent. The peak level of power shown in the graph, they said, is nearly a million times too high.

After a quick look at the graph, the head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Cal State Sacramento, Dr. Hossein Partovi, observed, “[T]he total energy is more than four orders of magnitude (forty thousand times) smaller than the total integrated power that it must equal!” Essentially, the mismatch between the level of total energy and total power on the graph is “more than four orders of magnitude”, which Partovi explained means that the level of energy is 40,000 times too small in relation to the level of power.

One alert reader of the account of the debunking of the graph at the Mondoweiss blog cited further evidence supporting Kelley’s observation that the graph shown by AP was based on an another graph that had nothing to do with nuclear explosions.

The reader noted that the notation “kT” shown after “energy” on the right hand scale of the graph does not stand for “kilotons” as Jahn suggested, but “Boltzmann constant” (k) multiplied by temperature (T). The unit of tons, on the other hand, is always abbreviated with a lower case “t”, he pointed out, so kilotons would be denoted as “kt”.

The reader also stated that the “kT” product is used in physics as a scaling factor for energy values in molecular-scale systems, such as a microsecond laser pulse.

The evidence thus suggests that someone took a graph related to an entirely different problem and made changes to show a computer simulation of a 50 kiloton explosion. The dotted line on the graph leads the eye directly to the number 50 on the right-hand energy scale, which would lead most viewers to believe that it is the result of modeling a 50 kiloton nuclear explosion.

The graph was obviously not done by a real Iranian scientist — much less someone working in a top secret nuclear weapons research program — but by an amateur trying to simulate a graph that would be viewed, at least by non-specialists, as something a scientist might have drawn.

Although AP reporter George Jahn wrote that officials who provided the diagram did so “only on condition that they and their country not be named”, the country behind the graph is not much of a mystery.

Blogger Richard Silverstein has reported that a “highly-placed Israeli source” told him the diagram “was stolen by the Mossad from an Iranian computer” using one of the various malware programs deployed against Iran.

Whether one chooses to rely on Silverstein’s reporting or not, it is clear that the graph is part of a longer stream of suspicious documents supposedly obtained by Israeli intelligence from inside Iran’s nuclear program and then given to the IAEA over the past few years.

Former IAEA Secretary General Mohammed ElBaradei refers in his memoirs to documents provided by Israel in 2009 “purportedly showing that Iran had continued with nuclear weapons studies until at least 2007.” ElBaradei adds that the Agency’s “technical experts” had “raised numerous questions about the documents’ authenticity”, and suggested that US intelligence “did not buy the “evidence” put forward by Israel” in its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate.

Jahn’s story indicates that this and similar graphs were the basis for the IAEA’s publishing charges by two unnamed states that Iran had done computer modeling that the agency said could only have been about nuclear weapons.

Jahn cites a “senior diplomat who is considered neutral on the issue” as confirming that the graph accompanying his story was one of “a series of Iranian computer-generated models provided to the IAEA by the intelligences services of member nations.”

Those “computer generated models” were discussed in the November 2011 report, which referred to “[i]nformation provided to the Agency by two Member States relating to modelling [sic] studies alleged to have been conducted in 2008 and 2009 by Iran….”  The unnamed member states were alleging that the Iranian studies “involved the modelling [sic] of spherical geometries, consisting of components of the core of an HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression, for their neutronic behaviour at high density, and a determination of the subsequent nuclear explosive yield.”

Nothing in that description of the alleged modeling is documented by the type of graph shown by the AP story.

The IAEA report concludes by saying, “The information also identifies models said to have been used in those studies and the results of these calculations, which the Agency has seen.”

In other words, the only evidence that the IAEA had actually seen was the graphs of the alleged computer modeling, of which the graph shown in the AP story is alleged to be an example. But the fact that data on that graph has been credibly shown to be off by four orders of magnitude suggests that the Israeli claim of Iranian computer modeling of “components of the core of an HEU nuclear device subjected to shock compression” was completely fabricated.

Former IAEA Inspector Kelley also told Lobe Log that “We can only hope that the claim that the IAEA has relied on this crude hoax is false. Otherwise their credibility has been shattered.”

– 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.

December 1, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Fake AP Graph Exposes Israeli Fraud and IAEA Credulity

Why Iran resists pressure to open Parchin to IAEA inspectors

By Cyrus Safdari | Iran Affairs | September 26, 2012

Parchin is a military site that has been in the news lately because the IAEA is insisting on sending inspectors there, and Iran has been resisting the pressure. While this has naturally led many US media outlets to suggest that Iran is hiding something there, Hassan Beheshtipour explains Iran’s position over at IranReview.org

1. No country [would] ever allow the IAEA to inspect its military sites because the agency is missioned to merely visit nuclear sites, and non-nuclear military bases [are not] covered by its inspections [authority].

2. In order to prove its goodwill and reveal [the] falsehood of the Western media propaganda, Iran has already allowed IAEA inspectors to visit the site twice in 2005, and after each visit, the inspectors said nothing illegal had been found there. Olli Heinonen, the deputy to the then director general of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, had orally promised that if Iran allowed inspection of the military site in Parchin, they would announce once and for all that Parchin is a non-nuclear site and would need no further inspection. However, as the agency’s deputy director general for safeguards changed, the new deputy, Herman Nackaerts, announced in 2011 that Parchin site needs to be inspected again in the light of alleged studies whose information had been provided by some member states of the agency. This issue has caused Iran not to trust the promises given by the IAEA officials anymore.

3. Following three rounds of negotiations with delegates of the IAEA, Iran announced that the agency would be able to revisit Parchin site if two conditions are met. Firstly, they should promise that following the visit, there would be no further request to inspect Parchin again. Secondly, documents related to the agency’s alleged studies should be made available to Iran in order to make it possible for Tehran to evaluate that information and give an appropriate answer. The IAEA, in return, responded to Iran’s logical request by claiming that countries providing information about the alleged studies would not allow copies of those studies to be provided to Iran. As a result, the agency rejected Iran’s request and denied the Islamic Republic of an opportunity to defend itself by alleging that the IAEA, an impartial international organization, is competent enough to verify the studies.

4. The Islamic Republic of Iran expects the IAEA to guarantee that after its inspectors visit the military site at Parchin, there would be no leak of confidential information related to this non-nuclear military site and such information remain secret. This is a result of the background of the IAEA’s performance in similar cases. For example, during the agency’s work in Iraq, information related to non-nuclear military sites of that country were made available to other states a few years before military invasion of Iraq by the United States. Of course, the United States announced that it had not gained that information through the IAEA inspectors, but at any rate, the leak of confidential information about Iraq’s military sites dealt a drastic blow to credit of the agency regardless of the source of the leaked information.

The writer goes on the remind readers that the IAEA and Iran resolved most of the “outstanding issues” between them back in 2007-2008, after they had reached a “Modalities Agreement” for a step-by-step process of cooperation, and,

At present, Iran is also ready to cooperate with the agency on all issues provided that the cooperation is mutual and based on a correct understanding of Iran’s security considerations.

I should point out here that regarding point no. 3 raised by Beheshtipour, former IAEA head El-Baradei wrote in his memoirs entitled “Age of Deception” about how ridiculous a thought it was that Iran was expected to rebut evidence that it was not allowed to see. In fact, under the 2007 Modalities Agreement, which led to the resolution of all of the claims against Iran except for the “alleged studies”, Iran agreed to provide an evaluation of these claims if it was presented with the documentation first. However the US has prevented the IAEA from sharing the information with Iran, and in some cases the US has even prevented the IAEA itself from seeing the full documentation which forms the basis of these “Alleged Studies” even though there are signficant doubts about the veracity of these same documents. Iran supplied their promised evaluation in the form of a 117-page document anyway. Under the terms of that Modalities Agreement, this was all Iran was obligated to do, and the IAEA was then bound to conclude the issue. That, of course, is not what happened. Read more here

September 26, 2012 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Iran resists pressure to open Parchin to IAEA inspectors