Well, there's some semi-good news. Our courageous
National Intelligence Council has just judged
[.pdf] "with a high degree of confidence" that Iranian authorities
had already halted, way back in 2003, what the NIC inexplicably still characterizes
as a covert "nuclear weapons program." Some details of that alleged
program, obtained from the hard-drive of a laptop computer, allegedly stolen
in Iran in 2004, had been supplied to us a few months later, apparently by the
same wonderful folks who had earlier supplied us the "intelligence"
on Iraq, obtained by them from "Curveball."
Now, a cynic, like Ebenezer Scrooge, might be forgiven for wondering who had
provided us that "smoking laptop" – containing details of what we
now are told were already abandoned activities – and why.
After all, a couple of years ago the Washington
Post noted, that the smoking laptop did not even suggest that
any chronicled activity was in any way related to – much less constituted –
a nuclear weapons program.
According to the Post, the only laptop chronicled activity that was
clearly nuclear related was the Green Salt Project.
"In the spring of 2001, a small design firm opened shop on the outskirts
of Tehran to begin work for what appears to have been its only client – the
Iranian Republican Guard. Over the next two years, the staff at Kimeya Madon
completed a set of technical drawings for a small uranium-conversion facility,
according to four officials who reviewed the documents.
"Several sources with firsthand knowledge of the original documents said
the facility, if constructed, would give Iran additional capabilities to produce
a substance known as UF4, or "green salt," an intermediate product in the conversion
of uranium to a gas."
For years, now, the neocrazies have been running around in circles of diminishing
radii, hysterically demanding that we nuke Iran, all because the Iranian Islamic
Revolutionary Guards asked a small Iranian design firm way back in 2001 to produce
a set of technical drawings for a small facility to convert Iranian yellowcake
– even then all subject to Iran's Safeguards Agreement with the International
Atomic Energy Agency – into uranium-tetrafluoride?
Well, they don't call them "neocrazies" for nuttin.
In 2001, the Iranians still had under construction – but had already made subject
to IAEA Safeguards – a large facility at Esfahan, to convert (safeguarded) Iranian
yellowcake into (safeguarded) Uranium-tetrafluoride and then into (safeguarded)
Uranium-hexafluoride, to serve as feedstock for the Iranian gas-centrifuge cascades
then under construction at the (safeguarded) uranium-enrichment pilot plant
The Esfahan facility was completed and commenced initial (safeguarded) semi-successful
operations in 2003.
But, in the summer of 2003 Iran began negotiations with the IAEA on an Additional
Protocol to Iran's basic Safeguards Agreement and in December not only signed
the Additional Protocol, but volunteered to immediately adhere to it in advance
of its ratification by the Iranian Parliament.
Now, according to the IAEA
Statute, even under a basic Safeguards Agreement, the Director-General and
his designated inspectors "shall have access at all times to all places" in
an IAEA member state as necessary "to account for [Safeguarded] source
and special fissionable materials" and "to determine whether there is compliance
with the undertaking against use in furtherance of any military purpose."
And, under an Additional Protocol, the authorities of IAEA inspectors are considerably
enhanced, to go anywhere – effectively without advance notice – they have good
reason to believe they need to go and to interview anyone they have good reason
to believe they need to interview.
And when IAEA inspectors do determine that safeguarded materials have been
used "in furtherance of any military purpose," they "shall" report such "non-compliance"
to the Director-General, who "shall" thereupon transmit the report to the Board
of Governors, the UN General Assembly and to the UN Security Council.
As of this writing, IAEA inspectors have made no such report to ElBaradei about
Iran. In fact, ElBaradei consistently reports to the Board that "all the declared
nuclear material in Iran has been accounted for, and therefore such material
is not diverted to prohibited activities."
ElBaradei says he frequently asks himself these questions; "Have we seen any
proof of a weapons program? Have we seen undeclared [uranium] enrichment?"
ElBaradei's answer, then and now, is "There is none of that."
In November 2004, Iran had entered into the Paris
Agreement with the French-Brits-Germans, with the explicit expectation that
the French-Brits-Germans would "provide [Iran] firm guarantees on nuclear,
technological and economic cooperation and firm commitments [to Iran] on security
On 23 March 2005, the Iranians confidentially offered to give-up, indefinitely,
many of those "inalienable" rights, but thanks to "diplomatic"
intervention by Bush-Cheney meanies, the French-Brits-Germans were not even
allowed to acknowledge the Iranian confidential offer, much less make a corresponding
offer of "security guarantees" against Bush-Cheney attacks – or threats
of attacks – on Iran, using nukes should Bush-Cheney deem it necessary.
So, on 1 August 2005, Iran informed
[.pdf] the IAEA General Conference that the French-Brits-Germans had failed
to negotiate in good faith and so the Iranians were breaking off the negotiations.
Furthermore, the Iranian Parliament had decided to not ratify
the Additional Protocol and had basically directed the Iranian Atomic Energy
Agency to cease voluntarily complying with it.
Accordingly, Iran announced it was resuming [subject to IAEA safeguards] some
of the uranium-enrichment related activities – including those uranium-conversion
activities at Esfahan – it had voluntarily suspended almost two years earlier.
Now, how's that for a resounding triumph by the Bush-Cheney diplomatic weenies?
So, someone in possession of the "smoking laptop" was hurriedly rushed
to Vienna to share some of the mind-boggling "intelligence" on it
with Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei and his IAEA Secretariat experts.
The NIC had just issued a National Intelligence Estimate – largely based, as
we now know, on that mind-boggling "intelligence" – that assessed
"with high confidence that Iran currently is determined to develop nuclear
But the IAEA experts were not boggled, dismissing most of the "intelligence"
as unconvincing and, in any case, irrelevant.
Far from immediately demanding the Iranians explain the smoking laptop "intelligence,"
as of this writing ElBaradei has not even shared it with them.
So, in the summer of 2005, the Bush-Cheney diplomatic weenies proceeded to
launch their so-far largely successful campaign to corrupt, first, the IAEA
Board, and then the Security Council, getting them to require Iran – in violation
of the IAEA Statute,
the NPT and
the UN Charter
– to give-up all inalienable rights guaranteed them by the IAEA Statute, the
NPT, and the UN Charter.
Why is the news arising from the courageous issuance by the NIC of the 2007
NIE on Iran only semi-good?
Well, on the basis of "intelligence" that may well turn out to be
bogus about Iranian activities that were in no sense illegal or prohibited,
Bush-Cheney diplomatic weenies have inflicted irreparable – perhaps fatal –
damage to the international regime whose first duty was to facilitate the fullest
possible transfer of the benefits of nuclear energy to all members of the United
Nations, and whose collateral duty was to ensure "to the extent possible,"
that no diversion took place of certain proscribed materials to a military purpose.