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February 9, 2008

Another Act of War


by Gordon Prather

In June of 2004, a neo-crazy media sycophant at Reuters (Charbonneau) reported that unidentified "diplomats and nuclear experts" had told him that "an experimental high-tech intelligence technique developed by the United States" had detected what sounded like the whine of gas-centrifuges, spinning at supersonic speeds, operating "somewhere" in Syria.

Furthermore, the unidentified "diplomats" had told him such gas-centrifuges, operating supersonically, in cascades, are effectively required in order to enrich large quantities of uranium to weapons-grade quality, and "could only have come from" the AQ Khan network.

(It is, perhaps, possible that Bonkers Bolton was not one of the unidentified "diplomats" telling these outrageous tales.)

True, metallurgist AQ Khan had returned to Pakistan in 1978, with stolen Urenco industrial secrets, and established a uranium-enrichment program at Kahuta, based upon his P-1 gas-centrifuge, a modification of Urenco's first generation, subsonic aluminum-rotor design.

But Khan had trouble producing aluminum rotors which would pass even the subsonic reliability "spin" test.

So, in the 1990s, Khan developed the P-2, his modification of Urenco's second-generation design, which had maraging steel rotors, capable of sustained operation at supersonic speeds.

According to Jane's Defense Weekly, by the time Pakistan held its first international arms bazaar in 2000, there was available at the booth of Khan Research Laboratories a brochure for the KRL-developed second-generation, supersonic, maraging steel rotor P-2, as well as an associated 10-page catalog of specialty vacuum pumps, gauges, high-voltage switches, power supplies, and other equipment.

According to KRL representatives, all the listed items were available for sale and had been approved for export by the Pakistan government.

And, by the time of the high-pitched whine in Syria, Iran had signed – and begun complying with in advance of its ratification – an Additional Protocol to its Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency. Hence, Iran voluntarily shared with Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei its nuclear acquisition records, which included – in addition to all the P-1 aluminum-rotor junk – some P-2 components and design information.

ElBaradei was very interested to know everything possible about what Iran had done with those P-2 designs/components. The Iranians claimed that they turned them over, circa 1995, to a private-sector entity in Tehran, who got nowhere because he was unable to obtain (because of U.S. sanctions on Iran) any maraging steel with which to fabricate the rotors.

But, last week an unidentified "diplomat" told another Reuters neo-crazy media sycophant (Heinrich), Iran is now mechanically testing – not yet having introduced into them any uranium-hexafluoride feedstock – upgraded P-2 supersonic gas centrifuges, reportedly employing third-generation "composite" rotors, at its Natanz plant.

ElBaradei is expected to report the details – voluntarily provided him by the Iranians – of the Iranian P-2 research and development program to the IAEA Board of Governors later this month.

Okay, now back to Syria.

The Israelis apparently were unable to find, in 2004, whatever it was that was alleged to be somewhere in Syria, giving off a high-pitched whine.

But, according to Seymour Hersh,

"Sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission on the banks of the Euphrates River, about ninety miles north of the Iraq border. The seemingly unprovoked bombing, which came after months of heightened tension between Israel and Syria over military exercises and troop buildups by both sides along the Golan Heights, was, by almost any definition, an act of war."

Hersh spent the next three months, attempting to find out what was bombed and why – making several trips to Syria and Israel, interviewing military, intelligence and other government officials in both those countries, and in the United States.

Within weeks of the disclosure by the Syrians of the seemingly unprovoked bombing, neo-crazy media sycophants at the New York Times and the Washington Post were "reporting" that U.S. and Israeli officials had concluded that the North Koreans were constructing at the site a weapons-grade plutonium-producing nuclear reactor – similar to the one constructed for the Koreans by the Soviets at Yongbyon.

Someone apparently then commissioned David Albright (who claims to be a "physicist" and a former "UN inspector" in Iraq) to "analyze" the satelitte photo-imagery of a 2000 square kilometer area of Syria, in an attempt to identify a site that was consistent with the earlier Times and Post nuclear-reactor site reports.

Quoth Albright;

"The fact that we independently found this site by searching for a reactor either is one of the world's most remarkable coincidences or is further evidence that the site could be a reactor."

However, ElBaradei insists

"Our [IAEA] experts who have carefully analyzed the satellite imagery say it is unlikely that this building was a nuclear facility."

Nevertheless, Hersh reports that;

"On October 3rd, the London Spectator, citing much of the same information, published an overheated account of the September 6th raid, claiming that it 'may have saved the world from a devastating threat,' and that 'a very senior British ministerial source' had warned, 'If people had known how close we came to World War Three that day there'd have been mass panic.'

"However, in three months of reporting for this article, I was repeatedly told by current and former intelligence, diplomatic, and congressional officials that they were not aware of any solid evidence of ongoing nuclear-weapons programs in Syria."

Now, Albright has taken issue with Hersh's article, claiming that he took one quote "out of its original context," and used it to imply that Albright had "backed away" from his original identification of the site as almost certainly a nuclear reactor under construction.

But, Albright did not take issue with Hersh's attribution of this absolutely mind- blowing quote to Albright;

"I can understand the Israeli point of view, given the history with Iran and Algeria,

"Both nations had nuclear-weapons programs and, after being caught cheating, declared their reactors to be civil reactors, for peacetime use.

"The international groups, like the U.N. and the I.A.E.A, never shut them down."

Both Algeria and Iran had nuclear weapons programs?

Involving IAEA-Safeguarded nuclear reactors?

Both were "caught cheating"?

Caught doing what?

Caught by whom?

One last question: did Bonkers Bolton commission Albright's search for that Syrian "reactor" site?


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Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.

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