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November 29, 2008

Smoking Satellite Pics


by Gordon Prather

According to a report by The Associated Press, Mohamed ElBaradei, Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, finds it "baffling" that there are apparently no commercial satellite pictures available of a site in Syria taken in the months just after the Israelis allegedly destroyed whatever was allegedly there prior to September 6th, 2007.

Except, of course, for the before/after photos, allegedly taken via commercial satellite, somehow obtained and published [.pdf] last year by David Albright at the Institute for Science and International Security.

Curiously, as Alblright himself notes, in order for someone to obtain such photos, they would have had to tell the commercial satellite controllers precisely where and when to properly position their satellites and would have had to have paid them big-bucks to take the aforementioned before/after pictures

Now, if Albright, himself, has enough spare big-bucks to go around commissioning commercial satellite operators to take beaucoup high-resolution pictures of a remote patch of Syrian desert, one immediately wonders where, when and why Albright obtained said big-bucks.

And wonders what relation there may be between the Albright disclosures last October and the video slide-show briefing provided The Best Congress Money Can Buy this past April which, according to New York Times Likudnik media sycophant David Sanger, was intended "to support its [Bush-Cheney administration] assertion that the building in Syria that Israel destroyed in an airstrike last year was a nuclear reactor constructed with years of help from North Korea".

According to Sanger; some of the "smoking pics" on which the briefing was based were apparently taken sometime before 2002. In particular, one of the most damning (to Sanger) photographs purports to show the alleged "manager of North Korea’s Yongbyon nuclear plant" – "frozen," under IAEA lock and seal from mid-1994 until early 2003 – allegedly together with "the [alleged] director of Syria’s nuclear agency." An automobile in the background of the alleged photo of the duo appears to have a Syrian license plate.

Well, that tears it! What more do you warmongers need?

Bomb-bomb Damascus! Bomb-bomb Pyongyang! And while you’re at it, Bomb-bomb Tehran!

Why bomb Tehran? Well, according to the Likudniks and their media sycophants, for years the North Koreans have been attempting to clone in the Syrian desert their "frozen" IAEA-Safeguarded Soviet-built reactor, so that the Syrians could then supply Iran with North Korean ‘spent fuel’ elements containing separable weapons-grade plutonium.

Seriously. No fooling. That’s their story and they’re sticking to it.

Hence, they produced and provided the Best Congress Money Can Buy a computer generated/modified cover-your-donkey slide-show, purporting to show similarities between certain computer generated/modified photos in their possession and the Soviet-built reactor at Yongbyon, "frozen" from 1994 until 2003.

(You can reprise the resultant video slide-show here.)

But, unfortunately for the Likudniks, here and abroad, before the Best Congress Money Can Buy could get around to authorizing the nuking of Damascus, Pyongyang and Tehran – with the cover-your-donkey video slide-show cited as justification – the price of gasoline went sky-high, apparently in anticipation of said nuking. And if that wasn’t bad enough, perhaps not coincidently, zillions of vultures came home to roost on Wall Street.

So, to the despair of the Likudniks and their media sycophants, not only has ElBaradei – after "inspecting," at the invitation of the Syrians, the site the Israelis attacked and destroyed in September of 2006 – cautioned members of the IAEA General Conference against pre-judging Syria’s nuclear programs, noting that there is no legal basis under international law and under the IAEA Charter for canceling or postponing the impending IAEA program of financial and technical assistance to Syria to advance a program of the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

Has ElBaradei come unglued? After all, the Likudniks and their media sycophants consistently refer to ElBaradei as the "UN’s nuclear watchdog."

Au contraire.

The IAEA's primary mission [.pdf] is to facilitate the fullest possible transfer – for peaceful purposes – of nuclear materials and technology from the "have" nuclear states to the "have-not" states.

True, the IAEA is required to ensure – "insofar as it is able" – that the technology and materials so transferred are not diverted to a military purpose. But, Likudniks to the contrary, that is not IAEA's primary mission.

Furthermore, the "have" nuclear states – such as the U.S., France, Great Britain, China and Russia – are obligated under the IAEA Statute and under the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons to facilitate that transfer for peaceful purposes.

Hence, the history of Iran's unsuccessful attempts to obtain their "inalienable" rights under the IAEA Statute and NPT – now having been verified by Director-General ElBaradei – constitutes an indictment of the IAEA's long-term abdication of its primary mission. To say nothing of an indictment of the perverse stewardship of "have" nuclear states, such as the United States.

Although begun under the Clinton-Gore administrations, the blame for the deliberate destruction of the NPT-associated nuclear-weapons proliferation-prevention regime lies squarely upon the Bush-Cheney administrations.

Bush-Cheney soon confirmed what Clinton-Gore had already discovered – that the only rationale you soccer-moms would accept for a war of aggression against another sovereign state would be that state’s proven pursuit of nuclear weapons, with which to supply terrorists, for nuking you and yours in your jammies.

But the nation-states that the Likudniks, neo-crazies, media sycophants and fellow-travelers wanted to attack, invade and/or occupy were all members in good standing with the NPT and in complete compliance with their IAEA Safeguards Agreements. Even, contrary to what Clinton-Gore would have you believe, Saddam Hussein’s Iraq!

What to do?

Well, set out to deliberately destroy the credibility and effectiveness of the NPT-based nuke proliferation-prevention regime which was vetting, year after year, Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, et al.

Whatever happens, subsequently, when historians eventually contemplate the Bush-Cheney legacy they cannot ignore this deliberate destruction.

Now, perhaps the consequences of Bush-Cheney’s perversity will not be as dire as might have been expected.

Perhaps the IAEA can once again attempt to accomplish its main mission. After all, with the NPT-based nuke proliferation-prevention regime in shambles, the French and Russians have announced plans to build new nuclear power plants in India, the Chinese to build new nuclear power plants in Pakistan and in Jordan, the Russians in Venezuela, the French and the Russians in Egypt, etc.

Recently, the IAEA Secretariat – supported by the vast majority of the members of its General Conference – has attempted to focus "more on providing significant socioeconomic benefits" to its members. A change in emphasis, away from IAEA nuclear-technology transfer projects, themselves, towards facilitating the use of such projects for "productive and sustainable human development."

Who knows? Maybe that’s change we can believe in.


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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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