Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
November 20, 2008

IAEA And The Media On Iran And Syria

Yesterday the IAEA released its latest report (pdf) on Iran and one on Syria's 'Box on the Euphrates'.

As expected there is nothing new on Iran. It produces low enriched Uranium, as is its right, and refutes murky U.S. allegations of a nuclear weaponization program.

On the Box of the Euphrates, the building Israel bombed in Syria a year ago, the IAEA found that the size of the building would allow for a reactor and the pipeline from the river for enough reactor cooling.

So the demolished building could have been for a reactor. But it could also have been for a myriad of other purposes. Of the ground samples the IAEA took, one(!) included a tiny bit of chemically altered Uranium which was neither enriched nor depleted.

The usual suspects in the 'western' media are of course trying to twist the facts to let Iran and Syria look guilty of whatever. This is a campaign, initiated by Israel with the help of the U.S., to simply put independent regional competitors of Israel under international pressure.

A few examples of the false news reporting which often is quite subtle, but effective.

On the Iran report the Financial Times asserts this nonsense:

IAEA officials said relations between the organisation and Iran had deteriorated so much there had been no contact between them for over two months, UN officials said on Wednesday. [sic!]

No contact for two month? Hmm. The IAEA report says:

On 29 September 2008, the Agency conducted a physical inventory verification (PIV) at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), ...
On 26 October 2008, Iran provided updated Design Information Questionnaires (DIQs) ...
The Agency has continued to monitor the use and construction of hot cells ...


The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accounting reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities.

No contact?

In Haaretz Yossi Melman writes:

The International Atomic Energy Agency report stresses that Syria refuses to produce documents in relation to the site as it is required to do.

Syria is not 'required' to provide any documents on non-nuclear sites. Only four days ago Melman asserted:

The report will state that IAEA inspectors discovered traces of enriched uranium at the site on the bank of the Euphrates River.

The report did not state that. In his writeup today Melman does not mention that the Uranium particles found were not enriched at all. He did not mention his recent false report either.

The Wall Street Journal prints:

The IAEA, however, said the chemical makeup of the uranium detected at Al Kibar wasn't consistent with uranium from a bomb, but from a reactor.

Again, the IAEA says nothing like that. It was natural Uranium chemically altered is all the IAEA says. How it was altered and for what purpose is not in the report at all. The report would for example be consistent with metallic Uranium used in an Israeli bomb, or residues from Syria's legitimate phosphate fertilizer production which also provides for chemical altered natural Uranium as a by-product.

The Washington Post tells its readers:

Officials with the United Nations' atomic agency stopped short of declaring the wrecked facility a nuclear reactor, but they said it strongly resembled one. And they noted that Syria had gone to great lengths -- including elaborate "landscaping" with tons of freshly imported soil -- to alter the site before admitting outsiders.

The IAEA does not mention any 'landscaping' with regard to the bombed and IAEA visited site at all. Recent landscaping, not tons of fresh soil, is mentioned only with regard to the three site the U.S. wants the IAEA to visit (spy on) in Syria:

As indicated above, the Agency requested access to the three locations on 2 May 2008. Analysis of satellite imagery taken of these locations indicates that landscaping activities and the removal of large containers took place ...

While all of the 'western' media emphasize that the IAEA wrote:

a significant number of natural uranium particles

were found on the ground, none of them mentions this part:

It is necessary to draw attention also to the fact that the result of the analysis of one sample points to three uranium particles, whereas the results of four other samples taken from the same place within a 30 meter range contained no uranium particles.

Three particles on one spot are significant. That is one more than normaly would be found on my not-mopped kitchen floor. Unless of course I recently came back from a visit to a fertilizer plant. Than three or even four Uranium particles might be found on my kitchen floor just like some other quite icky stuff.

Together with the microwave oven right next to them and exaggerated 'western' media reporting, it would be likely enough to come under serious suspicion and maybe even UN sanctions.

But only if such would be in the interest of one specific country. Otherwise  noone would ever care, as it should be.

Posted by b on November 20, 2008 at 03:17 PM | Permalink


Nothing new on Iran but the NYT can make something of it as it did on Iraq, and it doesn't need Judith Miller.

Iran Said to Have Nuclear Fuel for One Weapon
Published: November 19, 2008

Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom bomb, according to nuclear experts analyzing the latest report from global atomic inspectors.

“They clearly have enough material for a bomb,” said Richard L. Garwin, a top nuclear physicist who helped invent the hydrogen bomb and has advised Washington for decades. “They know how to do the enrichment. Whether they know how to design a bomb, well, that’s another matter.”

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 20, 2008 6:00:31 PM | 1

Don Bacon, #1--this was on NPR this evening as well (NPR usually follows the lead of the NYTimes, alas).

(Albeit, it was from an NPR report in the autumn of '02 that I learned the aluminum tubes were simply unsuitable for the purpose BushCo claimed. However, after the initial report, it was not brought up to reinforce for the public that BushBoy was just plain wrong. No, couldn't do that. In spite of that, NPR listeners were among the most well informed on the Bush build up to war against Iraq.)

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 20, 2008 8:22:17 PM | 2

And, of course, no one would think to ask what Syria might do with a nuke if it had one. Answer: it would probably be totally useless.

Rule #1 of Using Nukes: Nuke not thy neighbor. Reason? The radioactive fallout might just blow back onto thyself and thy friends. Prevailing winds are not always prevailing.

Rule #2: Don't waste money developing a nuke when you can just bomb your enemy's nuclear facilities. "Although consequences [of an attack on Dimona] would represent only a small fraction of the Chernobyl release, for Israel, a country the size of New Jersey with a population of some six million, the relative economic dislocation, population relocation, and immediate and lingering psychological trauma could be significant."

Posted by: JohnH | Nov 20, 2008 8:51:38 PM | 3

don Iran has now produced roughly enough nuclear material to make, with added purification, a single atom

sounds about right.

Posted by: annie | Nov 20, 2008 10:41:30 PM | 4

sorry, blame the whiskey

Posted by: annie | Nov 20, 2008 10:42:56 PM | 5

Jim Beam Sour Mash, neat. Thank you.

Now, regarding that bomb design --
First, you must arrange the uranium into two hemispherical shapes, separated by about 4 cm. Since it's highly radioactive, the best way do it is to ask the friend owning the small country to let you use one his facilities. You could use a nuclear plant, a steel factory or even a well equipped pharmaceutical installation as a disguise for your plans. . .

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 20, 2008 11:59:03 PM | 6

Surgar Weekly English Edition, Kandahar, Afghanistan

Threats of famine in the upcoming winter

Kabul Surgar: Afghan health officials say if enough food is not delivered to the far remote areas of the country ahead of the winter, people might face possible famine. Food items should be delivered ahead of winter to those areas which experiences road blockades due to incredible snow or other wise 6 million Afghans will face food shortages. Health minister Doctor Sayed Amin Fatemi urged those provincials officials to resign who have failed
to carry out their jobs of providing healthcare facilities for public and hand over their position to those who are willing to serve their country. While not identifying any names, Mr. Fatemi accused some health officials of not providing health care assistance to the needy despite having the opportunity to receive aid from international fund organizations which could be used to fight famine in the upcoming winter.

The United Nations has shown concerns over the increasingly repeated attacks on their food distribution convoys. Militant Taliban attacks on their food convoys are the main reason for food not being delivered to some parts of the country, UNAMA official told reporters on November 17th in Kabul. UN says if the attacks on food supply convoys continue, it's likely the aid will bog down. Besides the UN worries, the National Assembly (Wolasi Jirga) members also showed concerns over the issue, and blamed the Afghan government for not delivering food items to far remote
areas of the country. National Assembly members have warned the Afghan government to send foods to far areas of the country ahead of the upcoming winter to avoid food shortages, just like last year. The ministry of commerce officials say they have put together about four million tons of food within the country and they will import two millions tons from foreign countries. The Afghan government claims they have delivered food items to some remote areas of the country already, and they will continue their efforts to send out more in the near future.


Foreigners should support peace talks: Karzai

Kabul Surgar: President Hamid Karzai stressed peace talks with Taliban and urged the U.S. and its allies to support his offer of peace talks and providing security to the Taliban's isolated leader, Mullah Omar. While stating these two critical options, Karzai warned that if foreigners don't support his remarks, they should either oust him or withdraw their forces from Afghanistan.

During the last seven years, this is the first time the Afghan president has agreed to peace talks with Taliban at the risk of losing his own job. On November 16th, while talking to a conference, Karzai said if the Taliban leader Mullah Omar, supposedly the top opponent of the Afghan government, agrees to peace talks, the Executive would provide him security. Karzai's comments come in clear intonations, saying the Taliban should leave their demands behind, and sit down to peace talks with the Afghan government.

President Karzai said he would be willing to be removed from his position for offering peace talks to Taliban's leader, but hasn't reached that phase yet. The Afghan president said he will only talk to those Taliban leaders who agree to lay down their weapons and accept the Afghan constitution.

Taliban and their leaders on the other hand, have always rejected peace talks with the Afghan government, and stressed that they will only hold talks if foreign forces leave Afghanistan. Lately, the issue of holding peace talks between the Afghan government and militant Taliban is a concern both inside the country and outside it. Although some international military leaders claim they insisted on peace talks with Taliban, the recent Karzia
comment shows the foreigners have no true interest of choosing peaceful dialogue with the militant Taliban.

Taliban's spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid rejected peace talks with the Afghan president and claimed that Karzai lacks the authority of holding peace talks with them. Mujahid said the Taliban won't agree to peace talks until foreign troops leave the country.


Closed schools to be opened in Uruzgan

Uruzgan Surgar: The Independent Directorate of Local Governance held an assembly of governors to reinforce three main programs: reopening closed schools, strengthening police and providing better security for national highways. Ghulam Jelani Popal, the General Director of The Independent Directorate of Local Governance, told Pajhwok they hold such an assembly every month in different provinces. This year, it was held in the southern Uruzgan province.

According to Mr. Popal, the governors' assembly talked about vital issues like strengthening police in Uruzgan, reopening the shut down schools and securing major highways. Mr. Popal didn't clarify when the assembly's issues would be put into practice.

Uruzgan has had many schools closed down due to insecurity. The new education minister Faroq Wardak also took part in the assembly and stressed the reopening of school as a major priority. Besides the education minister, the southern zone governors, interior ministry affairs deputy and the United Nations representative took part.

Although the Afghan government has demanded several times that local officials reopen schools to provide for educational opportunities for youngsters of the country, they have not been successful in doing so. The Afghan government says about 600 hundred school around the country have closed down due to insecurity.


70000 students have no access to education

Zabul Surgar: Due to many schools closings in the southern Zabul province, around 70000 students do not have access to education, the province's education officials said. Zabul education department deputy Rabbani Khan spoke with Surgar weekly, saying the growing instability threaten educational programs in eight districts of the province. 30 out of 89 schools are operating in Zabul, the remainder are all shut down due to insecurity in the province, Khan added. He has talked and urged the central government to take the issue into serious consideration and help
solve the problem. A school in Seori district of the province was closed down after unknown men chopped off a teacher's ears after beating him up. Taliban were accused of the brutal act, but spokesman rejected the notion.

Threatening and beating up students harms the educational process in Zabul province. Zabul education department's officials show concerns over school shutdowns when unknown men threw acid on school girls faces in the southern province of Kandahar. The miscreant attack had the impact that half of the girls were obliged to abandon schools.

The Afghan president Hamid Karzai strongly condemned the attack and pledged to execute publicly the people responsible for the attack. The troubled southern province of Helmand has also experienced educational troubles with school closings in the province. A Helmand governor deputy said a school which was believed to be a Taliban hideout was destroyed after it was bombed by foreign forces.


In August, the UN World Food programme estimated Afghanistan has an emergency need for 25,000 tonnes of mixed commodities before the coming winter, and a requirement for an additional 70,000 tonnes before February, 2009.

Can you find it in your heart to donate just $100?

Weigh in on this issue with your comments by emailing: letters (at)

Posted by: Shah Loam | Nov 21, 2008 1:14:54 AM | 7

Semper fi!



Military Professional Resources Incorporated, an L3 Communications Co., of Alexandria, Va., was awarded a $75,000,000 maximum order amount increase to its indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for global media development, production and dissemination in support of U.S. Special Operations Command. The work will be performed in Tampa, Fla., and other locations and will expire Jun. 12, 2010. The ceiling increase will be accomplished by issuing modification P00010 to contract number H92222-05-D-0012 on an other than full and open competition basis.


General Dynamics Land Systems Division, Sterling Heights, Mich., was awarded on Nov. 18, 2008, a $63,658,800 firm fixed fee price contract for exercise option for contract funding for the labor to reset180 Abrams M1A2 System Enhanced Package (SEP) v1 to M1A2 SEP v2 tanks. Work will be performed in Tallahassee, Fla., Anniston, Ala., Scranton, Pa., and Sterling Heights, Mich., with an estimated completion date of Sept. 30, 2010. One bid was solicited and one bid was received. TACOM, Warren, Mich., is the contracting activity (W56HZV-06-G-0006).


L-3 Services, Inc., Unidyne Division, Norfolk, Va., is being awarded a $46,670,682 indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity, cost plus fixed fee contract for engineering services to operate and maintain the Technology Center for Cables and Connectors (TC3) facility located at the Naval Undersea Warfare Center Division (NUWC), Newport. Efforts will include: TC3 facilities maintenance and operation, parts procurement and logistic services, fabrication services, research and development services, test and evaluation services, reliability maintainability availability services, programmatic support, and in-service engineering activity services in support of sensors and sonar systems. Work will be performed in Newport, R.I., (50 percent); New London, Conn., (20 percent); and Norfolk, Va., (30 percent), and is expected to be completed by Nov. 2013. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities and the NUWC contracts website, with one offer received. NUWC, Newport, R.I., is the contracting activity (N66604-09-D-0537).

Newport News Shipbuilding, Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $43,819,373 modification under previously awarded contract for planning yard, design, configuration management and logistics support for new construction, operational, conversion and decommissioning submarines, and modernization support for operational submarines to support SSN 688, SEAWOLF, VIRGINIA, SSBN, TRIDENT UK, and SSGN Class submarines. Work will be performed in Newport News, Va., and is expected to be completed by Sept. 2009. Contract funds in the amount of $26,291,624 will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington Navy Yard, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-06-C-2105).

Raytheon Co., Tucson, Ariz., 85756 is being awarded a $40,000,000 cost plus fixed fee contract for engineering and technical services to support standard Missile Production Programs. This contract includes options which, if exercised, would bring the cumulative value of this contract to $334,400,000. This contract combines purchases for the U.S. Navy (64 precent) and the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) Program countries (36 precent). Work will be performed in Tucson, Ariz.; and is expected to be completed by Nov. 2009. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA), Washington, D.C., is the contracting activity (N00024-09-C-5303).

American Security Programs, Inc.,* Dulles, Va., is being awarded $29,737,877 to exercise option 2 under a previously awarded combined firm fixed price, indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity regional security services contract (N69450-07-D-1261). The work includes guard and non-guard services and the work to be performed provides for, but is not limited to, entry control point (ECP) services such as identification checks, fixed vehicle inspections, commercial vehicle inspections, and emergency ECP closures; and roving guard services such as surveillance detection and mobile vehicle inspections. Work will be performed in the Southeast region at the following installations: NSA Orlando, Fla.; CBC Gulfport, Miss.; NAS Meridian, Miss.; NWS Charleston, S.C.; NSA Athens, Ga.; NAS Atlanta, Ga.; NSA Panama City, Fla.; NAS Whiting Field, Fla.; and NAS Kingsville, Texas. The work is expected to be completed by Nov. 2009. The award of this option brings the total contract value to $60,039,396. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Southeast, Jacksonville, Fla., is the contracting activity.

W. M. Jordan Co., Newport News, Va., is being awarded a $27,058,406 firm fixed price contract for the design and construction of a Special Boat Team Operations Facility at Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Norfolk, Va. Work will be performed in Norfolk, Va., and is expected to be completed by May 2010. The contract also contains two unexercised options, which if exercised, would increase cumulative contract value to $27,606,860. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was competitively procured via Navy Electronic Commerce Online website, with three proposals received. The Naval Facilities Command, Mid-Atlantic, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N40085-09-C-5025).

Posted by: Jim Jones | Nov 21, 2008 1:31:00 AM | 8

I don't understand all this MSM rubbish. What is the point to it? Repeatedly now, the IAEA has stated that Iran appears to NOT be focusing on weaponising their uranium. Under international law and the the NPT, overseen by the IAEA, Iran has the right to enrich uranium for peaceful energy purposes. EVEN IF Iran did weaponise uranium to create, say, an atom bomb: Does anyone REALLY think that the Iranians are dumb enough to launch an offensive, unprovoked attack with nuclear weapons when Israel has a far larger cache of nuclear weapons than anyone in the Middle-East (the only holder of NW's according to reports), and when they know that if they ever did launch such an offensive, unprovoked attack - not only would Israel relish the chance to flatten the country, but so to would the US & UK....The Iranians aren't dumb. They are educated people like us.

They are not going to committ their nation to suicide. People just need to step back, relax, and adopt a broader more sensible perspective.

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 1:44:48 AM | 9

Al said: "The Iranians aren't dumb. They are educated people like us."

If that's true, then may God help the Iranians because He, She, or It isn't doing much for us.

Posted by: Jimmy Montague | Nov 21, 2008 3:45:32 AM | 10


I don't understand your comment.

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 6:55:25 AM | 11

Jimmy seems to be a fatalist.
"Fatalism is a philosophical doctrine emphasizing the subjugation of all events or actions to fate or inevitable predetermination."
OTH John F. Kennedy in his Inaugural Address said that "God's work must truly be our own."

Posted by: Don Bacon | Nov 21, 2008 9:57:05 AM | 12

They are educated people like us

that's not a compliment. that's probably the point jimmy was making

Posted by: b real | Nov 21, 2008 10:40:01 AM | 13

I still don't get it, haha. Anyway, this US guy Scott Ritter I'm watching on youtube is really switched on...

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 11:36:17 AM | 14

educated: (adj) enlightened (characterized by full comprehension of the problem involved)

Posted by: b real | Nov 21, 2008 11:42:14 AM | 15

Yes but w(hy)tf is that "not a compliment"?!? Forgetting DB's god stuff which I completely don't get.

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 12:11:47 PM | 16

I mean DB, oh look who cares. Gold backwardation has started and gold has spiked. Wonder how long it will take for it to hit 2k. HMM.

Our Perth Mint over here seems to be under extreme stress to produce and supply gold:

Perth Mint suspends sales of coins after unprecedented demand,28124,24687337-643,00.html

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 12:13:46 PM | 17

I don't understand all this MSM rubbish. What is the point to it? Repeatedly now,

might the answer lies somewhere in jim jones #8 first paragraph?

Military Professional Resources Incorporated, an L3 Communications Co., of Alexandria, Va., was awarded a $75,000,000 maximum order amount increase to its indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity contract for global media development,

it's all good all the time! join the victory celebrations tomorrow and be happy about it.

Posted by: annie | Nov 21, 2008 12:43:04 PM | 18

Oh & PS: does this not represent non-sensical logic?

U.S.-Backed Russian Institutes Help Iran Build Reactor

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 1:26:32 PM | 19

Al--If you mean to compliment someone by saying they're educated just like us, then you're saying they can be just as stupid as Americans were in cheering on BushBoy's war on Iraq, his inability to manage the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan, and the lack of understanding of possible blowback from actions taken.

Now, if you mean they're educated and wouldn't do something stupid to cause their own destruction, then leave out the part about "just like us," if "us" means the government and scared acquiescence of the American public. I'm sure some Iranian leaders could figure out how to scare Iranians enought to get them to think they needed to undertake some stupid military endeavor. It might not be as easy as it was for BushCo, since the Iranian MCM* may not be as pervasive. But on that I have no knowledge.

Maybe Iranians will be more skeptical; maybe bcz they don't have the biggest military in the region they feel they must be more cautious. I don't know.

*MCM--Mainsteam Corporate Media

Posted by: jawbone | Nov 21, 2008 1:40:54 PM | 20

Want to know where the Western media's jaundiced eye will be focused on in the not too distant future?

Russia to build nuclear reactor for Hugo Chavez

Nick Day, a Latin American specialist, said the nuclear deal was deliberately timed to pile pressure on the US administration during a moment of transition and weakness.

"Russia is manoeuvring hard in the time between Obama's election and his inauguration. What the Russians are trying to do is to set up a chessboard that gives them greater mobility in negotiations when he [Obama] comes to power," he told the Guardian.

He added: "Russia's message is: 'We can exert influence in your backyard if you continue to exert influence in our backyard. If you don't take your missiles out of Poland and end Nato expansion we're going to increase our influence in Latin America and do things to provoke you.'"

Because, of course, the world revolves around the US...

Posted by: Alamet | Nov 21, 2008 7:41:40 PM | 21

Thank you jaw bone. Thank you. I now understand.

Posted by: Al | Nov 21, 2008 11:09:42 PM | 22

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