Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
April 25, 2008

The "Syrian Reactor Show" - a Fake?

The "video", a slideshow of text, computer animations and photos alleged to be from a Syria nuclear reactor, has been released. The presentation has, as David Sanger in the NYT characterizes, "the feel of a cold-war-era newsreel about the Korean War."

There are some inconsistencies in the presentation, at least for me, and I'll discuss those along with pictures below the fold.

The presentation is an elaborate information operation. If one sees it only once and is not really concentrated it is even convincing. But if you analyze it you will find that it jumps in time and space and adds stuff in animations and graphics that are not supported in the photographed evidence.

The chutzpah of the presentation peaks some eight minutes into it. There one slide shows some undefinable structure in a very blurry aerial photograph next to a CIA computer graphic and the text says:

Internal Structure of Destroyed Building Matches Reactor Computer Model

One really wonders how that could be. These CIA indeed managed to paint a computer graphic so that it fits their interpretation of a very blurry photograph. Who would have expected such a capability within that organisation?

For the purpose of further discussion I have made screenshots from the presentation all of which you can see here (may load slow for you). The timer of the slideshow at the McClatchy site runs backwards. I have marked the pictures with those timemarks. The total length of the presentation is 11:40.

There is not much reason to believe the U.S. assessment that Syria was building a nuclear reactor. The presentation only adds to suspicion towards that claim. But some were convinced by it just like they were convinced by Powell's show on Iraqi WMD at the UN. The Leader column at the Guardian is one example:

The images, taken before the structure was attacked, indicate that North Korea helped build the reactor, which closely resembles the one at Yongbyon which they have just disabled.

The pictures certainly don't indicate anything like that.

Some of these pictures are manipulated. Others might have been made in a different context and at a different place than alleged. Some are outright misleading.

I have four specific question:

Question 1:

This picture was released by ISIS last October. The orientation of the picture is largely towards north. The big box is the middle is the alleged reactor building. On the left (western) side of that building one can see an attached structure with a white roof, which, if one inspects the shadows, is less tall than the big box.

The slideshow starts with this picture which is orientated towards east (time left in the video: 11:39).

The slideshow zooms onto the center building in the above picture (11:26). But this isn't only a photograph. The "windows" and lines on the facade are much finer than other details of the quite blurry picture. They are also exactly horizontal.

Also note that the lower level part of the building on the lower part of the picture is centered on the western side of the building, while in the ISIS photo the lower western part is asymetrical attached to north western corner of the bigger building. Is this "facade" of the building photoshopped with a higher resolution than the original aerial picture? Why?

Question 2:

An alleged "photograph of the facility" (11:15).

To me this looks like a unfinished raw concrete building in a sandy place. (9:40)

But much later into the show the same "West wall" picture is used and it is alleged that this is a camouflage structure.

First comes another picture showing "the reactor under construction" (3:50)

And now again the "West wall" with the presentation voice-over saying this is "after curtain walls and roof were added" to differentiate it from a the North Korean building complex which in any case is much bigger and looks totally different to me even without any additions. (3:40)

This seems a quite elaborate made-up story. First the presentation and especially its animations try to make one believe that this is big concrete box that houses a reactor like the North Korean one even though the building doesn't really fit. Then it is alledged that this is so because the building was camouflaged with "curtain walls", i.e. these ain't councrete walls.

If the Syrians wanted to hide some alleged similarity of structures (where did they hide the chimney?), why would they then not build in a different configuration to begin with instead of going the extra length to build "curtain walls"? Why did they build an "underground water tank" instead of using an overground tank to make the installation look different?

It is not obvious at all from these on-the-ground pictures where they were taken. Do they really fit the aerial pictures or are they Made in DimonaTM?

Think about it - we have some independent aerial pictures and the same aerial pictures animated with a likely photoshopped facade. We then have pictures on the ground of a concrete box or curtain walls that fit the facade. Who says that these are the same structures? From looking at these pictures, we can not tell.

Are these pictures from the same site than the aerial views?

Question 3:

These persons: I found some parts of this photo unconvincing, marked those with red circles and zoomed one part without interpolating. (6:03)

The pixilation of the outline of the person in blue seems to be rougher than the pixilation of the rest of the picture. Is this picture photoshopped or umodified?

Question 4:

A new building of unknown, but assessed as non-nuclear, function at the side of the destroyed building. (1:28)

Who made the assessment that this is non-nuclear? Is s/he really sure or is this just because the "Internal Structure of New Building Matches a Non-Reactor Computer Model"? Couldn't I photoshop a nuke factory into that?

Sorry folks - to me, this all looks like a big fake.

Anyway - discuss the pictures. More are here.

Posted by b on April 25, 2008 at 15:25 UTC | Permalink


Baradei is pissed

The head of the U.N. nuclear monitoring agency angrily criticized Israel on Friday for bombing an alleged Syrian nuclear facility, and chastised the U.S. for withholding information on the site.
"The Director General deplores the fact that this information was not provided to the Agency in a timely manner, in accordance with the Agency's responsibilities under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to enable it to verify its veracity and establish the facts," ElBaradei's office said.

Additionally, "the Director General views the unilateral use of force by Israel as undermining the due process of verification that is at the heart of the non-proliferation regime," it said.

ElBaradei did not criticize North Korea or Syria in his statement.

Posted by: b | Apr 25 2008 16:19 utc | 1

Thanks b. This is great work.

They only have to convince the stoopids. Worked before.

Posted by: beq | Apr 25 2008 16:46 utc | 2

Thanks beq - here is how the spin it. Murdoch Times

Intelligence officials showed committees on Capitol Hill a video taken inside the Syrian al-Kibar facility in which Korean faces were said to be visible. The design of the plant is alleged to resemble the North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, including a similar configuration and number of holes for fuel rods.
There is is one asian in the whole "video" and that is the picture above - completely out of context of the box-on-the Euphrates. The picture in the presentation that shows some "holes for fuel rods" has less holes than the NoKo reactor. It is not evident where or when that picture was taken.

Posted by: b | Apr 25 2008 17:07 utc | 3

Many thanks for the screenshots. The overheads of the bombing damage are particularly useful.

On your Question 1: The ISIS photo is an overhead photo and the slideshow photo is oblique, apparently from a much lower altitude. (Who took it? When?) That foreshortens the east-west dimension of the building, which is not necessarily different from that in the ISIS photo. In fact, my guess is that the dimensions of the larger part of the building are about the same in both.

I concur, however, that the small side portion of the building seems to have "moved." Is is a semi trailer or a part of the building?

The CIA has algorithms (heck, Google has algorithms!) that can transform oblique to overhead or vice versa. It seems odd that they didn't use them to present equivalent photos, oriented in the same direction.

I have many more questions, but also a busy day. I hope to post more over the weekend.

Posted by: CKR | Apr 25 2008 17:24 utc | 4

this likudnik slapstick routine while pleasing to the cretinous congress - is what it appears to be - a vulgar farce

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 25 2008 18:07 utc | 5

& just for a giggle

"At the C.I.A., Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the agency’s director, told employees on Thursday that they should “take heart because our team effort on the Al Kibar reactor is a case study in rigorous analytic tradecraft, skillful human and technical collection, and close collaboration.”

who writes their shit. someone in the secondary stages of syphilis

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 25 2008 18:13 utc | 6

The NK reactor looks to be a 6 story building, with another 6 stories on top of that enclosing (?) the reactor. The Syrian building is at best a 4 story building in total height from grade level. The NK building is also much bigger in the other dimensions. Its a little hard to believe that such a building, what looks like an run of the mill early 20th century cold storage warehouse, could actually house a functional nuclear reactor. Or if such a tiny building could enclose a reactor, why would they not bury it in one of those hillsides that surround it? More likely this is the Syrian version of the Saddam's, chemical warfare drones that turned out to be balsa wood toys.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 25 2008 18:42 utc | 7

@CKR - 4- The CIA has algorithms (heck, Google has algorithms!) that can transform oblique to overhead or vice versa. It seems odd that they didn't use them to present equivalent photos, oriented in the same direction.

First - your welcome. Please let us know what you find.

I am quite sure that the CIA has used some "algorithms" here. I am also sure many other people can come up with some algorithms too to prove that the world is flat or whatever someone pays to "prove" in a 11 minute animated slideshow. Hey, ask me, I am cheap.

This is simply not a presentation of evidence but a presentation of obviously fudged stuff. Form over function. Disinformation.

No trust, no takers. The CIA did a very, very bad job with this one (again).

Posted by: b | Apr 25 2008 18:55 utc | 8

it's not because i don't think syria is capable, indeed with a warring nation like israel next door - it has an inalienable right to construct its own defence by any means necessary

it is quite simple, as it is for most of us - we don't believe a word or a breath that passes this crimnal administrations lips, & the likudnik have spread the largesse of their lies in much the same way as their old partners - the racist apartheid south africa

what i find astounding tho - the south african defence forces carried out elaborate & profound research into biological & chemical warfare & this was done with full complicity of the state of israel - indeed they were the principal beneficiaries of such research - a research that was taken out into the field - when apartheid south africa was demolished - it is as clear as day - that a great deal of this research went straight to israels defence forces

& yet not a word, not a breath by a corrupt & criminal media

they barely ever mention the vast nuclear stockpile with which israel threatens the middle east

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 25 2008 18:59 utc | 9

link to WaPo

An hypothesis, somewhat OT: it's clear from this link that the US has decided to blow up Iran before July or August--before Labor Day, if not before Independence Day.

How to justify this frivolous and self-destructive act? Well, let's bear it in mind that the NIE of last fall, so distressing to the mongering warriors, makes it clear that our intelligence has found no cause for atomic alarm on Iranian soil. A very inconvenient finding, taking the wind out of the mongering warriors' sails....

So what must they now produce--to the laughter of all and sundry?

To begin with, evidence, photographic evidence--evidence to our wondering eyes--that they can exhibit visible proof of atomic bomb-building where none can be seen to exist.... And as it has been with Syria, so shall it be with Iran.....Because I really expect to see a lot of meaningless sattelite images of Iranian buildings within the next few weeks, more or less patterned on these from Syria. And then the bombings will indeed proceed--launched, in part, by Israelis, but mostly by Americans flying in from Missouri.

For those of us who find this entirely contemptible, the military will continue to jump up and down, crying about Iranian support for the insurgency on the ground, and the urgent need to stop this bad behavior once and for all.

But, of course, since we lack the means to engage in ground action of any consequence, the only thing we'll be engaging in, when we aren't bombing "nuclear sites," is the saturation bombing of civilian populations in Iran. This will go on for a while, with "military commentators" swarming the popular press, insisting that the bombing of women and children really and truly "works," whatever that means....

And meanwhile the position of the Americans on the ground in Iraq will continue to deteriorate. Forone thing, it will become impossible--come October or November--for any ranking American official to fly in and out of Baghdad. This public-relations disaster will, in its own good time, give rise to yet another version of "progress": for once the Green Zone loses its value as a photo-op for our leaders, the folks in command will produce sattelite photos proving that the Green Zone is an Iraqi nuclear site, and will proceed to bomb it to smithereens.

This bombing of the Green Zone will redeem the Air Force in the eyes of the Pentagon--yes, the Air Force, so sadly accused a few days ago of not having done its part to advance our noble cause!

And when puzzled observers mention that the bombed-out "nuclear facilities" of the Green Zone bear a striking resemblance to the recently constructed (in unfinished) American embassy, photographs will turn up all over the place proving that our "so-called Embassy" bore a striking resemblance to buildings found in North Korea, Syria and Iran--all of them sharing the common features of walls, roofs and windows.....

My dear fellow-barflies, I bother you with all this here and now so that we won't have to waste a lot of time puzzling over it as it unfolds. We will have the option of concentrating on things that matter--like the accelerating famine in the southern hemisphere, and the millions of our fellow-citizens languishing in our prisons.

Posted by: alabama | Apr 25 2008 19:15 utc | 10

as much as i am a materialist, i am also a pessimist - i agree that alabama's foretelling is correct. all evidence would suggest - that the armies that rule from the roll of dollars simply do not have the means for such a war when they are losing a number of others in close proximity. & those united states are not a warrior culture, they are a violent culture & a culture absorbed by violence - which is a quite different thing

& if the truth be told - those united states - have never won at a military level, ever - in fact when it has started to lose - it propells itself into levels of violence - that is coldly comparable to the defence by the german armies after the losses of kursk & stalingrad. violence which has not tactical or strategic meaning - less any geopolitical reasoning - prussia became russia soon enough - in vietnam their defeat became the horror for the vietnamese - & there as in nicaragua - it throws its baby's fit - & blockades & mines oceans & harbours

those united states are so in love of violence - they will indeed bomb the iranians. this propaganda which is no more or less than a new form of pornography - like colin powells barbarous presentation at the u n - its 'reality' or narrative do not have to be sophisticated. the cruder the better (these last few week hhave demanded i rest horizontally - so i profited in part to regard - the whole series of '24' - from beginning to end & i was struck by the primitve level of the 'scenarios' & of their impoverished narratives - in no way different from nell tied to the railway lines in 20's american silent cinema - but a series like this tells you what may populate a people's dreams & at the simplest level resides the absolute fear of the other coupled with a complete distrust of their own rulers - it is not a form of incisiveness but an elemental part of the schizophrenic adoration of violence)

the violence itself seems to be losing its strategic territories it barely controlled already & it would not surprise me in the least - (as they had to do in the week of basra) - move everybody from the green zone to another fortified area - & how it will be explained by a media wwho gets its daily meals from the military

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 25 2008 20:04 utc | 11

Q1) Of course the front is computer generated. It's just like Google earth. When you zoom in on a flat picture mapped to a 3D environment, you have to draw in the vertical surfaces of buildings because you don't have that information.

Q2A) Curtain wall does not literally mean a wall of curtains! It means it's not a structual wall for the building's interior, just part of the ficade. Thus there's empty space and not a room on the other side.

Q2B) Yes, it is shorter than Yongbyon. It's entirely possible that more of the reactor vessel is underground to make it less obvious. Could be that sand is easier to dig than Yongbyon granite. It can also be narrower in extent because Syria is trying to be subtle; they may have decided to be minimalist and not include all the offices and reprocessing facilities that are part of the Yongbyon complex.

Q3) Who knows, you need the original and not a screencap to tell.

Q4) Making a reactor requires a large amount of concrete, a huge reactor vessel, and associated cooling system. It took over 6 years to build the destroyed facility. If they pour a flat concrete floor, and erect a shed using a lightweight metal framework in just a few months, it's a safe bet it's not a nuclear reactor.

Posted by: JC | Apr 26 2008 0:42 utc | 12

Someone called Shual posted a comment at Joshua Landis' place saying

"The problem here is that it [the Reactor Computer Model] does NOT match the dimensions of the photo “fuel-channel” AND not the earlier photo “vessel”. The word MATCH for a model of 24×20m for a room that is 20×16m is a joke."

He goes on with some more complex reasoning of the same sort, but the line I quoted is so simple it should be widely considered, I think.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 26 2008 1:13 utc | 13

"It's entirely possible that more of the reactor vessel is underground to make it less obvious. Could be that sand is easier to dig than Yongbyon granite."

It's entirely possible that the no longer extant world trade centre housed a facility for manufacturing non-treatable and fatal infectious diseases. Well there's as much evidence of that as there is that Syria had built a nuclear reactor in their concrete husk out in the desert. Putting a weapons facility in downtown Manhattan makes considerably more sense than sticking it out in the desert since trucks carrying equipment and materials aren't going to stick out like the proverbial dog's balls.

After looking through all the pix taken of the Syrian site over several years, there are no pictures of suspicious looking loads being transported there. Where are the shots of truck/s pulling up with the huge reactor vessel? It was manufactured there? OK. Where are the shots of heavy machining and engineering equipment being delivered?

It has taken amerikan and israeli intelligence nearly 12 months to come up with the evidence that they based this unprovoked and entirely unwarranted attack on the sovereign nation of Syria upon. Legally just as much an act of terrorism as anything either israel or amerika have accused others of. Nearly a year with photoshop and access to some of the best graphical imaging systems money can buy, yet their lack of imagination compounded by the guilt of deception has betrayed them. If they had been observing this structure from the get go as they claim, the evidence would be unequivocal and wouldn't have taken 12 months to get the ducks in a row to present it.

If this wasn't a piss weak attempt to explain away a mistake after the fact, why didn't israel or amerika raise this site as an issue at some time during the years they observed it? The IAEA could have gone in and either confirmed or debunked the accusation, then a decison based in reality could have been made. That didn't happen which suggests the decison was based in unreality.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 26 2008 2:53 utc | 14

I don't think "the IAEA could have gone in," because as the Syrian ambassadors have been saying, if NPT-signatory but non-nuclear-armed countries are going to be expected to let IAEA inspectors explore their military plants every time someone makes an allegation, then these countries are going to have no national security at all, even on the most basic defense functions. The idea that "the IAEA should go in" on speculation, or "preventatively," or "pre-emptively," is as illegitimate as the idea that the USA should launch "preventive" or "pre-emptive" wars, and also contrary to the treaties establishing the IAEA's rights and responsibilities.

Posted by: Rowan Berkeley | Apr 26 2008 3:25 utc | 15

thank you b

Posted by: annie | Apr 26 2008 3:53 utc | 16

b, I echo annie's thanks. I saw that you left a comment at Arms Control Wonk, I left a comment at War in Context about your findings.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but the fact that these 'experts' have all signed off on the 'proof' they've been fed, and studiously ignored your clear evidence that some of the images were Photoshopped shows what these people really are, pathetic little yes-men.
Of course, they all did the same thing before Iraq, weren't they sadly misled by the administration? Now they do it again. This time there's no excuse.

Posted by: Dick Durata | Apr 26 2008 5:00 utc | 17

re the IAEA could have gone in, that would only have been after amerika/israel produced enough evidence to warrant such an inquiry. There would always be ample opportunity for Syria to have rebutted whatever evidence amerika/israel produced before any inspectors got near Syria. getting caught up on the technicalities on this is bullshit when my point was about whether amerika and israel had sufficient evidence to begin a multi-lateral inquiry into the site, which they didn't and that certainly means that amerika/israel didn't have the right to bomb it.
whatever the impact on a nation's national security, sending in IAEA inspectors even though they have been proven to have links with amerikan intelligence services, is still a better option for a nation's security than amerika/israeli blowing the bejeesus outta any military installation in Syria or anywhere else, that they claim to be suss.

amerika has managed to turn the once multi-lateral independent body the IAEA from an instrument of arms control and non-proliferation into an instrument for maintaining the present unequal balance of power. The IAEA in it's current form is as much use as tits on a bull so discrediting it is not a problem.

In that light making amerika/israel use the IAEA inspectors on third nations is a positive as the sooner the IAEA and the present non-proliferation treaties are made so unworkable that signatories walk away en masse or at least in large number, the better that will be for world peace.

amerika/israel are the only bullies in the playground at the moment, both sociopathic in their refusal to consider others needs or the harm their actions do to others, the Korea saga has proven that the only effective way for a small country to avoid being bullied by amerika/israel is to tool up with nukes

Current non-proliferation treaties have been perverted by amerika to allow their friends and acquaintances (india/brazil) to load up on thermo-nuclear devices, but no one else. therefore no more mutually assured destruction, that sort of one sided situation must inevitably lead to a nuclear war

Posted by: Debs is dead | Apr 26 2008 6:00 utc | 18

Why all of these analyses? It was simple and easy, the Syrian government just after the bombing could have invited the international press and show them the building to prove that it is not a reactor!!! The burden is on the Syrian government to prove it is not a reactor espically that it denied that Israel was able to bomb the building at the beginning, then stated that it is a research facility on desertation and later Bashar admitted that it is an "un-used-military building"!

Posted by: GK | Apr 26 2008 13:19 utc | 19

GK, with all due respect, we might better be able to answer your question if you posted it in your mother tongue, and one of our fellow barflies translated it into English.

Posted by: alabama | Apr 26 2008 14:09 utc | 20

@GK - the problem with "inviting the international press" is that once you do it, there will be "follow up" question and bombings.

Israel would have hinted that some stuff is elsewhere, bomb some other place and the press would again be called in or the IAEA and so on. Once you commit to that game, you are running in circles.

See the IAEA and Iran. Last summer they made a deal what points to answer in what timeframe - one after the other. Year end, the whole thing was finished and the IAEA was ready to report that Iran had answered all open questions.

Suddenly the US came up with "new evidence" for the laptop of death. Bullshit stuff but it resulted in a bunch of new questions Iran will have to answer. When those points are cleared up, the US will come up with more "new evidence" - and so on.

Assad was smart to say nothing and let the whole stuff under a carpet. Whatever it was at that place it wasn't nuclear anyway.

Posted by: b | Apr 26 2008 14:47 utc | 21

Debs doesn't seem to understand that national sovereignties still exist in this world.

"b," your comments engine refuses to remember my personal info, even when I tick the box that tells it to do so. It's a pain having to re-enter them each time. Just thought I'd let you know.

Posted by: Rowan berkeley | Apr 26 2008 16:21 utc | 22

Why didn't you address my comments instead of "fellow barflies translated it into English"?

Posted by: gk | Apr 26 2008 16:44 utc | 23

@Rowan - 22 - same for me at this moment - shift-reload seems to cure that, but the problem is still there when one first loads a page - I am looking into it. It is either the sitemeter (bottom left of each page), or some Typepad screwup.

Sorry for that ...

Posted by: b | Apr 26 2008 17:25 utc | 24

More of my analysis here.

Posted by: | Apr 26 2008 17:58 utc | 25

Sorry - That was me.

Posted by: CKR | Apr 26 2008 17:59 utc | 26

@gk - @23 - I didn't get that critic on 'language' in 20, but your comment was quite hmmm ... unsourced?

The burden is on the Syrian government to prove it is not a reactor espically that it denied that Israel was able to bomb the building at the beginning, then stated that it is a research facility on desertation and later Bashar admitted that it is an "un-used-military building"!

Why is the burdon on the guys who got attacked?

The burdon of proof should be on those who ILLEGALLY attacked Syria. I don't see any proof of a Syrian nuclear project here and even if there were such it would never be a justification for bombing something. Who would have to prove that Dimona houses reactors after a bombing attack on it?

Did Syria ever deny that Israel was able to bomb the box as you assert?

I really followed the news closely those days and never saw that claim. Do you have any proof, link for that assertion?

When did Syria claim that this was a place for research on desertation?

As I remember there was some name of an agricultural facility rumored to have been bombed soon after the attack happened and that name indeed was of an agricultural institute. (use the search box on the main page - I wrote about it)

But that institute is some 100 miles away from the box-on-the-Euphrates and the Syrians said then that place was untouched.

The "box" only came into play after Albright (after consulting with Israelis as he admitted) published his choice pictures of the box 3-4 weeks after the attack. So Syria certainly never made the claim that bombs on this place were an attack on a agri-lab. Assad in October 2007 said the attack was on a abandoned military site.

Again if you can provide sources for your claims I and others here would appreciate that.

Alabama seems to be correct here to a point. You either don't know how to express stuff in English or you don't know the stuff you assert at all.

Posted by: b | Apr 26 2008 19:24 utc | 27

The after action photos are what made the case. They were not digital enhancements, just Sat photos. When the roof collapsed it was basically a interior photo. After Clinton bombed the Sudanese chemical factory, they begged for inspectors to see whether it was weapons related. Why would Syria not take advantage of the enormous propaganda victory if it were innocent?

Posted by: JC | Apr 26 2008 19:29 utc | 28

@JC - what tells you that these "after action photos" fit the "pre action photos" - I studied them - to me they do not seem to fit.

The Sudanese "chemical factory" was a pharmaceutical factory that produced 40+% of the medical drugs needed by the Sudanese people. A lot of people died in Sudan because of Clinton's action.

There is no "propaganda victory" to gain here by the victim.

You yourself still refer to a Sudanese "chemical factory" even though they proved it was a pharmaceutical factory. Where is their "propaganda victory" then?

I would recommend to anyone in such cases to not respond to such "bombing propaganda". There are other ways possible to "answer" ...

Posted by: b | Apr 26 2008 20:08 utc | 29

The burden is on the Syrian government to prove it is not a reactor espically that it denied that Israel was able to bomb the building at the beginning, then stated that it is a research facility on desertation and later Bashar admitted that it is an "un-used-military building"! gk @ 19.

gk (@23, wondering about alabama @20, commenting about gk @19): the sentence cited above does not make sense in English and never will, given the way it uses the pronoun "it". This is a problem frequently found in the writing of folks for whom English is not their mother tongue--folks, especially, whose mother tongue uses gendered nouns and pronouns.

It's my guess--but only a guess-- that you write more comfortably in a language than other English. If so, then some barflies hereabouts, who know your mother tongue, night translate your (native) sentences into English, and we might then be able to follow what you say, clearly and distinctly. But not before.

Only after we've understood your words at the linguistic level can we begin to address the logic of your thinking. B, who has tried to do so without benefit of translation, admits (@27) to some frustration on this score.

Posted by: alabama | Apr 26 2008 22:28 utc | 30

& i'd imagine there are a number of us familiar enough with hebrew to translate

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 26 2008 23:22 utc | 31

This comment is excerpted from a letter sent in by an "informed reader" and posted at

If the reactor were substantially complete, neutron-absorbing boron-10 carbide (or possibly cadmium alloy) control rods would have been installed. Had those been burned or exploded in the bombing, those, too, would have left a chemical signature on the hills surrounding the site and in the prevailing winds. As far as I know, this hasn't been discussed.?

I was wondering the same thing. Perhaps the seven month delay in providing "further details" had something to do with being able to claim that, by now, nuclear material released due to the attack had dispersed beyond the point of detection. It seems logical to me that the USA spooks would have had their satellite and other remotely controlled detection devices focused on that facility immediately after they became aware of the mission. If nuclear residue had been discovered the Americans and israelis would have certainly included that fact in their presentation. But there is no mention (that I know of) regarding confirmed detection of nuclear materials, either immediately after the attack or today.

Posted by: Mark Konrad | Apr 27 2008 17:37 utc | 32

&if we are to look at the 'responsibility' issue - syria has shown itself as a sovereign nation under constant menace - to exhibit a responsibility out of proportion to its capacities. the way it has for example protected the exiled people of iraq exhibits an extraordinary level of fraternity

israel, on the other hand - day after day , year after year - exhibits a geopolitical irresponsibility paid for by the american citizen - that is both shocking & callous

we know of her enormous nuclear arsenal - to be used only for war - & have known for some time. we can assume on the evidence that because of her relationship with apartheid south africa that she has a well developed & practiced biological & chemical warfare arsenal too

israel has proved herself capable of the wors excesses of irresponsibility - the slaughter & starvation of the people in the occupied territories, the absolutley fantaic attack on lebanon

i'd err in syria's favour & think it quite unlikely she would give her enemies the means to wipe it off the map

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 27 2008 18:05 utc | 33

thanks for that Mark Konrad, the majority of American masses are so duped, and the ones who aren't have no voice.

Further, there are two sets of transinformation , one is television, and it's subsets, radio, telephone (old) etc, then the other, the internet, satellite, cable (new) etc, the online medium with two separate unintended goals.

An indirect consequence seems to be competing truths. And often MSM news organizations, will have two sets of the same story, one online, the other not online with different views of the same issue, or communicated knowledge.

On purpose?

Perhaps, nevertheless the outcome is the same, e.g., further diluting the target data. Which in basic information theory turns the signals crudely into nothing more than lore or a belief, anecdotal. As such it becomes a form of engineering the truth, because entropy can be conditioned, massaged as it were.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Apr 27 2008 18:59 utc | 34

Even to the naked eye the asian man is slightly more "blurred" than the other, examine if you will the pixellation at a great magnification and the pattern is very different meaning it has come from a different grained image...

The Neocons are smarting over their failure to sell their bull to the people about Iran as no-one listened so they got desperate, even to the point of using old British mortar shells and claiming they were Iranian items seized... So further emasculated, the neocons are listening to Israel a great deal, Israel is seeking expansion with the possible aneexation of part or whole of Lebanon and cannot do this with Syria in the way, Israel starts a war with Syria knowing that Iran is treaty bound to support Syria, Iran joins the fight and so then does the US have the bounds to come in and start on Iran, its a crazy plan that is doomed to fail.

The flies in the ointment are: Russia who is treaty bound to support both Iran and Syria, China is also pledged support for Iran if the US interrupts China's oil imports which it will regard as an act of war, Iran itself is not the peasant army that the White House would like us to believe nor is Syria come to that but Iran has s300 and SunBurn missile systems that we know about, it has the ability to down the stealth craft the US possess, the "high fliers" like the B-52's and with the SunBurn has the ability to evaporate with one hit a full sized aircraft carrier.

Taken that the Iranians also have missiles that can reach anywhere in the middle east, that the Patriot system is inherently unreliable and bugged, all the bravado the White House puts out will fall into the dust, Iran is not a sanction starved tyranny like Saddam Hussein's Iraq was but a well moralled, equipped and supplied modern fighting force, something the Americans have never faced in their history.

Take also into account that the first bullet that hits Iran also deprives in that very moment a full fifth of essential oil imports from Venezuela it shows a great deal how much the madmen have lost touch with their surroundings and these same madmen are on a course to destroy and eviscerate what is left of America...

Posted by: Ian Watson | Apr 27 2008 19:25 utc | 35

You're quite welcome Uncle $cam. My pleasure of course. However I got it partially incorrect. When "informed reader" made reference to "neutron-absorbing boron-10 carbide (or possibly cadmium alloy) control rods" neither of those are nuclear materials per se. They are components used to control and manipulate the nuclear reaction inside a reactor. However, his point was that even those materials should have been detectable, and I'm not aware of any revelations from the USA or israel that either of those were in fact detected.

Posted by: Mark Konrad | Apr 27 2008 19:50 utc | 36

My 2 cents, for what it is worth, probably not very much, is that there are significant discrepancies between Albright's Digital Globe imagery, taken a month before the bombing, and the version in the video.

I presume it is accepted that the pre-bombing version of the building in the vertical satellite imagery of the video is actually their 3D computer model inserted into the image. Now why would they do that? I would suppose that it can only be that the building in the image was not actually identical to their model.

The model was clearly made on the basis of the ground photography, though again not identical.

We are told that a curtain wall was added to camouflage the nature of the building. Why would that be necessary? I can't see what difference the addition makes to camouflaging the function. At any rate, the photo showing the construction of the camouflage curtain wall shows an extension for the entrance (while the building was under construction) which does not exist in Albright's image of the completed building. Albright's image shows a different, asymmetrical, extension, which must be a movable object, such as a truck or a container or a prefab, as noted earlier in 4.

The post-destruction photos also show no trace of the extension.

My view follows b in saying that there is a big question mark as whether the building of the ground photos is the same as that of the satellite imagery.

On a personal note, having just returned from Damascus yesterday, I can bear witness to the fact that Syrian government decisions can be bizarre in Western eyes. You have to discover their logic, which is not always obvious. Friday, I discovered that the shared taxi station for Amman in Jordan had recently been moved by the government 25km out of the city in the wrong direction (shared taxis are the preferred method of land transport, as you can get one to go in a few minutes at any hour). Only by questioning did I discover that it was also the station for Beirut, and for that it was well-placed. But they forgot that it did not suit travellers for Jordan.

The reason for the comparison is that it is highly unlikely that the logic of the conclusions drawn by the US matches that of the Syrian government, which was certainly different. Even if the evidence were to be validated that the building was a nuclear reactor, the picture presents a small experimental setup, intended to replace and advance the installation they have had for years.

Posted by: Alex | Apr 27 2008 23:21 utc | 37

New methods. Nobody asks wether is was rightful to bomb this "facility".
Moreover if you listen to the statements of teaching law professors (all of them are Jews) it is rightful to detain people without a court order and never release them, because they will turn into "US lovers".

I think it is impossible for Syria to import the necessary equipment. If Syria would have an advanced Russian air defense system they would have taken out the intruders. That didn't happen.
Every shipment to Syria is monitored and controlled physically by foreign forces.

Posted by: gmathol | Apr 28 2008 0:36 utc | 38

Alex wrote:

Even if the evidence were to be validated that the building was a nuclear reactor, the picture presents a small experimental setup, intended to replace and advance the installation they have had for years.

That might also explain the the seeming absence of any air defence systems to protect the structure. If it were a serious nuclear effort intended for industrial scale production it's doubtful they'd leave it so vulnerable.

Posted by: Mark Konrad | Apr 28 2008 1:09 utc | 39

This image analysis is not good at all. This author has very weak computer graphics skills.

When you say:
"The slideshow starts with this picture which is orientated towards east (time left in the video: 11:39)"
"The slideshow zooms onto the center building in the above picture (11:26). But this isn't only a photograph. "

You assume it is a photograph of some kind? This is very apparent, 100% computer generated, and it is presented as such in the video. They say that they have built a computer model, and show the building as a computer model at 9:40 for exemple, the same model is used in the opening shot, on 3d mapped terrain. You mistake that for a photo???? They do not say it is a photo in the video either, and to me it is clear they do not even try to pass this obvious 3D generated scene as a photo.

I am not saying this document is not fabricated, just saying that the author is misguided. I am an experienced CG expert.

In my observation the steel rods at 7:44 are added CG elements.

Posted by: Francois | Apr 28 2008 14:51 utc | 40

@Francois - bullshit.

This is very apparent, 100% computer generated No - it as an overhead satellite picture transformed into a 3D sideview. Google Earth uses the same technic. The sidevoiew of the building is added artificially.

I never assumed it is a photograph. I explicitely say that it isn't only a photograph. So why are you trying to muck me here?

Posted by: b | Apr 28 2008 15:53 utc | 41

secrecy news blog: Resources on the Israeli Strike in Syria

The September 6, 2007 Israeli strike against a suspected Syrian nuclear facility remains a puzzle despite the confident assertion by U.S. intelligence officials last week (pdf) that the target was a Syrian reactor constructed for the production of plutonium with the assistance of North Korea.

An extensive, frequently updated collection of open source materials on the subject — including foreign and domestic news reports, satellite imagery and analysis — has been compiled by Allen Thomson in “A Sourcebook on the Israeli Strike in Syria, 6 September 2007″ (currently 812 pages in a 15 MB PDF file).

An updated bibliography of Syrian nuclear science research, from reactor safety to laser isotope separation, was prepared by researcher Mark Gorwitz. See “Syrian Nuclear Science Bibliography: Open Literature Citations” (pdf), April 2008.

A list of all cooperative agreements between the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Atomic Energy Commission of Syria, also compiled by Mr. Gorwitz, is here (pdf).

The web site of the Atomic Energy Commission of Syria is here.

the remaining links are at the secrecy blog post (since typepad blocks any comment w/ more than four)

Posted by: b real | Apr 28 2008 18:11 utc | 42

typepad is a joke........ anyway I am trying to post this

IT was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way.........
yawn, what tribe is Murdoch, this was an attack to counter the huge Hezz win south of the Litani.

Posted by: Cloned Poster | Apr 28 2008 19:38 utc | 43

those fucking swine who feed from the troughs of washington & tel aviv - these thieves who welcome war & play the games of war without ever having the stature of warriors - who demean & degrade all that comes in their path - are yet again creating cassus belli for cowards & cretins - who would watch the massacres from their mean media with its cruel commentators who barely breathe what we know as breath

these monsters will use syria to attack iran, to demean north korea. you don't have to be a fan of any of these soveriegn nations to understand it benefits no one for them to be humiliated, especially by clowns dripping in the blood of nations

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Apr 28 2008 20:59 utc | 44

The whole thing is a hoax. The real story is that both the Israeli’s and the U.S. wanted the Syrian’s to turn on their anti-aircraft defense system so we could read and map it for a future strike on Iran, as both nations will partake in attacking Iran in the near future.

Posted by: daffy | Apr 28 2008 22:06 utc | 45

sorry to hurt your feelings, but the images shows a texture mapped to a 3D elevation model of the terrain, a 3D model of the building, all rendered in 3d by an openGL real-time rendering engine. Describing that as a photo is misleading. Google earth images are not photographic in nature either, but are rendered images in the virtual camera of your computer. That is not photography. It is not because you apply a 2D texture in your 3D rendering that you can call it a photographic document; it is a 3D render and not a photography.

I think I am giving you an informed opinion, that is all.

Posted by: Francois | Apr 29 2008 3:53 utc | 46

I don't know if it's crossed anyone's mind here, but who is to say that the Israelis even bombed the building shown in the photographs?

The building shown in the aerial photography is quite clearly not the same building as shown in the ground-level photos (the erroneous positioning of the 'lower level extension' being the most obvious tell-tale sign), so why should we believe that this building was destroyed by anyone other than the Syrians themselves?

We should entertain the notion that the building WAS part of an old Syrian military facility, and they may have decided to flatten it to construct a newer building. What the aerial photos may actually show us is the 'before and after' from a controlled demolition to knock down a reinforced concrete (likely if it was indeed military) structure and the subsequent clearing of the site (bulldozers etc) to make way for laying foundations and erecting a new building.

We'd have to be fools to even take at face value that these aerial photographs show the site targeted by the Israelis in their air strike. Surely in this age of televised airstrikes (missiles equipped with cameras - we've all seen US war briefings with footage of airstrikes prevalent) they'd have actual video footage to back up their claims that this was the target in question!

Just a thought...

Posted by: M-RES | Apr 29 2008 13:21 utc | 47

We all know that the American government doesn't need any excuse to launch a war or strike any other country. I'm still unsure why those stupid thick ***t-heads fabricated this brainless saga. They don't need it, they can strike at anytime and no one would say a thing. They even killed their own people in 9/11 (I believe it was an internal job) so would they care about others.
Why don't we all start concentrating on the Israeli WMDs, mainly the nuclear weapons? I know that Israel is above the law and they are allowed all things beyond imagination but as people, why don't we start revealing the truth about Zionism and launch a war to liberate our USA from the occupation of Zionism?

Posted by: Karlos | Apr 29 2008 13:21 utc | 48

Seems the>Pixel Drama is gaining some steam.

Posted by: anna missed | Apr 29 2008 18:01 utc | 49

Seems the Pixel Drama is gaining some steam.

has anyone linked to LAtimes blog?


Posted by: annie | Apr 29 2008 19:32 utc | 50

It is all a lie.... No question about it!

Posted by: Nancy | Apr 29 2008 22:24 utc | 51

los gringos son unos hijos de la gran puta es decir de Bush y sus malditos secuases

Posted by: refaat | Apr 29 2008 22:26 utc | 52

According to a Stratfor report of 17 September 2007, which was shortly after the mission:

....during a meeting of Syrian and Turkish leaders, the Turkish government reported that two auxiliary fuel tanks from Israeli planes had been found in Turkish territory, close to the Syrian frontier. That would indicate that the Israelis were operating very close to the Turkish border, had been detected by the Syrians, released their fuel tanks and took off.

There is no geographical reason for israeli aircraft to cross Turkish territory in order to attack Syria. However it could have been a tactical maneuver to evade Syrian radar and air defence systems. If so, the israelis obviously considered Turkish protests in regard to israeli aircraft invading Turkish airspace to attack a Syrian target to be diplomatically manageable.

Ref: Map of the Middle East

However Stratfor states in the same piece:

The problem with this theory is not with the idea that a North Korean ship might be carrying nuclear equipment to Syria. The problem is the idea that Syria would have a nuclear research facility smack on its border with Turkey. Turkish-Syrian relations are not always warm, and in fact are frequently quite nasty. The idea that the Syrians would conduct ultra-secret nuclear research (or store such equipment) on the Turkish border is a little hard to buy. If we were them, we would like to see our valuable nuclear research out of mortar range of a hostile power — but perhaps the Washington Post's expert is on to something.

From all appearances Al Kibar cannot be described as being "on the Turkish border" nor can it be described as within "mortar range" of Turkey. So the Stratfor report is curious in its entirety.

Posted by: Mark Konrad | Apr 30 2008 2:26 utc | 53

I agree with M-RES.

This is what happened:

The Israeli jets were on their way to Iran, or at least they were on a dry run for a mission against Iran. They refuel off the coast of Syria, in mid-air, and dash in, along the Syrian/Turkish border. Somewhere along this path, they meet unexpected, previously un-reconnoitered Syrian air defense. At least one aircraft pilot comes close to meeting his maker. At this point, they drop their fuel tanks, some in Turkish territory, and escape back home. Mission unaccomplished. However, the fuel tanks are discovered. An explanation is needed. A story is fabricated. US comes to the rescue and eventually delivers the good stuff via a "presentation".

Posted by: Jerome | Apr 30 2008 3:05 utc | 54

The highly regarded Nelson report says:

On the photo allegedly of a DPRK nuclear expert, Administration sources confirm that the video ID is inaccurate, but our sources say the S. Korean newspaper identification of the man as a senior political official from the Foreign Ministry is also incorrect.

On the briefing itself, we can report that Capitol Hill "customers" are not at all happy that less than an hour after professional staff with the appropriate clearances were barred from the room, the whole video was handed over to the world.

"You have to think the Administration didn't want to have experts in the room who might dare to ask tough questions", notes one disgruntled bar-ee, whom, we should note, said he did not believe the "pixel" mismatch rumor "because it would be so unbelievably stupid..."

The majority of our expert sources do say they feel that the video briefing can be accepted as conclusive that...assuming the photos are not a complete fabrication...the Syrian plant can now be said to definitely be a Yongbyon-type of nuclear facility.

But after that, consensus breaks down completely on whether it was a nascent bomb facility, a power station of some kind, or what.

One Congressional expert, after watching the video, comments "the very first line in the briefing is false...there's no way the plant was 'ready to be switched on', so you have to question the entire premise for the raid..."

Posted by: b | Apr 30 2008 7:38 utc | 55

Hi All ,

the CIA fabricated pictures allegedly taken inside a secret Syrian nuclear reactor ,That very clear .Even ,This image analysis is not good at all. This author has very weak computer graphics skills.
-the main target of the American CIA allegations against Syria is to justify the Israeli attack against the Syrian side .

Posted by: shamzaman | Apr 30 2008 8:14 utc | 56

thank you mr cause you uncovered the white house lies , am syrian i think you dont know a lot about us , we like piece or we are the piece we dont hate anyone but we want to getback our right , your white house give you the wrong side of syria but syria=piece , israel everyday kill a 100s of people but the white house tell you that its their right , i hope that you all visit syria and see what is syria mean .

Posted by: wassim ghantous | Apr 30 2008 11:10 utc | 57

sorry but i mean peace not piece

Posted by: wassim ghantous | Apr 30 2008 13:31 utc | 58

i would love to visit syria someday wassim ghantous

Posted by: annie | Apr 30 2008 14:12 utc | 59

Karlos: it sure would be nice if issues like zionist collusion with neocon jackals and their roles in September 11 could be adequately addressed, but alas, the issues are too loaded, and the anti-semitic/unpatriotic retaliation is unfortunately quite effective.

Posted by: Lizard | May 1 2008 4:33 utc | 60

I'm now convinced some 'think tank' lackey dilettante trying to make a name for themselves in the neozioncircles, thought up this supposed nefarious N. Korean, Syrian collaboration after watching, Harold and Kumar , and in their rush to "create reality", any semi-plausible scenario might work; throw enough against the wall, and something is bound to stick eventually , or at least for a long enough time to implement whatever plans they have " laying around " or perhaps, (more likely) to push ahead whatever opportunistic crisis driven "free market" adventures there are to be leached out of the unsuspecting, unthinking and unprepared masses.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | May 5 2008 10:40 utc | 61

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