By Pepe Escobar
Get ready for a flurry of fuzzy satellite ''intelligence'' of generic warehouses all across Iran frantically described as segments of a nuclear bomb assembly line (Remember a famous ''secret nuclear facility'' in Syria not long ago? It was a textile factory.)
Get ready for a flurry of crude diagrams depicting suspect devices, or the containers that hide them, all capable of reaching Europe in 45 minutes.
Get ready for a flurry of ''experts'' on Fox, CNN and the BBC endlessly dissecting all this extended black ops dressed up as ''evidence''. For instance, former UN weapons inspector David Albright, now at the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), has already pulled his return of the living dead stunt, displaying his ''bomb Iran'' credentials complete with diagrams and satellite intel.
Forget Iraq - it's sooo 2003. Hit the new groove; hyping overdrive for the war on Iran.
First of all, ditch common sense.
If Iran were developing a nuclear weapon, it would be diverting uranium for it. The report released by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) this week - as politicized as it may be - flatly denies it.
If Iran were developing a nuclear weapon, UN inspectors working for the IAEA would have been thrown out of the country.
Iraq did not have a nuclear weapons program in 2002. And yet it was shocked and awed. The same rationale applies to Iran.
What Tehran may have conducted - if the compromised intel used in the IAEA report is to be believed - is a bunch of experiments and computer simulations. Everybody does it - for instance countries which have renounced the bomb, such as Brazil and South Africa.
What the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) - in charge of the civilian nuclear program - certainly wants is a deterrent.
That is, the possibility of building up a nuclear bomb in case they face an unequivocally established threat of regime change, provoked, most likely, by a US attack and invasion.
Doubts swirl about the competence - or the impartiality - of the new IAEA head, the meek Japanese Yukya Amano. The best answer is in this WikiLeaks cable.
As for the origin of most of the IAEA's self-described ''credible'' intel, even the New York Times was forced to report that ''some of that information came from the United States, Israel and Europe.'' Gareth Porter offers the definitive debunking of the report.
Moreover, expect major pressure on the CIA to renege the crucial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), which established - irrefutably - that Tehran had ditched a nuclear weapons program way back in 2003.
All this dovetails with the dogs of war already barking.
European minions may be incompetent enough to win a war in Libya (they did it only when the Pentagon took over satellite intelligence).
They may be incompetent enough to manage Europe's financial disaster. But France, Germany and the UK have already started barking - calling for further stringent sanctions on Iran.
In the US, Democrats and Republicans alike are calling not only for sanctions; in the case of wacko Republicans, which of course, is an oxymoron, they're calling for a new version of Shock and Awe.
It's never enough to repeat how things work in Washington. The Banjamin Netanyahu government in Israel tells the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee what to do, and the AIPAC orders the US Congress what to do.
That's how the House Foreign Affairs Committee is considering a bipartisan bill that is essentially a declaration of war.
According to the bill, neither President Barack Obama, nor Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, nor in fact any US diplomat can engage in any kind of diplomacy with Iran - unless Obama convinces the ''appropriate congressional committees'' that not talking would mean an ''extraordinary threat to the vital national security interests of the United States''.
''Appropriate congressional committees'' happens to define exactly the House Foreign Affairs Committee, which gets its martial marching orders from Bibi in Israel via AIPAC in Washington.
Try telling any of these Israeli-firsters at the United States Congress what are the real immediate consequences of an attack on Iran; the Strait of Hormuz closed within minutes, at least 6 million barrels of oil out of the world economy (already in recession in the industrialized North), a barrel of oil hitting $300 or $400.
It doesn't matter; they're incapable of doing the math.
Prep well, and stick to the agenda
Rumors swirl about the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) recently claiming, according to the Fars news agency, that only four Iranian missiles can deter Israel.
These missiles might - or might not - be Soviet Kh-55 nuclear cruise missiles from the Ukraine and Belarus, with a maximum range of 2,500 kilometers, that Iran may have bought years ago in the black market.
The IRGC, of course, is mum. That only feeds the fog of (pre)war - as nobody exactly knows how well defended Iran is.
It's an open secret in Washington that regime change in Iran is being war-gamed by the Pentagon since at least 2004.
The favorite neo-con 2002 road map still applies, the targets being Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan - all key nodes in the Pentagon-coined ''arc of instability''.
Imagine PhDs in warmongering examining the chessboard. Iraq was duly shocked and awed (even though the US is now being booted out). Syria is too hard to crack for incompetent North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Lebanon (Hezbollah) can only be captured if Syria falls first. Libya was a victory (forget about a protracted civil war). Somalia is containable with Uganda and drones. And South Sudan is in the bag.
That leaves - for hardcore practitioners of Full Spectrum Dominance doctrine - the enticing possibility of a successful attack on Iran as the ultimate creative destruction move, reshuffling all the cards from the Middle East to Central Asia. The ''arc of instability'' terminally destabilized.
How to accomplish it? So simple - as the warmongers see it. Convince Obama that instead of being whacked around, conservatives will kiss his brogues and he'll be canonized as the re-energizer of the US economy if he just went to fight another war.
Anyone for Occupy Iran - literally? LOL LOL....
By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON - The report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published by a Washington think-tank on Tuesday repeated the sensational claim previously reported by news media all over the world that a former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist had helped Iran construct a detonation system that could be used for a nuclear weapon.
But it turns out that the foreign expert, who is not named in the IAEA report but was identified in news reports as Vyacheslav Danilenko, is not a nuclear weapons scientist but one of the top specialists in the world in the production of nanodiamonds by explosives.
In fact, Danilenko, a Ukrainian, has worked solely on nanodiamonds from the beginning of his research career and is
considered one of the pioneers in the development of nanodiamond technology, as published scientific papers confirm.
It now appears that the IAEA and David Albright, the director of the International Institute for Science and Security in Washington, who was the source of the news reports about Danilenko, never bothered to check the accuracy of the original claim by an unnamed "Member State" on which the IAEA based its assertion about his nuclear weapons background.
Albright gave a "private briefing" for "intelligence professionals" last week, in which he named Danilenko as the foreign expert who had been contracted by Iran's Physics Research Center in the mid-1990s and identified him as a "former Soviet nuclear scientist", according to a story by Joby Warrick of the Washington Post on November 5.
The Danilenko story then went worldwide.
The IAEA report says the agency has "strong indications" that Iran's development of a "high explosions initiation system", which it has described as an "implosion system" for a nuclear weapon, was "assisted by the work of a foreign expert who was not only knowledgeable on these technologies, but who, a Member State has informed the Agency, worked for much of his career in the nuclear weapons program of the country of his origin."
The report offers no other evidence of Danilenko's involvement in the development of an initiation system.
The member state obviously learned that Danilenko had worked during the Soviet period at the All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics in Snezhinsk, Russia, which was well known for its work on development of nuclear warheads and simply assumed that he had been involved in that work.
However, further research would have revealed that Danilenko worked from the beginning of his career in a part of the Institute that specialized in the synthesis of diamonds. Danilenko wrote in an account of the early work in the field published in 2006 that he was among the scientists in the "gas dynamics group" at the Institute who were "the first to start studies on diamond synthesis in 1960".
Danilenko's recollections of the early period of his career are in a chapter of the book, Ultrananocrystalline Diamond: Synthesis, Properties and Applications edited by Olga A Shenderova and Dieter M Gruen, published in 2006.
Another chapter in the book covering the history of Russian patents related to nanodiamonds documents the fact that Danilenko's center at the Institute developed key processes as early as 1963-1966 that were later used at major "detonation nanodiamond" production centers.
Danilenko left the Institute in 1989 and joined the Institute of Materials Science Problems in Ukraine, according to the authors of that chapter.
Danilenko's major accomplishment, according to the authors, has been the development of a large-scale technology for producing ultradispersed diamonds, a particular application of nanodiamonds. The technology, which was later implemented by the ALIT company in Zhitomir, Ukraine, is based on an explosion chamber 100 square meters in volume, which Danilenko designed.
Beginning in 1993, Danilenko was a principal in a company called Nanogroup which was established initially in Ukraine but is now based in Prague. The company's website boasts that it has "the strongest team of scientists" which had been involved in the "introduction of nanodiamonds in 1960 and the first commercial applications of nanodiamonds in 2000".
The declared aim of the company is to supply worldwide demand for nanodiamonds.
Iran has an aggressive program to develop its nanotechnology sector, and it includes as one major focus nanodiamonds, as blogger Moon of Alabama has pointed out. That blog was the first source to call attention to Danilenko's nanodiamond background.
Danilenko clearly explained that the purpose of his work in Iran was to help the development of a nanodiamond industry in the country.
The report states that the "foreign expert" was in Iran from 1996 to about 2002, "ostensibly to assist in the development of a facility and techniques for making ultra dispersed diamonds (UDDs) or nanodiamonds". That wording suggests that nanodiamonds were merely a cover for his real purpose in Iran.
The report says the expert "also lectured on explosive physics and its applications", without providing any further detail about what applications were involved.
The fact that the IAEA and Albright were made aware of Danilenko's nanodiamond work in Iran before embracing the "former Soviet nuclear weapons specialist" story makes their failure to make any independent inquiry into his background even more revealing.
The tale of a Russian nuclear weapons scientist helping construct an "implosion system" for a nuclear weapon is the most recent iteration of a theme that the IAEA introduced in its May 2008 report, which mentioned a five-page document describing experimentation with a "complex multipoint initiation system to detonate a substantial amount of high explosives in hemispherical geometry" and to monitor the detonation.
Iran acknowledged using "exploding bridge wire" detonators such as those mentioned in that document for conventional military and civilian applications. But it denounced the document, along with the others in the "alleged studies" collection purporting to be from an Iranian nuclear weapons research program, as fakes.
Careful examination of the "alleged studies" documents has revealed inconsistencies and other anomalies that give evidence of fraud. But the IAEA, the United States and its allies in the IAEA continue to treat the documents as though there were no question about their authenticity.
The unnamed member state that informed the agency about Danilenko's alleged experience as a Soviet nuclear weapons scientist is almost certainly Israel, which has been the source of virtually all the purported intelligence on Iranian work on nuclear weapons over the past decade.
Israel has made no secret of its determination to influence world opinion on the Iranian nuclear program by disseminating information to governments and news media, including purported Iran government documents. Israeli Foreign Ministry and intelligence officials told journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins about the special unit of Mossad dedicated to that task at the very time the fraudulent documents were being produced.
In an interview in September 2008, Albright said Olli Heinonen, then deputy director for safeguards at the IAEA, had told him that a document from a member state had convinced him that the "alleged studies" documents were genuine. Albright said the state was "probably Israel".
The Jerusalem Post's Yaakov Katz reported on Wednesday that Israeli intelligence agencies had "provided critical information used in the report", the purpose of which was to "push through a new regime of sanctions against Tehran".
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
"It is important to figure out whether there really are new, and indeed trustworthy, facts that confirm the suspicions that there are military components in the Iranian nuclear program, or whether we're talking about the intentional and counterproductive exacerbation of emotions."
- Russian Foreign Ministry statement
TEHRAN - As expected, Tehran has reacted strongly to the new report on Iran by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which relies on foreign intelligence to raise questions about the peaceful intent of Iran's nuclear program.
Thus, while President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has denounced IAEA chief Yukiya Amano as a United States pawn and vowed not to retreat from the nation's nuclear program "one iota", a number of lawmakers and politicians have attacked the report as "US-authored, read by Amano". This while Iran's envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, has rejected the report's allegations of Iranian nuclear weapons-related activities as based on forgeries.
In an extended question and answer session at the atomic agency, Soltanieh emphasized that the report continued to confirm that "not one gram" of enriched uranium has been diverted to illicit purposes, and that despite the media frenzy about a "steel container" at the Parchin military base, that particular site has been visited by the IAEA repeatedly, and nothing suspicious was found.
The IAEA report also refers to photographs taken from space of a structure that the agency believes to be a massive steel chamber for conducting nuclear weapon-linked combustion experiments. Yet, it turns out that the photos are not recent, having been taken in the early 2000s, and that the IAEA has since then visited Parchin twice and has not "uncovered" anything unusual.
This aside, the IAEA report states that it accepts the data on Iran given by several countries as facts because of their sheer "quantity" and also because they are "comprehensive". This does not take into account possible - indeed likely - disinformation on the part of Western and Israeli intelligence services in churning out documents that incriminate Iran.
Neither quantity nor the broad and comprehensive nature of the purported documents suffice and, instead, an objective and impartial atomic agency would have relied on more stringent standards of verification - that are admittedly beyond the scope of the United Nations agency.
"Mr Amano has probably never heard the word disinformation and for him to claim that all the information that is provided to the IAEA by other governments is genuine simply shows either his gullibility or sheer bias," says a Tehran University political science professor who spoke with the author on the condition of anonymity.
Another aspect of the report repeats previous allegations that Iran has done computer simulations on fitting warheads on missiles and, yet, as investigative reporter Gareth Porter has aptly shown, the missile in question turns out to be one that Iran abandoned many years ago.
What is more, most of the weapons-related Iranian activities cited in the new IAEA report pertain to 2003 and before, thus indirectly strengthening the 2007 US intelligence conclusion that Iran's nuclear program has been peaceful since 2003. To revise that conclusion, as is sought most energetically by hawkish US politicians and pro-Israel pundits, would need a "smoking gun" that is clearly absent in the IAEA report.
Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article several months ago categorically stated that the US had no evidence of Iranian proliferation of nuclear weapons, a conclusion he reached by interviewing a score of US officials. For sure, the IAEA report adds fuel to the debate, particularly by citing a Ukrainian weapons specialist who worked in Iran during the 1990s, Vyacheslav Danilenko.
According to the report, IAEA inspectors interviewed Danilenko, who lectured in Iran, and yet there is no indication that that scientist revealed anything that would be damaging to Iran. (See 'Soviet nuclear scientist' a rough diamond, Asia Times Online, November 10)
For the proliferation accusation against Iran to stick, there needs to be some evidence of nuclear diversion, which is conspicuously missing, in light of the IAEA's regular inspections of Iran's enrichment facilities, some on short notice, as well as its surveillance cameras that can detect any attempt to divert material.
This "robust" inspection regime is the outside world's best guarantee that Iran's nuclear activities remain peaceful. Yet, somehow, the US and its allies have followed a pattern of ignoring or undervaluing the importance of IAEA inspections.
Another equally important venue to further guarantee the peacefulness of the Iranian program would be to provide Iran with the nuclear fuel for its Tehran reactor, in light of Ahmadinejad's offer to suspend the 20% enrichment program in return for this assistance.
With respect to the enrichment facility at Fordow, under construction, Iran has informed the IAEA that its purpose is to produce low-enriched uranium (of up to 5%); the IAEA has already visited this site and it will be like the one at Natanz under rigorous IAEA inspection.
At the outset of the new report it was stated that the agency was in consultation with Iranian nuclear officials about working out methods to resolve existing areas of ambiguities, ie reflecting Tehran's willingness to continue and even expand its cooperation with the atomic agency.
But that depends on "honest" work by the agency, which has now come under a new cloud of doubt, given that Amano consulted with US government officials in Washington regarding his Iran report. Because of this suspicion, Amano has in effect turned himself into an instrument of US coercive diplomacy toward Iran, and the likelihood of UN action against Iran as a result of the new report remains highly in doubt, given the studied reactions of both Moscow and Beijing.
According to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, the Russian proposal for a step-by-step approach to resolve the nuclear issue is still on the table. This has been welcomed by Tehran and could potentially serve as a discussion issue on the agenda of the next "Iran Six" talks with Tehran. These comprise the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (the US, France, Russia, China and Britain) plus Germany.
The so-called "Lavrov plan" was submitted to Tehran in July and calls on Iran to expand its cooperation with the IAEA, envisaging a scenario whereby for every proactive Iranian step to resolve any outstanding issues with the UN nuclear watchdog, the international community would Iran limited concessions.
There is definite interest in Tehran to pursue this path of negotiation, and much depends on the willingness of US policymakers to avoid their usual habit of tough talk on Iran and, instead, pursue a rational approach based on persuasive diplomacy. ....
Zioconned Germany, Merkel/CIA and the "Dolphins..."
US, UK and Israel want Iranian oil, pipelines and the booming business of another privatized war and the Rothschilds want the central bank of Iran, one of 3 remaining on the planet they do not yet control but soon will. That is who is driving this pending war. Do not worry about colony Germany. It's the Rothschilds we need to keep our eyes on. There is no major war on this planet that is not orchestrated by Rothschild interests. Iran is no exception....