( – promoted by buhdydharma )
There is another voice calling out the US establishment media on their less than truthful portrayal of a threat from Iran. While at it, Kaveh L Afrasiabi, writing for Asia Times Online cites UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon for having repeatedly condemned Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric against Israel, while remaining “ominously, and inexcusably, silent” about on Israeli threats of military attacks on Iran.
Unfortunately, compounding the UN’s shortcoming above-cited is a related failure of mainstream media in the US and Europe to criticize Ban’s flawed approach to the Iran crisis, or to address the systematic disinformation and planned paranoia about Iran’s nuclear program put forth by Israel and its allies.
Of particularly important significance in this affair is the fact that the head of the IAEA, (International Atomic Energy Agency) Mohammed ElBaradei, has stated that if a military attack is launched against Iran that he would resign immediately and that such an attack would inflict serious civilian casualties and “trigger the volatile region into a fireball.”
Unless otherwise noted all quotes are from the referenced article in Asia Times Online.
Kaveh L Afrasiabi refers to the US media in particular as having allowed themselves to become an unwitting accomplice:
…the race to dupe public opinion about a “clear and present danger” posed by Iran’s nuclear program, to justify Israel’s threatened attack (with the US’s tacit approval) is in full gear and the US media are by and large about to receive another “F” card, just as they did with the US’s 2003 invasion of Iraq, when the “pluralistic” media became a shell of itself by blindly echoing the White House’s spin about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.
I would seriously question “unwittingly”. If it were so, would they not have learned a lesson from hyping the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. They cannot possibly be this ignorant of the truth and yet The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Dallas News and others, Afrasiabi writes:
have a common thread running through their editorials and opinion pages nowadays (which) is a fundamental distortion of facts about Iran’s nuclear program that has gone unnoticed despite the patently obvious and flagrant nature of this distortion.
In the Asia Times article, examples are given with details – Michael Gordon in the New York Times, Jane Harman in an article in the Wall Street Journal, Graham Allison, a leading US nuclear expert at Harvard University and:
a recent editorial in the Dallas News states categorically that the IAEA “has recently accused Iran of developing its program of enriching uranium”. The editors appear unaware that the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which Iran is a signatory, does not prohibit Iran’s uranium-enrichment program.
By the use of distortions such as the use of nuances and uncritical distinctions between low-enriched uranium and “weapons-grade” uranium, it appears that a growing segment of the US media has now jumped on the bandwagon in an attempt to help justify an unjustifiable attack on Iran.
The status of Iran’s nuclear program, is reported periodically by the IAEA, is available at the IAEA website. Here is the latest report. It is dated 26 May 2008. (PDF) Enrichment levels are reported to be 4%. At least a 90% enrichment level is required to produce a nuclear weapon.
Below is the section of the report that deals with enrichment:
A. Current Enrichment Related Activities
2. Since the previous report, Iran has continued to operate the original 3000-machine IR-1 unit1 at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP). Installation work has continued on four other units as well.2 On 7 May 2008, two 164-machine (IR-1) cascades of one of the four units3 were being fed with UF6, and another cascade of that same unit was in vacuum without UF6. The installation of the other 15 cascades at that unit is continuing. All nuclear material at FEP, as well as all installed cascades, remain under Agency containment and surveillance. Between the physical inventory taking (PIT) on 12 December 2007 and 6 May 2008, 2300 kg of UF6 was fed into the operating cascades. This brings the total amount of UF6 fed into the cascades since the beginning of operations in February 2007 to 3970 kg.
3. On 10 April 2008, Iran informed the Agency about the planned installation of a new generation sub-critical centrifuge (IR-3) at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP). On 19 April 2008, the Agency confirmed that two IR-3 centrifuges had been installed at PFEP. In February 2008, Agency inspectors noted that Iran had also brought 20 IR-1 centrifuges into PFEP, which were run in a 20-machine cascade for a short time, after which they were removed.
4. Between 28 January and 16 May 2008, Iran fed a total of approximately 19 kg of UF6 into the 20-machine IR-1 cascade, the single IR-2 centrifuges, the 10-machine IR-2 cascade and the single IR-3 centrifuges at PFEP. All nuclear material at PFEP, as well as the cascade area, remains under Agency containment and surveillance.
5. The results of the environmental samples taken at FEP and PFEP indicate that the plants have been operated as declared. The samples showed low enriched uranium (with up to 4.0% U-235), natural uranium and depleted uranium (down to 0.4% U-235) particles. Iran declared enrichment levels in FEP of up to 4.7% U-235. Since March 2007, fourteen unannounced inspections have been connducted.
We judge with moderate confidence that the earliest possible date Iran would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium (HEU) for a weapon is late 2009, but that this is very unlikely.
Henry Kissinger and others have weighed in casting doubts on the accuracy of the NIE. They have criticized the NIE report for failing to refer to Iran’s enrichment program as an evidence of weaponization.
…Kissinger and others critical of the NIE report overlook that as long as there is no evidence of Iranian enrichment above the “low-grade” that is qualitatively and technically different from “high-enriched” or “weapons-grade” enrichment, no one can accuse Iran of engaging in proliferation by simply pursuing a legal nuclear activity.
And so Henry Kissinger does not know the difference between low-level enrichment for nuclear power and high-level enrichment for nuclear weapons??? … please.
The IAEA report of 26 May, referred to above, notes that since March 2007, fourteen unannounced inspections have been conducted in addition to regular scheduled inspections. Diversions of uranium to weapons grade processing would require significant modifications to equipment and would be readily detected in the IAEA inspections.
Yet as Afrasiabi writes:
…all of this is ignored, with the tacit suggestion that Iran’s program is “unsupervised” when, in fact, it is one of the most exhaustively inspected and supervised nuclear programs in the world, in light of some 3,500 hours of inspection of its facilities since 2003.
The propaganda continues, parroted and echoed throughout the US establishment media, by prominent neo-conservatives and by many of our lawmakers in the halls of congress. The very least we can do is to recognize it for what it is, lies and distortions little different from those that became the pretexts for our invasion and occupation of Iraq.
As for an attack itself, it boggles the mind to think that such an immoral action is even being considering. Are there no limits to greed and the lust for power?