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By Robert C. Koehler, Tribune Media Services
That "perfectly safe" mushroom cloud that was supposed to rise 10,000 feet over the Nevada Test Site this month will have to remain a mere gleam in Donald Rumsfeld's eye for the time being.
The security state, which had planned to jump-start its WMD program with a supposedly conventional explosion large enough to mimic the effects of a small nuclear weapon, has run smack into the ghosts of its own fraudulent past. The citizens downwind of the test site, the furious sons and daughters of the victims of earlier testing and earlier lies, have forced the government to regroup.
Monterey, California - Iran does not pose an immediate nuclear threat and the world must act cautiously to avoid repeating mistakes made with Iraq and North Korea, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said on Tuesday.
Mohamed ElBaradei, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the world shouldn't "jump the gun" with erroneous information as he said the U.S.-led coalition did in Iraq in 2003, nor should it push the country into retaliation as international sanctions did in North Korea.
By Deanna Taylor
See links to photos below each heading. See link to Salt Lake solidarity vigil here.
As reported via phone post, the Stop the Divine Strake Action is over and is considered to have been a highly productive and successful event. People came from as far away as Pennsylvania to attend the action.
MERCURY, Nev. (AP) - About 300 anti-nuclear demonstrators gathered at the Nevada Test Site to celebrate the indefinite postponement of a massive explosion that they feared would spread radioactivity across the West.
About 70 people were cited for trespassing during Sunday's gathering, said Peggy Maze Johnson, executive director of the Nevada environmental group Citizen Alert, which co-sponsored the event.
KLASTV.com Las Vegas
A huge test explosion was set to take place next month, 90 miles north of Las Vegas. But the project was pushed back and finally indefinitely postponed. Today, opponents celebrated.
Opponents said the 700-ton blast would send a mushroom cloud into the sky and possibly spread radioactive dust from previous nuclear experiments. Today was supposed to be a protest against the test. But instead it was a low key celebration.
Hundreds gather in Nevada desert in further protest of Divine Strake
Some demonstrators cross the boundary Sunday into the Nevada Test Site in protest of Divine Strake. More than 200 people protested against the planned bomb test and what they say is a violation of a treaty with the Western Shoshone. Pierre Morton, 3, of Las Vegas, yells, "Don't drop the bomb," Sunday during a protest against the Divine Strake bomb test on the border of the Nevada Test Site at Mercury, Nev.
By Laura Rozen, Los Angeles Times
Washington - Amid concern that the US is drifting toward eventual confrontation with Iran, a growing number of influential statesmen, Republican senators and foreign policy experts are stepping up pressure on the Bush administration to consider doing what no US administration has done in 27 years: talk directly with Iran.
In recent congressional hearings, think-tank conferences, op-ed essays and media appearances, Republican heavyweights - including former Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard G. Lugar (R-Ind.) and Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) - have publicly urged the administration to leave the current path of escalation and join European allies in direct talks with Tehran.
By Associated Press
The federal government has indefinitely postponed a planned explosion that was expected to generate a mushroom cloud over the Nevada desert.
Officials say the delay will allow more time to answer questions about the blast -- which opponents fear would kick up radioactive fallout left from nuclear weapons tests conducted at the Nevada Test Site (about 85 miles northwest of Las Vegas).
By Will Dunham, Reuters
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon's plan for a massive detonation of conventional high explosives in Nevada to test the effectiveness of weapons against deeply buried targets has been postponed indefinitely, officials said on Thursday.
The National Nuclear Security Administration, part of the Energy Department, said it was withdrawing its finding that the planned detonation of 700 tonnes of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil in the Nevada desert would cause "no significant" environmental impact, the agency said.
Feds postpone test indefinitely to double-check the risks
By Robert Gehrke, The Salt Lake Tribune
WASHINGTON - Divine Strake, a massive explosives test originally planned for next month at the Nevada Test Site, has been put on hold.
The National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) said Friday it was postponing the test - which entails detonation of 700 tons of explosives - so it can reassess the potential for radioactive contaminants left in the ground from earlier nuclear tests becoming airborne.
Tom Barry, http://rightweb.irc-online.org
At a time when the Republican Party is divided on immigration reform and when the Democrats and the Republicans are positioning themselves for the mid-term elections on such issues as gay marriage, Congress is demonstrating alarming bipartisan unity on Iran.
On April 27 the House of Representatives passed the Iran Freedom Support Act by a vote of 397 to 21. The bill tightens sanctions imposed on Iran under the Iran Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) of 1996 and tightens sanctions on companies that invest in the country's energy industries. The bill would make U.S. sanctions against Iran under ILSA permanent unless there is a change of government in Iran.
Le Nouvel Observateur, translation www.truthout.org
The IAEA director deems that the great powers must choose between renouncing nuclear weapons and accepting eventual proliferation.
The United States and the other powers refusing to renounce their nuclear arsenals thus encourage other countries to follow their example, and the world could soon have to face a multitude of countries endowed with nuclear weapons, Mohamed ElBaradei warned Thursday, May 26.
Ambassador says Iran must be part of solution on nuclear issue.
United Nations - Iran's ambassador to the United Nations said Tehran wants to work directly with the United States on an "easily attainable" resolution, if Washington drops "the intimidation tactics."
Ambassador Mohammad Javad Zarif's statement came the day after the International Atomic Energy Agency pleaded with Iran to continue talks with European nations that want to offer it incentives in exchange for ending its nuclear-enrichment program.
"Iran has followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent letter to
President Bush with explicit requests for direct talks on its nuclear
program, according to U.S. officials, Iranian analysts and foreign
diplomats," the Washington Post reported in a front-page article on
May 24. "The eagerness for talks demonstrates a profound change in
Iran's political orthodoxy, emphatically erasing a taboo against
By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service
WASHINGTON - Iran offered in 2003 to accept peace with Israel and to cut off material assistance to Palestinian armed groups and pressure them to halt terrorist attacks within Israel's 1967 borders, according to the secret Iranian proposal to the United States. The two-page proposal for a broad Iran-U.S. agreement covering all the issues separating the two countries, a copy of which was obtained by IPS, was conveyed to the United States in late April or early May 2003. Trita Parsi, a specialist on Iranian foreign policy at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies who provided the document to IPS, says he got it from an Iranian official earlier this year but is not at liberty to reveal the source.
Dear Mr. President:
We, the undersigned, write to urge you to initiate direct diplomatic negotiations at the highest level with Iran.
The U.S. should strive immediately to engage the leadership of Iran in diplomacy to address Iran's capability to enrich uranium and its ambitions to possess nuclear weapons. This dialogue with Iran could and should be expanded to include Iran's support for terrorist organizations and Iran's failure to recognize the State of Israel.
Wants Answers About What the U.S. Is Doing in Iraq and Iran
Congressman Kucinich has been asking tough questions of the President and the Secretary of Defense.
He wrote letters in April to both Secretary Rumsfeld and President Bush. The text of the letters appears in the May 4 issue of the Congression Record Extensions of Remarks.
Kucinich's April 5 letter to Rumsfeld began, "I am writing to request a copy of all records pertaining to Pentagon plans to use U.S. Special Forces to advise, support and train Iraqi assassination and kidnapping teams."
Congressman Dennis J. Kucinich (D-OH) gave the following speech today on the House floor:
“War with Iran is not inevitable if the United States is ready to lead the way with honest, patient negotiations.
“However, this Administration seems intent on war with Iran. The Administration is ignoring any diplomatic initiatives that could set the stage for talks to end the confrontation and the escalation.
By Julian Borger and Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian UK
Hardening of Bush policy rebuffs Tehran's approach. Move appears to surprise US ambassador to Iraq.
The White House yesterday ruled out previously authorised direct talks between Tehran and the US ambassador in Baghdad, which were to have focused on the situation in Iraq. The move marks a hardening of the Bush administration's position, despite pressure from the international community to enter into direct dialogue with Iran.
Anti-detonation petition will be delivered to 2 Utah senators
By Nancy Perkins, Deseret Morning News, UT
ST. GEORGE — A petition urging the federal government to stop its plans for detonating 700 tons of explosives in the Nevada desert is planned to be hand-delivered to the St. George offices of Utah's senior senators today.
"This round of petitions is just the beginning, a first installment of Utahns finding their voices," said Helene Stone, one of the St. George residents organizing a petition drive that has garnered more than 600 signatures against the proposed weapons test called Divine Strake.
Kaitlin Sevy works on making a sign that reads "Test the Bomb on Mars" on May 13 at Bluff Street Park in St. George, Utah, during a gathering of those opposed to the Divine Strake test scheduled to take place at the Nevada Test Site in June.
By Brian Passey, USA TODAY
ST. GEORGE, Utah — Residents downwind of the Nevada Test Site are fighting to block a non-nuclear blast scheduled there in June, mainly because of the legacy of Cold War atomic testing.
The Salt Lake Tribune
WASHINGTON - Members of Idaho's congressional delegation are the latest to demand more information from the Pentagon about Divine Strake, a massive detonation scheduled to take place at the Nevada Test Site. "We just want to make sure that people are safe," said Dan Whiting, spokesman for Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. "Senator Craig recognizes the need for the test and the weapons work that goes on in Nevada. We just want to make sure we don't harm fellow Americans." Whiting said that, thus far, the precautions appear to be adequate. The Defense Threat Reduction Agency proposes detonating 700 tons of explosives above a tunnel on the test site to help it make computer models to predict ground shaking and tunnel damage. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch and Rep. Jim Matheson have raised concerns about the possibility that soil contaminated by past nuclear testing at the Nevada site could become airborne and create a risk to Utah residents downwind. Air quality officials in Nevada have also asked the Pentagon and National Nuclear Security Administration for more information on the test, and a Nevada Indian tribe and a group of Utah Downwinders - individuals sickened by their exposure to fallout from Cold War tests - have sued to block the test. - Robert Gehrke
OK, it's not a "hearing" because the Republicans won't support it, and it's in the basement of the Capitol, a spot we've become familiar with. But it's an effort by Congresswomen Woolsey and Lee to get at some truth.
Congressional Progressive Caucus
“62 Strong and Growing”
PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS CO-CHAIRS AND MEMBERS TO HOST FIRST IN SERIES OF PUBLIC FORUMS AND AD HOC HEARINGS: WOULD WAR WITH IRAN HELP OR HURT U.S. NATIONAL SECURITY?
As the Administration escalates its threats against Iran, we are writing to invite you to sign the Campaign for Peace and Democracy statement "Iran: Neither U.S. Aggression Nor Theocratic Repression-A call for a new, democratic U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East." The text is below. If you would like to add your name or donate to publicize the statement, please go to our website www.cpdweb.org (if for any reason you have difficulty at the website, just send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS, http://www.counterpunch.org
Why did the Bush regime create a crisis over Iran?
The answer is that the Bush regime is desperate to widen the war in the Middle East.
What has Iran done? Unlike Israel, Pakistan and India, countries that developed nuclear weapons on the sly, Iran signed the non-proliferation treaty. Countries that sign this treaty have the right to develop nuclear energy. The International Atomic Energy Agency monitors their energy programs to guard against the programs being used to cloak a weapons program. Until the Bush regime provoked a crisis, Iran was cooperating with the inspection safeguards. The weapons inspectors have found no Iranian weapons programs.
Elizabeth Spiro Clark
Elizabeth Spiro Clark is a retired Foreign Service officer who writes extensively on issues of global democratization.
Meetings that were to have been held Friday over Iran’s nuclear status between the “EU-3” (Germany, France, and the United Kingdom), the U.S., Russia and China have been postponed. It is no wonder that talks are in trouble. It’s not just that the Iranians have rejected the latest European “carrots and sticks” proposal: U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton stated that the U.S. reserves the right to reject the proposal as well. The U.S. already rejects negotiating with the Iranians, either directly or by joining the Europeans at the table—a course of action former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has recommended, as have European governments and U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan.
By Steven R. Weisman, New York Times
Washington - Prodded by the United States with threats of fines and lost business, four of the biggest European banks have started curbing their activities in Iran, even in the absence of a Security Council resolution imposing economic sanctions on Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program.
Top Treasury and State Department officials have intensified their efforts to limit Iran-related activities of major banks in Europe, the United States and the Middle East in the past six months, invoking antiterrorism and banking laws. They have also traveled to Europe and the Middle East to drive home the risky nature of dealing with a country that has repeatedly rebuffed Western demands over suspending uranium enrichment, and to urge European countries to take similar steps.
By Michael R. Gordon, New York Times
Washington - The Bush administration is moving to establish a new antimissile site in Europe that would be designed to stop attacks by Iran against the United States and its European allies.
The administration's proposal, which comes amid rising concerns about Iran's suspected program to develop nuclear weapons, calls for installing 10 antimissile interceptors at a European site by 2011. Poland and the Czech Republic are among the nations under consideration.
BENNINGTON BANNER EDITORIAL FRIDAY, MAY 19, 2006
Speaking for Peace and Justice
Andrew Schoerke, Southern Vermont Veterans For Peace Chapter 88
While President Bush insists that he is pursuing diplomacy to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability, he states that all options, including military force, are still on the table. In the April 17th issue of The New Yorker magazine, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh published an article describing reported clandestine teams of U.S. combat troops operating in Iran. His sources report that these covert operations include target identification, target confirmation, and target marking. They also report the teams are working with anti-government ethnic groups such Baluchis, Kurds and Azeris to promote opposition and undermine the regime. The Azeris are significant since their homeland is shared with neighboring Azerbaijan whose airfields, according to Scott Ritter, former UN Arms Inspector in Iraq, are being prepared by U.S. military for massive operations.