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Is the media exaggerating the Iranian nuke threat?
If Iran is open to U.N. inspections, it's probably not constructing nuclear weapons
Editor's note: For more from Juan Cole, visit his blog Informed Comment.
By Juan Cole | Salon
Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, reaffirmed Monday that a date would soon be set for the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the planned nuclear enrichment facility near Qom about which the Iranian government informed the IAEA on Monday a week ago.
If Iran really does permit full, ongoing IAEA inspections of the facility, then it cannot be used for weapons production. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted Sunday that Iran cannot use the Natanz plant for bomb-making because it is being regularly inspected by the UN.
Scott Ritter, an experienced inspector himself, dispels the myths about the new Qom facility and urges against new economic sanctions on Iran as counter-productive. Greater transparency and more inspections should be the demand of the West, he says.
I made the same point on MSNBC on Monday with Nora O'Donnell:
US Nukes Agency Pushes New Bomb Production
By Matthew Cardinale, North American Correspondent, Inter-Press Service; and News Editor, The Atlanta Progressive News (September 30, 2009)
ATLANTA, Georgia, Sep 30 (IPS) - Despite statements by U.S. President Barack Obama that he wants to see the world reduce, and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons, the U.S. Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration continues to push forward on a programme called Complex Modernisation, which would expand two existing nuclear plants to allow them to produce new plutonium pits and new bomb parts out of enriched uranium for use in a possible new generation of nuclear bombs.
The story line that dominated media coverage of the second Iranian uranium enrichment facility last week was the official assertion that U.S. intelligence had caught Iran trying to conceal a "secret" nuclear facility.
But an analysis of the transcript of that briefing by senior administration officials that was the sole basis for the news stories and other evidence reveals damaging admissions, conflicts with the facts and unanswered questions that undermine its credibility.
Iran's notification to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of the second enrichment facility in a letter on Sep. 21 was buried deep in most of the news stories and explained as a response to being detected by U.S. intelligence. In reporting the story in that way, journalists were relying entirely on the testimony of "senior administration officials" who briefed them at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh Friday.
U.S. intelligence had "learned that the Iranians learned that the secrecy of the facility was compromised", one of the officials said, according to the White House transcript. The Iranians had informed the IAEA, he asserted, because "they came to believe that the value of the facility as a secret facility was no longer valid..."
Later in the briefing, however, the official said "we believe", rather than "we learned", in referring to that claim, indicating that it is only an inference rather than being based on hard intelligence. Read more.
Submitted by Michael Munk | www.MichaelMunk.com
There is no good evidence that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. It has offered to allow regular International Atomic Energy Agency inspections of the newly announced facility near Qom, which would effectively prevent it from being used for weapons production.
There is a secret nuclear facility in the Middle East, however, producing plutonium and not just enriched uranium, which has the capacity to make 10 nuclear warheads a year.
It is Israel's ongoing nuclear weapon production that drives the nuclear arms race in the Middle East. Saddam wanted a bomb because Israel had one. The Iranians were then worried both about an Iraqi and an Israeli bomb. Egypt, Saudi Arabia and others are annoyed at their geostrategic helplessness in the face of Israeli nukes.
Israel's nuclear arsenal is the region's Original Sin.
Synchronized announcements on September 17 by President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the U.S. was abandoning plans to station interceptor missiles in Poland and a forward-based missile radar site in the Czech Republic are now ten days ago and information surfacing in the interim indicates that its new plans are more far-reaching than their predecessor.
Two days after the statements by the American president and defense chief the latter, Pentagon head Robert Gates, was granted a column in the New York Times.
The most representative segment of Gates' comments is arguably this:
"I have been a strong supporter of missile defense ever since President Ronald Reagan first proposed it in 1983. But I want to have real capacity as soon as possible, and to take maximum advantage of new technologies....American missile defense on the continent will continue, and not just in Central Europe, the most likely location for future SM-3 sites, but, we hope, in other NATO countries as well....We are strengthening - not scrapping - missile defense in Europe." 
Remarking that the earlier-envisioned system in Poland and the Czech Republic would not have been operative until 2015 and that opposition among both nations' parliamentarians would have delayed the process at least another two years, Gates evinced both impatience with and far grander designs for the European wing of the U.S.'s global missile shield program by asserting, "President Obama...decided to discard that plan in favor of a vastly more suitable approach. In the first phase, to be completed by 2011, we will deploy proven, sea-based SM-3 interceptor missiles - weapons that are growing in capability...."
The new deployments, which will be examined in depth later, are to be more mobile and less capable of being anticipated and defended against; will be implemented, according to Gates' own schedule, at least eight years ahead of the prior plan's timeline; and will extend worldwide missile interceptor networks into far broader swathes of Eurasia, the Middle East and ultimately the planet as a whole.
Beware politically motivated hype. While on the surface, Obama's dramatic intervention seemed sound, the devil is always in the details. The "rules" Iran is accused of breaking are not vague, but rather spelled out in clear terms. In accordance with Article 42 of Iran's Safeguards Agreement, and Code 3.1 of the General Part of the Subsidiary Arrangements (also known as the "additional protocol") to that agreement, Iran is obliged to inform the IAEA of any decision to construct a facility which would house operational centrifuges, and to provide preliminary design information about that facility, even if nuclear material had not been introduced. This would initiate a process of complementary access and design verification inspections by the IAEA....
While this action is understandably vexing for the IAEA and those member states who are desirous of full transparency on the part of Iran, one cannot speak in absolute terms about Iran violating its obligations under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. So when Obama announced that "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow", he is technically and legally wrong.
It was very much a moment of high drama. Barack Obama, fresh from his history-making stint hosting the UN security council, took a break from his duties at the G20 economic summit in Pittsburgh to announce the existence of a secret, undeclared nuclear facility in Iran which was inconsistent with a peaceful nuclear programme, underscoring the president's conclusion that "Iran is breaking rules that all nations must follow".
Obama, backed by Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy, threatened tough sanctions against Iran if it did not fully comply with its obligations concerning the international monitoring of its nuclear programme, which at the present time is being defined by the US, Britain and France as requiring an immediate suspension of all nuclear-enrichment activity.
The facility in question, said to be located on a secret Iranian military installation outside of the holy city of Qom and capable of housing up to 3,000 centrifuges used to enrich uranium, had been monitored by the intelligence services of the US and other nations for some time. But it wasn't until Monday that the IAEA found out about its existence, based not on any intelligence "scoop" provided by the US, but rather Iran's own voluntary declaration. Iran's actions forced the hand of the US, leading to Obama's hurried press conference Friday morning. Read more.
Canada is close to signing a deal with India to sell nuclear technology and materials, Trade Minister Stockwell Day said on Friday, adding he was confident that remaining security concerns would be resolved.
Day made similar comments in May, saying at that time that a deal was imminent.
He told reporters on a conference call that he was now ironing out a few final stumbling blocks.
"I had a telephone meeting just last week with India's national security adviser. We are down to four fine points ... He and I both agree that final agreement is possible within days, if not just a matter of a few weeks," Day told reporters on a conference call from India.
Day said he did not foresee any threat of Canadian materials being diverted to military uses elsewhere in the region because of India's commitment to allow inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency as well as tough transparency and reporting requirements.
"These are very strong provisions," he said.
New revelations about Iran's nuclear ambitions are center stage at the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh today, where President Obama, French President Nikolas Sarkozy and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said Iran has until December to reverse course or face stiff international sanctions.
Sarkozy said that "if by December there is not an in-depth change by the Iranian leaders, sanctions will have to be taken."
Obama called evidence of Iran's second, secret underground nuclear fuel plant a "direct challenge" to the principles of nuclear non-proliferation.
"Iran has a right to peaceful nuclear power that meets the energy needs of its people," Obama said. "But Iran is breaking rules all nations must follow… It's time for Iran to act immediately to restore the confidence of the international community by fulfilling its international obligations."
The president said Iran "must be prepared to cooperate fully" at the upcoming Oct. 1 meeting between Iranian officials and representatives of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council -- the U.S., Russia, China, U.K., and France -- plus Germany.
Obama said at that meeting Iran must "demonstrate that it is committed to establishing its peaceful intentions through meaningful dialogue and concrete actions." Read more.
Obama Leads Security Council Session on Sidelines of UN General Assembly
By Margaret Besheer | VOA
President Barack Obama chaired a summit level-session of the Security Council Thursday that unanimously adopted a resolution committing to work toward a nuclear weapons-free world. The meeting was held on the sidelines of the second day of the U.N. General Assembly where the annual debate continued.
The Security Council session focused on nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, and the resolution urged action to prevent the spread of atomic weapons.
President Obama presided over the meeting, the first time a U.S. president has done so. He told the council that the United Nations has a "pivotal role to play" in preventing a nuclear crisis.
"The historic resolution we just adopted enshrines our shared commitment to the goal of a world without nuclear weapons," said President Obama. "And it brings Security Council agreement on a broad framework for action to reduce nuclear dangers as we work toward that goal." Read more.
The Defense Intelligence Agency and its contractors conclude that a nuclear test was conducted jointly by South Africa and Israel.
An ad hoc presidential panel contradicts that analysis and suggests a meteoroid struck the satellite causing it to sound a false alarm.
Which was it? What should've been the U.S. response? Can you decide?
But perhaps the questions we should really be deciding is does Iran have nuclear weapons; and if so, should the U.S. attack Iran and North Korea”.
Israel's Netanyahu: Let's Talk with Palestinians -- and Stop Iran's Threat
Prime Minister Tells ABC's Charles Gibson Iran's Nuclear Ambitions Threaten World Peace
By Ned Potter | ABC News
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told ABC's Charles Gibson tonight he welcomes talks -- without preconditions -- to set up a Palestinian state in the Middle East. But he said it is up to Palestinian leaders to exert leadership, and added he is not going to back down on the right of Israelis to settle in Palestinian territory.
"There are a quarter of a million people living in these communities," said Netanyahu. "You know, they need kindergartens. They need schools. ... You can't freeze life."
In a one-on-one interview with Gibson, Netanyahu said he is especially worried about Iran -- which, he said, could destabilize the entire Middle East with the development of nuclear weapons. Read more.
The U.S. intelligence community is reporting to the White House that Iran has not restarted its nuclear-weapons development program, two counterproliferation officials tell NEWSWEEK. U.S. agencies had previously said that Tehran halted the program in 2003.
The officials, who asked for anonymity when discussing sensitive information, said that U.S. intelligence agencies have informed policymakers at the White House and other agencies that the status of Iranian work on development and production of a nuclear bomb has not changed since the formal National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran's "Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities" in November 2007. Public portions of that report stated that U.S. intelligence agencies had "high confidence" that, as of early 2003, Iranian military units were pursuing development of a nuclear bomb, but that in the fall of that year Iran "halted its nuclear weapons program." The document said that while U.S. agencies believed the Iranian government "at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," U.S. intelligence as of mid-2007 still had "moderate confidence" that it had not restarted weapons-development efforts.
One of the two officials said that the Obama administration has now worked out a system in which intelligence agencies provide top policymakers, including the president, with regular updates on intelligence judgments like the conclusions in the 2007 Iran NIE. According to the two officials, the latest update to policymakers has been that as of now—two years after the period covered by the 2007 NIE—U.S. intelligence agencies still believe Iran has not resumed nuclear-weapons development work. Read more.
Nuclear Agency Demanding Iranian Missile Blueprints
Gareth Porter | IPS News
Iran stopped meeting with the International Atomic Energy Agency last year over Western allegations of covert Iranian nuclear weapons work because the nuclear agency was demanding access to the designs for its Shahab-3 missile and other secret military data, according to both Iranian and IAEA officials.
The United States and other Western states have cited Iran's refusal to cooperate with the IAEA on resolving issues related to intelligence documents on a purported covert nuclear weapons programme as further evidence of its guilt.
"They've been asking for Shahab-3 drawings for about a year," Iran's ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told IPS in an interview. "We found out a year ago and that's when we stopped the meetings with IAEA."
A senior official of the IAEA familiar with the Iran investigation, who insisted on anonymity as a condition for being interviewed, confirmed to IPS that the agency had requested not only that Iranian officials discuss the details of the Shahab-3's reentry system, but access to the actual engineering designs for the missile.
"We want them to explain to us that the design studies are not for nuclear weapons," said the official. "We're saying, you say you've done reentry vehicle reengineering [on Shahab-3], so show us some documentation."
The latest IAEA report, dated Aug. 28, notes that the agency "has been unable to engage Iran in any substantive discussions about these outstanding issues for over a year", but it does not link the Iranian disengagement to the demand for military secrets. Read more.
Overriding Western objections, a 150-nation nuclear conference on Friday passed a resolution directly criticizing Israel and its atomic program for the first time in 18 years. Iran hailed the vote as a "glorious moment."
The result was a setback not only for Israel but also for the United States and other backers of the Jewish state, which had lobbied for 18 years of past practice — debate on the issue without a vote. It also reflected building tensions between Israel and its backers and Islamic nations, backed by developing countries.
Of delegations present at the International Atomic Energy Agency meeting Friday, 49 voted for the resolution. Forty-five were against and 16 abstained from endorsing or rejecting the document, which "expresses concern about the Israeli nuclear capabilities," and links it to "concern about the threat posed by the proliferation of nuclear weapons for the security and stability of the Middle East."
In an attempt to sway the assembly before the vote, U.S. chief delegate Glyn Davies spoke out against an "attempt to use this resolution to criticize a single country."
"Such an approach is highly politicized and does not truly address the complexities at play regarding crucial nuclear-related issues in the Middle East," he said. Read more.
The White House will shelve Bush administration plans to build a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, according to people familiar with the matter, a move likely to cheer Moscow and roil the security debate in Europe.
The U.S. will base its decision on a determination that Iran's long-range missile program has not progressed as rapidly as previously estimated, reducing the threat to the continental U.S. and major European capitals, according to current and former U.S. officials.
The findings, expected to be completed as early as next week following a 60-day review ordered by President Barack Obama, would be a major reversal from the Bush administration, which pushed aggressively to begin construction of the Eastern European system before leaving office in January. Read more.
The United States and five partner countries have accepted Iran's new offer to hold talks, even though Iran insists it will not negotiate over its disputed nuclear program, the State Department said Friday.
Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters that although Iran's proposal for international talks - presented to the six powers on Wednesday - was disappointing for sidestepping the nuclear issue, it represented a chance to begin a direct dialogue.
"We are seeking a meeting now based on the Iranian paper to see what Iran is prepared to do," Crowley said. "And then, as the president has said, you know, if Iran responds to our interest in a meeting, we'll see when that can occur. We hope that will occur as soon as possible."
In its proposal, Iran ignored a demand by the six world powers - the U.S., Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany - for a freeze of its uranium enrichment, which is suspected of leading to production of a nuclear weapon. Iran insists that its nuclear work is strictly for peaceful non-military purposes.
Iran pronounced itself ready to "embark on comprehensive, all-encompassing and constructive negotiations." Read more.
A Hundred Holocausts: An Insider’s Window Into U.S. Nuclear Policy
By Daniel Ellsberg | Truthdig
Editor’s note: This is the first installment of Daniel Ellsberg’s personal memoir of the nuclear era, “The American Doomsday Machine.” The online book will recount highlights of his six years of research and consulting for the Departments of Defense and State and the White House on issues of nuclear command and control, nuclear war planning and nuclear crises. It further draws on 34 subsequent years of research and activism largely on nuclear policy, which followed the intervening 11 years of his preoccupation with the Vietnam War. Subsequent installments also will appear on Truthdig. The author is a senior fellow of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation.
American Planning for a Hundred Holocausts
One day in the spring of 1961, soon after my 30th birthday, I was shown how our world would end. Not the Earth, not—so far as I knew then—all humanity or life, but the destruction of most cities and people in the Northern Hemisphere.
What I was handed, in a White House office, was a single sheet of paper with some numbers and lines on it. It was headed “Top Secret—Sensitive”; under that, “For the President’s Eyes Only.”
The “Eyes Only” designation meant that, in principle, it was to be seen and read only by the person to whom it was explicitly addressed, in this case the president. In practice this usually meant that it would be seen by one or more secretaries and assistants as well: a handful of people, sometimes somewhat more, instead of the scores to hundreds who would normally see copies of a “Top Secret—Sensitive” document.
Later, working in the Pentagon as the special assistant to the assistant secretary of defense, I often found myself reading copies of cables and memos marked “Eyes Only” for someone, though I was not that addressee, nor for that matter was my boss. And already by the time I read this one, as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, it was routine for me to read “Top Secret” documents. But I had never before seen one marked “For the President’s Eyes Only,” and I never did again. Read more.
Hunger Strike a Daily Reminder of U.S.'s Forsaken Promise
By Robert McCartney | Washington Post
On a sunny patch of Pennsylvania Avenue a half-block from the White House, middle-aged men and women recline on beach lounge chairs under four canopies festooned with colorful flags. They haven't eaten solid food in a month. Before them stands a row of large photographs of 11 men, each draped with a wreath of red flowers. A soft-spoken woman carrying a light-blue umbrella hands out leaflets....
The beach chair protest provides an especially interesting tale, including a troubling message about America's actions abroad. The demonstrators are ethnic Iranians, most of them U.S. citizens. They are pressing the Obama administration to intervene to protect about 3,400 Iranian exiles in Camp Ashraf outside Baghdad, which was stormed by Iraqi security forces July 28. The 11 men in the photographs were killed (plus one other), and hundreds of the camp's unarmed residents were injured. U.S. military forces stationed nearby, who once pledged solemnly to safeguard the camp's residents, stayed out of it.
"This is going to bring attention that people are getting beaten and killed in a place where you [the U.S. government] promised to protect them," said Zahra Rashidi, 51, of Chantilly....
The embarrassment for Washington is that it made a show earlier in the decade of assuring Ashraf's residents that they would be safe in exchange for their formal agreement to disarm and repudiate violence. The United States did so even though it has listed the MEK as a terrorist organization since 1997, mostly because of attacks that the group staged decades ago. America warmed to the MEK in part because the group provided valuable help monitoring Iran's nuclear program. In 2004, a U.S. Army general issued each Ashraf resident a written declaration with congratulations "on their recognition as protected persons under the Fourth Geneva Convention." Read more.
U.S. Says Pakistan Made Changes to Missiles Sold for Defense
By Eric Schmitt and David E. Sanger | NY Times
The United States has accused Pakistan of illegally modifying American-made missiles to expand its capability to strike land targets, a potential threat to India, according to senior administration and Congressional officials.
The charge, which set off a new outbreak of tensions between the United States and Pakistan, was made in an unpublicized diplomatic protest in late June to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and other top Pakistani officials.
The accusation comes at a particularly delicate time, when the administration is asking Congress to approve $7.5 billion in aid to Pakistan over the next five years, and when Washington is pressing a reluctant Pakistani military to focus its attentions on fighting the Taliban, rather than expanding its nuclear and conventional forces aimed at India.
While American officials say that the weapon in the latest dispute is a conventional one — based on the Harpoon antiship missiles that were sold to Pakistan by the Reagan administration as a defensive weapon in the cold war — the subtext of the argument is growing concern about the speed with which Pakistan is developing new generations of both conventional and nuclear weapons.
“There’s a concerted effort to get these guys to slow down,” one senior administration official said. “Their energies are misdirected.” Read more.
ElBaradei Foes Leak Stories to Force His Hand on Iran
Analysis by Gareth Porter | IPS News
Western officials leaked stories to the Associated Press and Reuters last week aimed at pressuring the outgoing chief of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, to include a summary of intelligence alleging that Iran has been actively pursuing work on nuclear weapons in the IAEA report due out this week.
The aim of the pressure for publication of the document appears to be to discredit the November 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear programme, which concluded that Iran had ended work on nuclear weapons in 2003.
The story by Reuters United Nations correspondent Louis Charbonneau reported that "several" officials from those states had said the IAEA has "credible information" suggesting that the U.S. intelligence estimate was "incorrect".
The issue of credibility of the NIE is particularly sensitive right now because the United States, Britain, France and Germany are anticipating tough negotiations with Russia and China on Iran's nuclear programme in early September.
The two parallel stories by Charbonneau and Associated Press correspondent George Jahn in Vienna, both published Aug. 20, show how news stories based on leaks from officials with a decided agenda, without any serious effort to provide an objective historical text or investigation of their accuracy, can seriously distort an issue.
Reflecting the hostile attitude of the quartet of Western governments and Israel toward ElBaradei, the stories suggested that ElBaradei has been guilty of a cover-up in refusing to publish information he has had since last September alleging that Iran has continued to pursue research on developing nuclear weapons. Read more.
WALK FOR PEACE IN WISCONSIN
By Jay Kvale (Minnesota Peace Project) for Voices for Creative Nonviolence
About 40 peace activists gathered at Mill Bluff Park in western Wisconsin on Thursday, August 6, for the Walk for Peace organized by Voices for Creative Nonviolence. The event began with a solemn ceremony commemorating the tragic atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki 64 years ago.
On Friday morning the Walk began from Camp Williams with leaders Jeff Leys and Dan Pearson holding a large banner proclaiming the objectives -- end the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, keep the Wisconsin National Guard home, ban depleted uranium munitions, ban nuclear weapons, and provide compensation for war victims. Another large banner said, “Hiroshima – Never Again.” Despite a steady rain during the second half of the 13-mile leg, the walkers arrived in Tomah by early afternoon, led by 10-year old Kasey Ball.
"Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union," by David Swanson is due in stores September 1st, but the publisher has it now and you can get it straight from Seven Stories Press.
In Hiroshima on August 6, 2009
By Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and former US diplomat
I am in ancient Japanese city of Hiroshima, for annual ceremonies on August 6 for the souls of over 140,000 Japanese, South Koreans and Chinese who died instantly and over 300,000 who suffered serious wounds 64 years ago when the United States used weapons of mass destruction-- atomic bombs --on the people of Hiroshima and three days later, August 9, 1945 on the people of Nagasaki.
The rationale for dropping the atomic bombs was to force the Japanese government to surrender to end World War II—not by killing more of the Japanese military, but by killing hundreds of thousands of innocent civilians and putting fear of a similar fate in the remaining civilian population of Japan.
By Daniel Ellsberg
It was a hot August day in Detroit. I was standing on a street corner downtown, looking at the front page of The Detroit News in a news rack. I remember a streetcar rattling by on the tracks as I read the headline: A single American bomb had destroyed a Japanese city. My first thought was that I knew exactly what that bomb was. It was the U-235 bomb we had discussed in school and written papers about, the previous fall.
I thought: “We got it first. And we used it. On a city.”
FBI Whistleblower Sibel Edmonds Subpoenaed, Set to 'Break' Gag Order Unless DoJ Intercedes
Former agency translator called to testify in Ohio election case this Saturday on Turkish infiltration of U.S. government...
By Brad Friedman | Brad Blog
Unless the Dept. of Justice re-invokes their twice-invoked "state secrets privilege" claim in order to once again gag former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, her attorneys have notified the department by hand-delivered, sworn letter of declaration [PDF] this week, that she intends to give a public deposition, open to the media, in response to a subpoena this Saturday in Washington D.C..
Edmonds has confirmed her intentions to answer any questions asked of her during the sworn proceedings, fully and publicly, during conversations with The BRAD BLOG this week. She notes that her agreement with her former employer, the FBI --- who fired her illegally after she filed whistleblower allegations about corruption and foreign infiltration in the linguistics department --- includes certain non-disclosure requirements. However, those requirements do not preclude her answering to a legally issued court subpoena.
The subpoena and request for sworn deposition is part of a case now pending before the Ohio Elections Commission in which Ohio's Republican U.S. Congresswoman Jean Schmidt (R-2nd District) has filed a complaint against her 2008 independent challenger, David Krikorian who Schmidt has charged distributed false statements about her during last year's campaign.
The resulting testimony, if it indeed occurs this weekend, could be far more explosive than either Schmidt or Krikorian might have ever guessed...
'Blood Money' Read more.
As another August 6th approaches, let me tell you a little story about Hiroshima and me:
As a young man, I was probably not completely atypical in having the Bomb (the 1950s was a great time for capitalizing what was important) on my brain, and not just while I was ducking under my school desk as sirens howled their nuclear warnings outside....I was invited by Japanese publishers to visit their country....The trip to the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum with its caramelized children's lunchbox and permanently imprinted human shadows was, to say the least, unspeakably horrifying. In fact, it left me literally speechless, so much so that, although I returned to New York babbling about Japan, I found, for a long time, I couldn't talk about what I had seen in Hiroshima.
For the Sixty-Fourth Time: No More Nuclear War
Reflections on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Our World
By Frida Berrigan
I can't help myself. I still think it's worth bringing up, even for the 64th time. I'm talking, of course, about the atomic obliteration, at the end of a terrible, world-rending war, of two Japanese cities, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, on August 6 and 9, 1945, whose anniversaries -- if that's even the appropriate word for it -- are once again upon us.
In this, at least, I know I'm not a typical American: Hiroshima and Nagasaki still seem all too real to me. As the child of anti-nuclear activists, I was raised to pay attention to two significant dates in American history -- the day when the Enola Gay, a B-29 Superfortress bomber named after the pilot's mother, dropped Little Boy, a five-ton uranium explosion bomb, on Hiroshima; and the moment, three days later, when another plane, jokingly named Bock's Car (after the plane's original pilot), dropped Fat Man (a moniker supposedly given it in honor of former British Prime Minister Winston Churchill), a more complex plutonium implosion bomb, on Nagasaki. Read more.
Pentagon, Eyeing Iran, Wants to Rush 30,000-Pound Bomb Program
By Tony Capaccio | Bloomberg
The U.S. Defense Department wants to accelerate by three years the deployment of a 30,000-pound bunker-buster bomb, a request that reflects growing unease over nuclear threats from Iran and North Korea.
Comptroller Robert Hale, in a formal request to the four congressional defense committees earlier this month, asked permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s budget to this program to ensure the first four bombs could be mounted on stealthy B-2 bombers by July 2010.
Hale, in his July 8 request, said there was “an urgent operational need for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high-threat environments,” and top commanders of U.S. forces in Asia and the Middle East “recently identified the need to expedite” the bomb program.
The bomb would be the U.S. military’s largest and six times bigger than the 5,000-pound bunker buster that the Air Force now uses to attack deeply buried nuclear, biological or chemical sites.
Accelerating the program “is intended to, at the very least, give the president the option of conducting a strike to knock out Iran’s main uranium enrichment capabilities,” said Ken Katzman, Middle East military expert for the non-partisan Congressional Research Service. Read more.
Although Barack Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev pledged to work for a nuclear weapons free world this spring, they failed to take meaningful steps at their July summit to put the world on the proper path to nuclear abolition. Disappointingly, they only agreed to minor cuts in their respective weapons arsenals due to US unwillingness to cancel its plans to put missile and radar bases in Poland and the Czech Republic which Russia views as a threat to its security. Essentially we have come full circle to the 1986 Reagan-Gorbachev summit at Reykjavik, when negotiations for the total abolition of nuclear weapons tragically collapsed because Reagan wouldn't give up U.S. plans for a Strategic Defense Initiative to dominate space.Read more.