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MS. CLINTON SAYS IRAN HEADED FOR “MILITARY DICTATORSHIP”
By Sherwood Ross
Well may Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warn students in Qatar that “Iran is moving toward a military dictatorship.” She is, after all, an authority on the subject, representing a country where the Pentagon has long been ascendant. Her comment was followed up by Robert Gibbs, President Obama’s press secretary, who, at a February 16th news conference refused to deny the possibility of the U.S. taking military action against Iran, stating, “I wouldn’t rule out anything.” As anti-war activist David Swanson of AfterDowningStreet points out, this is “a public threat to engage in aggressive war...” The Charter of the United Nations forbids such threats, of course.
Writing for “Truthout,” Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, of Washington, D.C., believes Ms. Clinton’s intent “is to promote conflict and to convince Americans that Iran is an actual threat to their security.” This has long been Clinton’s policy. During her presidential bid in 2008 she said she would be willing to use nuclear weapons against Iran if that country launched a nuclear attack on Israel.
Ms. Clinton finds it convenient to ring the fire bell warning that Iran is developing its first nuclear device when the U.S. is sitting on a stockpile of 12,000 such bombs, and ally Israel----which has rejected international monitoring and controls of its atomic arsenal---has an estimated 200 nukes. Former President Jimmy Carter writes “the United States has become the prime culprit in global nuclear proliferation”---yet, incredibly, Ms. Clinton is threatening Iran on this very issue.
Does Ms. Clinton expect gullible Americans to believe Iran might commit national suicide if it actually did make a nuclear weapon (Iran claims the development is for peaceful purposes) and then launched it in a war against Israel? Not only does Israel’s military power dwarf Iran, which has a military budget is $18 billion, but USA with an annual warfare budget of $700 billion, arms, equips, and stands right behind Israel.
Greens Call President Obama's Resurrection Of Nuclear Power And Handout For Georgia Nuclear Reactors His "Worst Idea Yet"
WASHINGTON, DC -- Green Party leaders and candidates are calling President Obama's resurrection of nuclear power with a multi-billion-dollar taxpayer-funded subsidy for a Georgia plant his "worst idea yet" and warned about serious public health threats posed by mining, waste transportation, and waste storage. The Green Party disputes the myths that nuclear power is 'green energy' or a solution to the advance of climate change.
"The twin nuclear reactors in Burke County, Georgia, would be financed with $5.4 billion in loans from the Federal Financing Bank with money of the US Treasury. According to the GAO, this investment has a 50/50 percent or worse chance of failing. President Obama wants taxpayers to assume 80% of the financial risk to turn the southeast Atlantic states into a big open-pit radioactive barbeque. This investment is a terrible idea -- President Obama's worst yet," said Lisa Green, Green candidate for California Assembly Candidate, 53rd Assembly District.
"If built, the plant will be a financial disaster because of high construction expenses and likely cost overruns, compared with other sources of electrical power. As the first of a new generation of nuclear power plants, it'll carry huge technical risks. Even more ominous is the problem of mining, waste storage, and waste transportation through populated areas, which carry huge public health dangers," added Ms. Green.
Greens noted that, in the US, more people have died from contamination from uranium mining, from causes such as water sources polluted by mine tailings, and from uranium transportation than from all the causes after materials reach the first processing plant (see here and here). Energy Secretary Steven Chu recently told a Senate committee that, for the foreseeable future, the plants will probably store spent fuel rods on site. No long-term plan exists anywhere for storing commercial radioactive waste.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2010) — Childhood leukemia rates have more than doubled over the last 15 years in the southern Iraq province of Basrah, according to the study, "Trends in Childhood Leukaemia in Basrah, Iraq (1993-2007), published in the American Journal of Public Health.
The authors, three of whom are from the University of Washington, say they hope their calculations can now pave the way for an investigation into reasons why the rates have climbed so high, and why they are higher than found in nearby Kuwait, or in the European Union or the United States.
The study documents 698 cases of leukemia for children aged 0-14 during the 15-year period, with a peak of 211 cases in 2006. Younger children had higher rates than older ones.
They will also support numerous treaties, including the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and the proposed treaty to ban the production of nuclear materials for weapons.
ScienceDaily (Feb. 19, 2010) — The American Physical Society (APS), the world's leading organization of physicists, has released a report identifying technical steps that will help the U.S. achieve its goals to downsize the nuclear arsenal, prevent the spread of atomic bombs and keep the stockpile safe and secure.
Vice President Joe Biden outlined those objectives during a speech in Washington, D.C., and the APS report, Technical Steps to Support Nuclear Downsizing, provides concrete steps -- including the use of nuclear archaeology to validate nations' production of atomic material -- that will help the nation accomplish its goals.
Does this mean that Turkey is a nuclear power?
"Far from making Europe safer, and far from producing a less nuclear dependent Europe, [the policy] may well end up bringing more nuclear weapons into the European continent, and frustrating some of the attempts that are being made to get multilateral nuclear disarmament," (George Robertson, quoted in Global Security, February 10, 2010)
"'Is Italy capable of delivering a thermonuclear strike?...
Could the Belgians and the Dutch drop hydrogen bombs on enemy targets?...
Germany's air force couldn't possibly be training to deliver bombs 13 times more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, could it?...
Nuclear bombs are stored on air-force bases in Italy, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands — and planes from each of those countries are capable of delivering them." ("What to Do About Europe's Secret Nukes." Time Magazine, December 2, 2009)
2010 is proceeding in a manner more befitting the third month of the year, named after the Roman god of war, than the first whose name is derived from a pacific deity.
On January 13 the Associated Press reported that the White House will submit its Quadrennial Defense Review to Congress on February 1 and request a record-high $708 billion for the Pentagon. That figure is the highest in absolute and in inflation-adjusted, constant (for any year) dollars since 1946, the year after the Second World War ended. Adding non-Pentagon defense-related spending, the total may exceed $1 trillion.
The $708 billion includes for the first time monies for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq which in prior years were in part funded by periodic supplemental requests, but excludes what the above-mentioned report adds is the first in the new administration's emergency requests for the same purpose: A purported $33 billion.
Already this month several NATO nations have pledged more troops, even before the January 28 London conference on Afghanistan when several thousand additional forces may be assigned for the war there, in addition to over 150,000 already serving or soon to serve under U.S. and NATO command.
Washington has increased lethal drone missile attacks in Pakistan, and calls for that model to be replicated in Yemen have been made recently, most notably by Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, who on January 13 also advocated air strikes and special forces operations in the country. 
The Obama administration is preparing to ask Congress for a 10 percent increase in the U.S. nuclear weapons budget, according to an internal memo.
The National Nuclear Security Administration's budget for nuclear weapons research, development, maintenance and manufacturing would rise to $7 billion in 2010, up from $6.38 billion this year, according to a Dec. 22 memo from Energy Secretary Steven Chu to the Office of Management and Budget.
The weapons program funds work at Los Alamos and Sandia national laboratories, which together employ about 20,000 New Mexicans....The proposed funding increase comes as the Obama administration is trying to win support for a new arms control treaty with the Russians....In addition to the increase in nuclear weapons spending, the administration also anticipates asking for a 26 percent hike in spending on nuclear nonproliferation programs, to $2.7 billion, according to the memo. Read more.
We, the undersigned global organizations and individuals, call upon the South Korean and US governments to cancel all plans to build a Navy base on Jeju Island. The base will destroy coral reefs that have been listed as world heritage environmental sites by the UNESCO Pand will destroy the fishing and way of life of the people.
The deployment of naval Aegis destroyers, outfitted with missile defense systems, will be used to surround and provoke China and will make Jeju Island a prime target.
Jeju is called the peace island and must remain free of provocative military bases.
To sign please reply to: email@example.com
On January 28 at 7 PM, Jonathan Schell of The Nation will discuss how the grassroots peace movement can halt the drift towards nuclear anarchy and threat of nuclear terrorism.
Jonathan Schell will help kick off NYC organizing for the International Day of Action on May 2, 2010 for "Peace and Human Needs: Nuclear Disarmament Now!"
As the United Nations Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference begins on May 2, people from all over the world are coming to march in Midtown to call for Peace and Human Needs: Nuclear Disarmament Now!
Come to the NYC planning meeting:
When: January 28, Thursday 7–8:30 PM
Where: All Souls Church - Reidy Friendship Hall, 1157 Lexington Ave (between East 79 & 80 Streets) Manhattan (Map)
Back in February, 2007, a controversy erupted when University of Tennessee Law Professor Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds advocated that, in response to Iran's nuclear activities, the U.S. should be "killing radical mullahs and iranian [sic] atomic scientists" -- in other words, have the U.S. Government select religious leaders and scientists it dislikes in Iran and just murder them, despite long-standing domestic and international legal prohibitions on exactly such programs. Today, an Iranian nuclear scientist and professor at Tehran University, Massoud Ali Mohammadi, was killed when "when a bomb strapped to a motorcycle was triggered by remote control outside his home in the northern Tehran neighbourhood of Qeytariyeh." Mohammadi taught neutron physics and "was the author of several articles on quantum and theoretical physics in scientific journals," though the extent of his involvement in Iran's nuclear program is unclear.
Although the Iranian government has issued a statement blaming the U.S. and Israel for this rather sophisticated and well-executed assassination, there is no actual evidence yet of who is responsible. It's possible that the killing is related to Iran's complex internal conflicts rather than its nuclear program. There is, however, ample evidence that the U.S. covertly provides various means of support to extremist groups which have previously carried out violent terrorist attacks inside Iran -- which, in other contexts, is called being a "state sponsor of terror." In the very recent past, other Iranian nuclear scientists and officials have disappeared and ended up in the custody of the U.S. and its allies -- either abducted or defected, depending on who you believe.
Iran Uses Fear of Covert Nuclear Sites to Deter Attack
Analysis by Gareth Porter | IPS
WASHINGTON, Jan 10 (IPS) - The New York Times reported Tuesday that Iran had "quietly hidden an increasingly large part of its atomic complex" in a vast network of tunnels and bunkers buried in mountainsides.
The story continued a narrative begun last September, when a second Iranian uranium enrichment facility near Qom was reported to have been discovered by U.S. and Western intelligence. The premise of that narrative is that Iran wanted secret nuclear facilities in order to be able to make a nuclear weapon without being detected by the international community.
But all the evidence indicates that the real story is exactly the opposite: far from wanting to hide the existence of nuclear facilities from the outside world, Iran has wanted Western intelligence to conclude that it was putting some of its key nuclear facilities deep underground for more than three years.
The reason for that surprising conclusion is simple: Iran’s primary problem in regard to its nuclear programme has been how to deter a U.S. or Israeli attack on its nuclear sites. To do that, Iranian officials believed they needed to convince U.S. and Israeli military planners that they wouldn't be able to destroy some of Iran's nuclear sites and couldn't identify others. Read more.
New Revelations Tear Holes in Iran Nuclear Trigger Story
Analysis by Gareth Porter | IPS
WASHINGTON, Jan 5 (IPS) - New revelations about two documents leaked to The Times of London to show that Iran is working on a "nuclear trigger" mechanism have further undermined the credibility of the document the newspaper had presented as evidence of a continuing Iranian nuclear weapons programme.
A columnist for the Times has acknowledged that the two-page Persian language document published by The Times last month was not a photocopy of the original document but an expurgated and retyped version of the original.
A translation of a second Persian language document also published by The Times, moreover, contradicts the claim by The Times that it shows the "nuclear trigger" document was written within an organisation run by an Iranian military scientist.
Former Central Intelligence Agency official Philip Giraldi has said U.S. intelligence judges the "nuclear trigger" document to be a forgery, as IPS reported last week. The IPS story also pointed out that the document lacked both security markings and identification of either the issuing organisation or the recipient.
The new revelations point to additional reasons why intelligence analysts would have been suspicious of the "nuclear trigger" document. Read more.
North Korea, in a New Year's message Friday, expressed hope for an end to animosity with the United States and a negotiated nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
The statement was published by the country's state-run media and comes after a U.S. envoy visited Pyongyang to urge resumption of the so-called six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear disarmament, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
In the editorial, North Korea said it has always worked "to establish a lasting peace system on the Korean Peninsula and make it nuclear-free through dialogue and negotiations." Read more.
In the end, a jury had no choice but to convict.
The Rev. Carl Kabat, 76, was photographed at the N-8 missile silo in northeast Weld County. Two-foot bolt cutters were found on the ground. There was a hole in the fence surrounding the facility, and he was waiting inside for his eventual arrest.
Kabat had breached nuclear missile facilities like these for the past two decades, and had 17 convictions behind him in his quest to do his small part to rid the earth of nuclear weapons, which the Catholic Church has deemed a crime against humanity.
But the members of the jury had to look beyond the message. After one hour of deliberations, they convicted him of the two misdemeanor criminal mischief and trespassing charges.
“We understand what he was standing for,” said jury member Ben Salgado, 56, of Windsor, after the verdict. “We just wish he would have chosen a different forum.”
As the jury was dismissed, Kabat applauded them, some walking out with tears in their eyes. One said as she left the courthouse: “It was very emotional.”
The St. Louis priest was immediately sentenced to the time he'd already served behind bars — 137 days — though deputy district attorney David Skarka asked for the maximum of one year for each of the misdemeanors to be served back to back. The county already had shelled out roughly $7,950 to keep him in jail for almost five months, based on a cost of about $58 per day per inmate. Had he been sentenced to Skarka's request, the county would have paid $26,000 more to keep him for a remaining 456 days. Read more.
Richard Nixon was the greatest peacemaker in U.S. history. He orchestrated the historic opening with Beijing. And he presided over the most significant arms control treaties of the détente period: the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks and the ABM treaty.
Wait, that doesn't sound right. Let's start over.
Richard Nixon was the greatest warmonger in U.S. history. He sharply escalated the war in Vietnam and widened the conflict, tragically, to Cambodia and Laos. He destabilized Chile, looked the other way as his West Pakistani ally laid waste to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and ignored the Nigerian civil war and the resulting famine in Biafra.
This bifocal view of Richard Nixon reveals one of the great paradoxes of the U.S. peace movement. Peace activists divide into two sometimes irreconcilable groups — the antiwar movement and the arms control community. The former considered Richard Nixon and his henchman Henry Kissinger to be war criminals. The arms controllers, meanwhile, worked through Nixon's Arms Control and Disarmament Agency to score significant though partial successes.
The same cognitive dissonance holds true today. Though he would no doubt run from the comparison, President Barack Obama is shaping up to be a true heir of Richard Nixon. He's simultaneously reviled by the antiwar crowd for his policies in Afghanistan and held up as a savior by the arms control community for his commitment to nuclear abolition. Read more.
By Gareth Porter
WASHINGTON, Dec 19 (IPS) - In 2004, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) revealed that a member state had violated its Safeguards Agreement by carrying out covert uranium conversion and enrichment activities and plutonium experiments for more than two decades. The nature of certain of those enrichment activities, moreover, raised legitimate suspicions of interest in a nuclear weapons programme.
The state was found to have lied to the IAEA even when it began investigating these suspicious activities, claiming that its laser enrichment research did not involve any use of nuclear material.
If that sounds like a description of Iran's troubled relationship with the IAEA up to 2004, that's because it bears striking resemblance to it. In fact, however, it is a description of the deception of the IAEA by the government of South Korea.
DC AREA DISARMAMENT PLANNING
WHEN: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 - 7:00pm
WHERE: St. Stephen's Church - Auditorium, 16th St & Newton St., NW (1525 Newton Street, NW, Washington, DC 20010-3103) - Green line, Columbia Heights Station
In the wake of President Obama's repeated advocacy for "the peace of a world without nuclear weapons," many things are happening on the Nuclear Disarmament front.
The next six months represent historic opportunity for disarmament progress, or a perilous descent into another "generational commitment" to further Weapons Development, at enormous cost. (Currently the US alone spends $52+ Billion a year on nukes.)
Please join us for a review of disarmament progress, proposals on the table, likely prospects for the near and further terms, and what we, the people, can do to help secure the peaceful future that we deserve.
Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference - May 2010, United Nations, New York City - This periodic review (every 5 years) of the "mother treaty" for nuclear disarmament is driving the disarmament bus right now. Diplomatic positioning for this May treaty is ongoing. Of course, so much depends on what the US brings to the table beyond our president's rhetoric. Including:
Renewal of the START Treaty with Russia - December 2009?
Ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) - Spring 2010 (Possible) - Signed in 1996 but rejected by the US Senate in 1999, the CTBT still must be approved by 67 US Senators before it goes into effect. . .
Fissile Materials Cutoff Treaty (FMCT) - Language pending. (Advocated by Secretary of State Clinton in her signal USIP nuclear policy speech.)
Middle East Nuclear Weapons Free Zone
Mayors For Peace/Cities Are Not Targets (CANT)
Legislative Opportunities (HR 1653, H Res. 333, H Res. 278, HR 515, HR 644, more?)
Planning for Potential Actions:
The talks between the G5 plus 1 and Iran are careening toward a premature breakdown. If they do fall apart, it will be due in large part to a serious diplomatic miscalculation by the Obama administration.
Along with its European allies, the Obama administration seized on a plan that cleverly asked Iran to divest itself of the bulk of its stock of low-enriched uranium (LEU). It seemed to represent a golden opportunity to set back Iran's nuclear program, and despite the warning signs that such an objective is not achievable by the West, it lured the West away from a serious effort to find a diplomatic compromise with Iran aimed at defusing the decades-long hostility between Washington and Tehran.
The origins of the immediate diplomatic drama surrounding the proposal lay in Iran's need to supply fuel for its US-built Tehran research reactor producing medical radioisotopes. Iran had obtained 23 kilograms of fuel enriched to 20 percent from Argentina under a cooperation agreement signed in 1988 that ended in 1993. But that supply is expected to run out in late 2010, and Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki sent a letter to the IAEA in June requesting its help in purchasing enough 20 percent enriched uranium under the agency's supervision so that the medical reactor would again have a long-term supply.
But that would require a relaxation of the international sanctions against Iran's nuclear program. And when the Obama administration got wind of the Iranian request, it created a new diplomatic strategy aimed at forcing Iran to accept terms that would force it to give up most of its LEU for about a year. During a visit to Moscow in July, President Barack Obama's White House adviser on the Iranian nuclear issue, Gary Samore, reportedly approached Russian officials about a proposal that would require that Iran send its low-enriched uranium to Russia to be converted into the more highly enriched fuel rods, thus setting the clock of Iran's already-achieved breakout capability back for about a year. Read more.
Gossip from an Iraqi taxi driver was a key source for Tony Blair's 'dodgy dossier'.
A report by a respected MP claims that the unlikely secret agent was one of MI6's top sources when it was building a case to justify the invasion.
He provided the information that Saddam Hussein could fire chemical weapons at British targets within 45 minutes.
The revelation comes as the death toll of British troops in Afghanistan reaches 100 this year alone following the shooting of a member of 1st Battalion The Royal Anglian Regiment in a gun battle with the Taliban.
Senior intelligence officials have told the MP that the cabbie falsely claimed Saddam Hussein had acquired long-range missiles after listening to Iraqi commanders chatting in his taxi two years before the invasion. Read more.
Is Italy capable of delivering a thermonuclear strike? Could the Belgians and the Dutch drop hydrogen bombs on enemy targets? And what about Germany — a country where fear of atomkraft is so great that the last government opposed all civilian nuclear power? Germany's air force couldn't possibly be training to deliver bombs 13 times more powerful than the one that destroyed Hiroshima, could it?
It is Europe's dirty secret that the list of nuclear-capable countries extends beyond those — Britain and France — who have built their own weapons. Nuclear bombs are stored on air-force bases in Italy, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands — and planes from each of those countries are capable of delivering them. The Federation of American Scientists believes that there are some 200 B61 thermonuclear gravity bombs scattered across these four countries. Under a NATO agreement struck during the Cold War, the bombs, which are technically owned by the U.S., can be transferred to the control of a host nation's air force in times of conflict. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Dutch, Belgian, Italian and German pilots remain ready to engage in nuclear war.
These weapons are more than an anachronism or historical oddity. They are a violation of the spirit of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) — the 1968 agreement governing nuclear weapons that acts as one of the linchpins of global security by providing a legal restraint on the nuclear ambitions of rogue states. Because "nuclear burden-sharing," as the dispersion of B61s in Europe is called, was set up before the NPT came into force, it is technically legal. But as signatories to the NPT, the four European countries and the U.S. have pledged "not to receive the transfer ... of nuclear weapons or control over such weapons directly, or indirectly." That, of course, is precisely what the long-standing NATO arrangement entails. Read more.
Report: Russia vows quick completion of Iran atom plant | Ynet.com
Russian energy minister quoted as saying Moscow will complete Islamic republic's first nuclear power station 'at the earliest possible time'
Russia's energy minister pledged on Sunday a quick completion of Iran's first nuclear power station, Iran's state broadcaster IRIB reported, weeks after Moscow announced the latest delay to the Bushehr plant.
The reported statement, which did not give a specific time for the launch of Bushehr, came as Iran's government announced plans to build 10 new uranium enrichment plants, in a major expansion of its disputed nuclear program. Read more.
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Sunday released the following statement after Iran's cabinet passed a legislation to build ten more uranium enrichment plants.
"If true, this would be yet another serious violation of Iran's clear obligations under multiple UN security council resolutions, and another example of Iran choosing to isolate itself. The international community has made clear that Iran has rights, but with those rights come responsibilities. As the overwhelming IAEA board of governors vote made clear, time is running out for Iran to address the international community's growing concerns about its nuclear program."
But having decided on war using WMD as the justification, both the US and Great Britain began the process of fabricating a case after the fact. Lacking new intelligence data on Iraqi WMD, both nations resorted to either recycling old charges that had been disproved by UN inspectors in the past, or fabricating new charges that would not withstand even the most cursory of investigations.
With its troops no longer engaged in military operations inside Iraq, Great Britain has been liberated politically to conduct a postmortem of that conflict, including the sensitive issue of the primary justification used by then Prime Minister Tony Blair for going to war, namely Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, or WMD.
The failure to find any WMD in Iraq following the March 2003 invasion and subsequent occupation of that country by US and British troops continues to haunt those who were involved in making the decision for war. The issue of Iraqi WMD, and the role it played in influencing the decision for war, is at the centre of the ongoing Iraq war inquiry being conducted by Sir John Chilcot.
Among the more compelling testimonies provided to date has been that of Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British ambassador to the US, who served in that capacity during the lead-up to the invasion of Iraq. Meyer convincingly portrayed an environment where the decision by the US to invade Iraq, backed by Blair, precluded any process (such as viable UN weapons inspections) that sought to compel Iraq to prove it had no WMD. Rather, Great Britain and the US were left "scrambling" to find evidence of a "smoking gun" to prove Iraq indeed possessed the WMD it was accused of having.
In short, Saddam had been found guilty of possessing WMD, and his sentence had been passed down by Washington and London void of any hard evidence that such weapons, or even related programmes, even existed. The sentence meted out – regime termination – mandated such a massive deployment of troops and material that all but the wilfully blind or intentionally ignorant had to know by the early autumn of 2002 that war with Iraq was inevitable. One simply does not initiate the movement of hundreds of thousands of troops, thousands of armoured vehicles and aircraft, and dozens of ships on a whim or to reinforce an idle threat. Read more.
The Iranian government approved a plan Sunday to build 10 new uranium enrichment facilities, a dramatic expansion in defiance of U.N. demands it halt the program.
The decision comes only two days after the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency censured Iran, demanding it immediately stop building a newly revealed enrichment facility near the holy city of Qom and freeze all uranium enrichment activities. The rebuke angered Iran, raising demands from lawmakers Sunday to cut back cooperation with the U.N.
The enrichment announcement is likely to stoke already high tensions between Iran and the West over its controversial nuclear activities. The U.S. and its allies have hinted of new U.N. sanctions if Tehran remains defiant. Read more.
IAEA Chief Says Iran Talks at 'Dead End'
As ElBaradei Ends 12-Year Stint at Helm of the U.N. Nuclear Watchdog, Board Considers Resolution Rebuking Tehran
By David Crawford and Matthew Karnitschnig | WSJ
Iran appeared headed for further confrontation with the U.S. and other world powers over its nuclear program after the chief of the United Nations' atomic watchdog said the agency's cooperation with Tehran had reached a "dead end."
The declaration by Mohamed ElBaradei, departing director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, sets the stage for the U.N.'s Security Council to impose new sanctions against Tehran.
Diplomats said the IAEA's 35-member board of governors would likely approve a resolution on Friday rebuking Iran for failing to comply with its international obligations. A draft of the resolution being discussed by IAEA governors Thursday expressed "serious concern" about Iran's course and called for the matter to be taken up by the Security Council. Read more.
WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (IPS) - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) published new evidence Monday that Iran had been building "contingency centres" in the event of a U.S. bombing attack as early as 2002, years before it began building the second enrichment facility at Qom.
But the latest report on Iran's nuclear programme by the agency appeared to reject Iran's account of how and when it had decided to build the Qom enrichment plant and implied that it believed Iran was hiding the construction of other facilities.
The report provides new evidence that the Qom enrichment facility was constructed on one of many sites where tunneling had been prepared as early as 2002 to protect various kinds of facilities from a possible U.S. air attack.
The apparent Iranian decision to begin preparations for a U.S. attack on Iran in 2002 came after President George W. Bush had declared in his Sep. 20, 2001 speech to a joint session of Congress that any nation that "continues to harbor or support terrorism" would be regarded as a "hostile regime" and then named Iran as part of the "Axis of Evil" with Iraq and North Korea in January 2002.
The new evidence contradicts the U.S. charge that Iran had been working on constructing a covert enrichment plant for several years – well before March 2007, when Iran announced that it would no longer inform the agency of new facilities as soon as the decision had been made to construct them.
The U.S. and Russia, which together possess 95 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, announced this summer an agreement to someday reduce their nuclear arsenals by up to one-third.
The proposed treaty could cut each state’s long-range thermonuclear weapons – known in military jargon as "strategic" weapons – to between 1,500 and 1,675. Mainstream news reports said this was down from the limit of 2,200 slated to take effect in 2012."
In fact, according to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists the US had 9,938 warheads in 2007 and is obligated under the 2002 Moscow Agreement to reduce this to 5,470 by the end of 2012.
Maintaining a total of 1,500 warheads, at 335 kilotons each (today’s Minuteman III missile warheads), is equivalent to 502.5 million tons of TNT, or 502 "megatons" of nuclear firepower.
How much overkill power is this? There are currently 188 cities on Earth with over 2 million people. With 1,500 warheads, the Pentagon could still explode seven H-bombs on each one, setting massive fires whose smoke would block sunlight and could plunge the world into nuclear winter – according to new research from the Univ. of Colorado. Read more.
Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.
The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.
Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.
A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over decades of war – including the six years since Saddam Hussein was ousted. Read more.