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TomDispatch: Believe It or Not (2010 Imperial Edition), U.S. War-Fighting Numbers to Knock Your Socks Off
From TomDispatch this afternoon: A Ripley's Believe It or Not tour of America's Afghan and Iraq wars -- and of an American style of war so profligate it sets your mind spinning: Tom Engelhardt, "Believe It or Not (2010 Imperial Edition), U.S. War-Fighting Numbers to Knock Your Socks Off"
SPECIAL FEATURE: Today, TomDispatch is also offering the first TomCast audio interview not linked to a TomDispatch piece. In it, Jonathan Schell and I have a wide-ranging discussion of the war he covered in Vietnam, the Afghan War, and U.S. nuclear policy from the 1960s to the present. Schell has just written the Nation magazine cover story, “Reaching Zero.” Check the TomCast out here.
In my 1950s childhood, Ripley’s Believe It or Not was part of everyday life, a syndicated comics page feature filled with mind-boggling stats. With our Afghan and Iraq wars on my mind, I’ve been wondering whether Ripley’s moment hasn’t returned. After all, from the approximately 3 million items of equipment that will have to be removed from Iraq in any draw down of U.S. forces and the hundreds of bases to close to the 1.1 million hamburger patties now being shipped into Afghanistan monthly and the 400 bases already opened there, the numbers are staggering.
As I write in my latest post on America's war-fighting "footprint": "These sorts of figures define the U.S. military in the Bush era -- and now Obama's -- as the most materiel-profligate war-making machine ever. Where armies once had baggage trains and camp followers, our camp followers now help plant our military in foreign soil, build its housing and defenses, and then supply it with vast quantities of food, water, fuel, and god knows what else. In this way, our troops carry not just packs on their backs, but a total, transplantable society right down to the PXs, massage parlors, food courts, and miniature golf courses." Read it now.
Excerpt: The new policy comes just two days before Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are scheduled to sign a new START treaty, a bilateral agreement that will cut the number of strategic warheads and missiles maintained by the world's two largest nuclear powers.
The White House's nuclear initiatives are intended to encourage other nations to reduce their stockpiles of atomic weapons or forgo developing them.
The U.S. officials said the administration's new policy would stop short of declaring that the United States would never be the first to launch a nuclear attack, as many arms control advocates had recommended. But it would describe the weapons' "sole purpose" as "primarily" or "fundamentally" to deter or respond to a nuclear attack.
That wording would all but rule out the use of such weapons to respond to an attack by conventional, biological or chemical weapons. Previous U.S. policy was more ambiguous.
The review of nuclear weapons policy is the first since 2001 and only the third since the end of the Cold War two decades ago. Read more, see graphic showing US/Russian nuclear arsenals.
Normally, if two countries with powerful nuclear arsenals were openly musing about attacking a third country over mere suspicions that it might want to join the nuclear club, we’d tend to sympathize with the non-nuclear underdog as the victim of bullying and possible aggression.
You might think that – unless you were told that the two nuclear-armed countries are Israel and the United States and the non-nuclear country is Iran. Then, different rules apply, especially it seems in leading American news outlets like the New York Times.
In what reads like a replay of the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, the Times and other major U.S. news media appear onboard for war, again happy to make the likely aggressors the “victims,” and to turn the prospect of a bloody conflict in a Muslim country into a parlor game.
Indeed, the New York Times on March 28 presented the idea of “imagining a strike on Iran” as “Washington’s grimmest but most urgent parlor game,” assessing how a military strike by Israel, “acting on its fears that Iran threatens its existence,” would play out. Read more.
The United States and Russia reached agreement on a new START treaty (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) to lower their count of deployed atomic warheads from 2,200 each to between 1,500 and 1,675. They would also cut their stocks of strategic bombers and land- and sea-based missiles from a current level of 1,600 each to 800. The treaty replaces the 1991 START agreement, which expired last December. Since each country still has about 10,000 weapons, mostly undeployed and in storage, the new START is a modest step forward. It is, however, a down payment on improved U.S.-Russia relations and a possible prelude to the eventual elimination of nuclear weapons. Presidents Obama and Medvedev will sign the new treaty in Prague, the site of President Obama’s groundbreaking speech one year ago in which he set out a vision for a nuclear free world.
There are 23,000 nuclear bombs on the planet, all but 1,000 of them in the U.S. and Russia. To convince the other nuclear weapons states (the U.K., China, France, Israel, India, Pakistan, North Korea) to join negotiations for their total elimination, it is imperative that the U.S. and Russia cut their enormous arsenals first.
Obama and Medvedev pledged to negotiate these weapons cuts as a step towards “a nuclear free world.” The talks almost ran aground when the U.S. announced it was putting new missile defenses in Romania, Bulgaria, and Poland, after it had canceled plans to site them in the Czech Republic. Russia views the expansion of U.S. missile defenses as a threat to the integrity of its nuclear arsenal. The parties agreed to finesse their differences by settling for language in the treaty’s preamble—which the U.S. argues is not binding—acknowledging that the size of offensive arsenals must be tied to the number of anti-missile defenses.
Powerful forces are arrayed against Obama’s vision. Forty-one Republican senators wrote to him warning that they would not ratify the START treaty if the president made any moves to cut back on the U.S. missile defense program. They have also exacted a stiff price by requiring an increase in the nuclear weapons budget, including plans for a new facility to manufacture plutonium cores for new bombs. And the nuclear weapons labs are raising questions about the soundness of the nuclear arsenal without further money spent on testing and weapons development. Read more.
U.S. and NATO military expansion along Russia's western and southern flanks diminishes the need for Cold War era nuclear arsenals and long-range delivery systems appreciably. Washington can well afford to reduce the number of its nuclear weapons and still maintain decisive worldwide strategic superiority, especially with the deployment of an international interceptor missile system and the unilateral militarization of space. And the use of super stealth strategic bombers and the Pentagon's Prompt Global Strike project for conventional warhead-equipped strike systems with the velocity and range of intercontinental ballistic missiles to destroy other nations' nuclear forces with non-nuclear weapons.
On March 26th U.S. President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev reached an agreement on a successor to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START 1) of 1991.
The new accord, if it is ratified by the U.S. Senate, will reportedly reduce U.S. and Russian active nuclear weapons by 30 per cent and effect a comparable reduction (to 800 on each side) in the two nations' delivery systems: Intercontinental ballistic missiles, strategic long-range bombers and ballistic missile submarines.
After a phone conversation between the two heads of state to "seal the deal," Obama touted it as "the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades." 
The START 1 agreement expired almost four months earlier, on December 5 of last year, and its replacement has been held up by, among other matters, Russian concerns over increasingly ambitious American interceptor missile system plans for Eastern Europe, on and near its borders.
Judging by the lengthy ordeal that has been the Obama administration's health care initiative - so far the bill has only been passed in the House (by a 219-212 vote) where his party has a 257-178 majority - and the opposition it confronts in the Senate, a new nuclear arms accord with Russia will be a captive to domestic American political wrangling at least as much as less important and potentially controversial issues traditionally are.
NATO's chief is cheering the new agreement on arms control between the United States and Russia.
Speaking at a security forum in Brussels on Saturday, Anders Fogh Rasmussen said the new treaty could be a spark for additional cooperation between Russia and NATO countries.
U.S. President Barack Obama said Friday the U.S. and Russia have agreed to the most comprehensive arms control agreement in nearly two decades.
The landmark nuclear arms reduction treaty reduces by about one-third the number of long-range nuclear weapons the world's two largest nuclear powers will deploy.Read more.
ALICE SLATER, Director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation, said today: "It's wonderful that they finally reached this agreement to cut their nuclear arsenals, which had turned into a real cliffhanger as to whether the deal would get done. What has been holding things up is that Russia feels very threatened by U.S. plans to ring central Europe with missile defenses. Bush walked out on the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty -- Clinton had started to violate it when he broke ground for missile defenses in Alaska. Russia had wanted to cut the nuclear bomb arsenals further under Putin which would have enabled us to call all the parties to the table to negotiate for their abolition, but no agreement was reached -- with the U.S. insisting on having its so-called missile defense systems and plans to dominate space. The U.S. and Russia have about 23,000 nuclear weapons. All the other countries combined have about 1,000. We're not going to make progress unless the U.S. and Russia make more substantial cuts." (via Institute for Public Accuracy).
"[W]e must develop an effective missile defence. In the coming years, we will probably face many more countries – and possibly even some non-state actors - armed with long-range missiles and nuclear capabilities. Therefore, I believe that NATO’s deterrent posture should include missile defence.
"That’s why deterrence and defence need to go together. And why we have the obligation to look into missile defence options."
The civilian chief of the world's only, and history's first self-proclaimed global, military bloc is having a busy month.
North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen delivered an address in Washington, DC on February 23 on the military alliance's new 21st century Strategic Concept along with U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her predecessor twice-removed Madeleine Albright and National Security Adviser James Jones, the last-named a former Marine Corps general and NATO Supreme Allied Commander. 
At the seminar and on the preceding evening at Georgetown University in what is arguably NATO's true capital, Rasmussen sounded familiar themes: Highlighting the need to prevail in Afghanistan, NATO's first ground war and first armed conflict outside of Europe. Applauding the work of the bloc's new cyber warfare center in Estonia, ostensibly to protect the comparatively new member state against attacks emanating from Russia. Identifying Iran and North Korea for particular scrutiny.
He also spoke of "deepening our partnerships with countries from across the globe" and affirmed "NATO is a permanent Alliance...." 
The bloc's chief announced the creation of "a new division at NATO Headquarters to deal with new threats and challenges." 
War Resisters League Schedules 4 days of Creative Nonviolence Calling for US Nuclear Disarmament 4/30-5/3 in New York City
Kimber Heinz of the War Resisters League wrote:
Join us as we lead up to WRL actions at the NPT Review Conference this May!
Join the War Resisters League in NYC April 30-May 3 for four days of creative nonviolent protest and support a call for unilateral U.S. disarmament at the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference at the UN Headquarters.
In 1982, the War Resisters League initiated "Blockade the Bombmakers," organizing mass actions at the Missions to the United Nations of each of the five nuclear powers on the first day of the United Nations Special Session on Disarmament. In total, nearly 1,700 people were arrested in the blockades, which followed a march involving an estimated one million people.
Today, there are nine nuclear powers and the dangers of nuclear proliferation are even more acute than 28 years ago. Despite the White House's pledge to seek a world without nuclear weapons, the 2011 federal budget for nuclear weapons research and development is likely to be more than $7 billion and could (if the Obama administration has its way) reach $8 billion per year by the end of this decade. This steady and growing investment stands in stark contrast to the promising U.S. rhetoric of disarmament.
The 2010 NPT Review Conference represents a key juncture in the work for nuclear disarmament and a vital opportunity to put pressure on the U.S. government and kick-start the anti-nuclear movement. The War Resisters League is organizing a Monday, May 3rd action to deliver a strong message to the United Nations delegates. We are also organizing a WRL contingent and panel discussion for the Disarm Now! international march and alternative conference happening that weekend as WRL joins with thousands of anti-nuclear activists from around the world in resistance to nuclear build-up and global militarism.
Join us to demand complete and unilateral nuclear disarmament and to insist that action for disarmament, not more talking, is needed. We will be meeting in-person and by phone to shape and finalize the action over the next month and will offer nonviolence training on Sunday, May 2nd. To find out more and to sign up or get involved, please email WRL Organizing Coordinator Kimber Heinz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
President Obama's call for a nuclear-weapons-free world in Prague last April unleashed a great outpouring of support from international allies and grassroots activists demanding a process to actually eliminate nuclear weapons. One recent and unexpected initiative has come from America's NATO allies. Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway have called on NATO to review its nuclear policy and remove all U.S. nuclear weapons currently on European soil under NATO's "nuclear sharing" policy. Despite U.S. insistence on strict adherence to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), which prohibits the transfer of nuclear weapons to non-nuclear weapons states, several hundred U.S. nuclear bombs are housed in Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and Turkey.
Citing Obama's announcement in Prague of "America's commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons," the NATO allies have broken ranks with the United States. All five governments are experiencing domestic pressure to end the hypocrisy of the NPT, where nuclear "haves" disregard their disarmament requirements with impunity while using coercion, sanctions, threats of war, and even actual war (as in Iraq) to prevent the nuclear "have-nots" from acquiring nuclear bombs. Together with calls from major former political and military leaders to eliminate nuclear weapons, as well as UN Secretary General Ban-ki Moon's proposal for a five-point program "to rid the world of nuclear bombs," these NATO members have seized the political moment. They have decided to do their part to maintain the integrity of the NPT in advance of the five-year review conference this May at the UN in New York.
The NATO five put NATO's nuclear policy on the agenda for an April strategy meeting in Estonia. They have neither been dissuaded by Obama's cautionary note that the goal of a nuclear-weapons-free world "will not be reached quickly — perhaps not in my lifetime," nor discouraged by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's mistaken qualification of Obama's remarks when she said that "we might not achieve the ambition of a world without nuclear weapons in our lifetime or successive lifetimes" (emphasis added). Read more.
At least somebody is thinking the unthinkable -- and giving military drones a better name.
NRC Denies Request of Island Residents For Hearing Challenging Army's Request For License To Possess Depleted Uranium
Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) denies request of Island residents for a hearing challenging the Army's request for a license to possess DU radiation | Press Release Feb. 24, 2010
Jim Albertini, one of four Hawaii residents challenging the Army's request for a license to possess Depleted Uranium (DU) radiation at Pohakuloa Training Area (PTA) and Schofield Barracks said: "The NRC's order denying us a hearing is not surprising. The NRC has never denied a license request. The NRC appears to be a rubber stamp for the military and the nuclear industry, much like the so-called Bank regulators are a rubber stamp for the Wall St. Banksters ongoing criminal enterprise. The deck is stacked against the citizen and taxpayer in challenging policies that favor special interests. The heart of the issue is ignored and the case is reduced to using procedural legal technicalities to deny citizens their rights and their voice. Legal bureaucrats in Rockville, Maryland, paid with our tax dollars, have determined that we who live here in Hawaii have no standing to challenge the military poisoning of our island home with radiation. What kind of justice, freedom and democracy is that?"
Albertini said "In plain language, a military license to possess DU in the heart of our island is a license for a nuclear waste dump. The state of Hawaii (BLNR) that leases land to the military on its 133,000 acre PTA base for 65 years for a total of $1.00 should cancel the lease. We need to malama the aina not abuse it."
Further contact: Jim Albertini 808-966-7622
On 2/24/2010 9:17 AM, Docket, Hearing wrote:
Michael Munk remarked about the article below: "This is a serious consequence of the hysterical coverage of Iran in the US MSM, it's just like most Americans were similarly bamboozled into believing about Iraq before the invasion."
Seven in 10 Americans believe that Iran currently has nuclear weapons, according to a new national poll.
Friday's release of the CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey comes just hours after Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said the Islamic republic isn't seeking and doesn't believe in pursuing nuclear weapons. Khamenei was responding to a draft United Nations report that said that Iran may be working to develop a nuclear weapon.
The poll indicates that 71 percent of the public says Iran has nuclear weapons, with just over one in four disagreeing. More than six in ten think the U.S. should take economic and diplomatic efforts to get Iran to shut down their nuclear program, with only a quarter calling for immediate military action. Full results (pdf). Read more.
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.