Monday, June 12, 2006

Spot The Neocon Story Plant, Part 54 (At Least)

When the history books are written, many years from now, about the current manufactured crisis over Iran's nuclear program, the U.K.'s Daily Telegraph will stand out as one of the media organs which shilled most assidiously for the warmongers. It seems as if every week, since around last May, the Torygraph has had a scaremongering story about Iran - oftimes more than one. Every single one of those stories has been written by Torygraph shills Phil Sherwell and Con Coughlin and every single one has been based on "Iranian dissident groups" (i.e. the MeK), Pentagon spokemen speaking anonymously, "intelligence experts" who turn out to be lying hacks with an agenda like Ken Timmerman or, as in the case of today's bit of hackery, an unnamed "senior western diplomat working with the IAEA".

Today's scary story involves intelligence, presented by nation or agency unnamed, to the IAEA purporting to show that a secret parallel military nuclear program has been transplanted from Lavizan to a new secret complex outside Teheran. Like all such "secret projects", the complex is underground (probably built for the evil Mullahs by those evil Russians) - thus precluding satellite observation - and it seems no-one ever noticed the huge earthmoving operation its construction would have entailed.
“This is a truly alarming development,” said a senior western diplomat working with the IAEA. “This evidence indicates that the Iranians remain committed to developing nuclear weapons, despite their claims to the contrary that their nuclear ambitions are entirely peaceful.”
The article itself, like all Coughlin and Sherwell's concoctions, is a masterpiece of half-stated facts designed to lead a casual or stupid reader down a garden path which those with an agenda for personal gain are happy to see them take. We are told the source for the report is that famous and loquacious unnamed "senior western diplomat working with the IAEA". That's designed to make the reader think this is officially leaked by someone actually working for the IAEA and who knows what the professionals at the Agency are working on. It's a smoke screen. There are 139 member states of the IAEA and at any time 35 nations are represented on the governing council. Each has a small coterie of accredited diplomats, not all of whom would know a nuclear fuel cycle if it bit their ass. None of those diplomats work for the 2,200 person IAEA Secretariat, which is the professional arm of the IAEA - you know, the inspectors, scientists and such who actually know what they are talking about and do the real work. In fact, none work for the IAEA at all, they all work for their member nations.

That leads us to the next half-truth, as Coughlin tells us that "IAEA officials are studying new intelligence indicating that the Lavizan research project has been moved to a secret military location outside Teheran". Well yes, I am sure they are. IAEA officials study everything that is brought to them on such a subject. The BIG questions are - do they believe it, and which officials are we talking about here, the Secretariat's officials or the horde of diplomats who make up the General Council?

Over the last year and more, a huge amount of supposed "intelligence", much of it derived from MeK sources or the "research" of people like Ken Timmerman has been dumped in the laps of the IAEA. More, IAEA members like the U.S. and Israel have also come forward with "intelligence", the sources and reliability of which cannot be divulged for national security reasons, for IAEA consideration. There has literally been a mountain of the stuff. Secret tunnel complexes, secret enrichment plants, secret missile warhead plans, mysterious particles of highly enriched uranium which didn't come from declared processes, detailled plans for all of the above on a laptop some guy down the pub gave them...

The vast majority of it has been exposed as fake, investigated and found wanting or has had an alternative and far more mundane explanation.

The simple truth is that, asked to prove the negative statement "Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program", IAEA Secretariat staff were and remain happy with the March statement of El Baradei that:
As you are aware, the Agency over the last three years has been conducting intensive investigations of Iran´s nuclear programme with a view to providing assurances about the peaceful nature of that programme. During these investigations, the Agency has not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.
Of course, there are uncertainties - there always will be when asked to prove a negative since proving a negative simply can't be done.

If the current mood for diplomacy and "jaw-jaw rather than war-war" (as conservative icon Churchill famously stated he preferred) should fail then much of the blame will be laid at the doors of neocon outlets such as the Daily Telegraph as they blithely empower those who so clearly and dearly want to slice the Iranian pie to profit themselves.

No comments: