Tuesday, November 11th, 2008 | Author:

Gareth Porter has published an in-depth article at Raw Story that’s worth reading. Here’s the lead:

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has obtained evidence suggesting that documents which have been described as technical studies for a secret Iranian nuclear weapons-related research program may have been fabricated.

The documents in question were acquired by U.S. intelligence in 2004 from a still unknown source — most of them in the form of electronic files allegedly stolen from a laptop computer belonging to an Iranian researcher. The US has based much of its push for sanctions against Iran on these documents.

What won’t these guys make up to start another war?

Category: Iran, Iraq, war
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5 Responses
  1. Mike says:

    Just my opinions but three thoughts spring to mind:

    1. Having worked in the military intelligence arena, I can safely say that information of this type is usally highly classfied. We’re talking “go to jail if released” classified. So, any time any news organ claims it has “classified” information bolstering its story, I’m immediately suspicious. It has long been established that a reporter’s 1st Amendment protections do not extend to classified information (the “Pentagon Papers” were an example of the government improperly classifying material); neither is classified material available by invoking the FOIA. So, it’s likely this has been declassified (if it ever really was) and is available because it was determined to be of questionable value.

    2. I do not consider the IAEA to be very credible. If one tracks their perforamce during the years leading up to Saddam’s being deposed; they came across as the “Keystone Cops” of international monitoring. Two Iraqi NCOs in a jeep with sidearms kept them out of every site Saddam didn’t want IAEA inspectors in.

    3. At the risk of soundling like a Tom Clancy novel, one should consider the information could well be disinformation deliberately placed by the Iranians. Were *I* working on a nuclear development program that was guranteed to make my neighbors and the rest of the nuclear “boys-only) club uncomfortable; I’d leak documents designed to make me look incompetent and/or lying about my capabilities too.

    I’m not for getting in to another war. I do note, however, that Iran has consistenly thumbed its nose at the international stage and said it will pursue the nuclear development programs it wants. It has also repeatedly called for the destruction of Isreal. So…do the math….

  2. akaGaGa says:

    Hello Mike,

    1) First, I gotta tell ya’ “having worked in the military intelligence arena” is not a plus in my view. Military, intelligence, and Washington are some of the red flags that wave before my eyes declaring, “Beware! Incoming Lies!” As you said, “I’m immediately suspicious.” I also think that 95% of what is classified under threat of death (or going to jail) is done so for one of two reasons: a) as CYA to prevent US citizens from knowing about the evil and/or illegal activities done in our names, or b) simply to make the authors and those who have clearances feel important – the higher the clearance, the more important they feel.

    2) Speaking of Saddam, if US intelligence is so much more credible than the IAEA, where were the weapons of mass destruction? Why are we still killing innocent people and destroying their country? Why have we not apologized and withdrawn? Obviously, our intent was not to seek out WMD’s.

    3) As for disinformation … first, see #2 above. Second, were “I” surrounded by and repeatedly threatened by the military from a country that no longer has a moral compass, I would do whatever I could to protect my sovereignty and my people.

    I’m not for getting into another war, either. I do note, however, that the United States has consistently thumbed its nose at the international stage and, more importantly its own people, and said it will pursue terrorists wherever they are in the world, violating the sovereignty of other nations and killing innocent people at will – i.e., Pakistan. So … do the math …

    “War between two nations cannot diminish the rights of the rest of the world remaining at peace. The doctrine that the rights of nations remaining quietly in the exercise of moral and social duties, are to give way to the convenience of those who prefer plundering and murdering one another, is a monstrous doctrine, and ought to yield to the more rational law, that “the wrong which two nations endeavor to inflict on each other must not infringe on the rights or conveniences of those remaining at peace.” –Thomas Jefferson to Robert R. Livingston, 1801.

    ‘The spirit of monarchy is war and enlargement of domain: peace and moderation are the spirit of a republic.” –Thomas Jefferson

  3. Mike says:



    1. Alas, if your starting position is that you cannot get truth from anything with a “military,” “intelligence,” or “Washington” affiliation; then how will you know when you are finally presented with truth from one of those sources? (The “skeptic’s dilemma” I believed it’s called.)

    Secondly, you are free to challenge classification authority with some impunity as the nature of classified information makes it very difficult to provide evidence to the contrary. I can assert, based on my experience, that the classified I’ve been exposed to was not deemed classified”…to prevent US citizens from knowing about the evil and/or illegal activies done in our names..” or to make someone feel self-important. It was classified for legitimate security reasons. There are very rigorous requirements for establishing something should be classified, and very rigorours requirements to continually review if it should remain so.

    However, as you’ve already said my personal experience is invalid/untrustworthy and the only other way to prove you wrong would be for you to see some classified material, there is no adequate rebuttal available.

    2. Where were his WMDs? Why some of it was right here: http://www.philly.com/inquirer/world_us/20080706_Iraq_s_nuclear__yellowcake__moved_to_Canada.html
    Which, according to a physicist with no ties to the US gov’t, was enough to create enough U-235 to create over 140 nuclear bombs. http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/ic/2004/8/9/110630.shtml

    As for chemical and biological weapons; Saddam had more than enough warning to dismantle, conceal, and/or sell of the parts of those operations. We discovered buried MiGs in the desert after he was toppled, how tough would it be to conceal drums of nerve or mustard gas? The production facilities aren’t as complex either. Saddam gassed his own people with chemical weapons in 1988 (either giving the order or letting one of his subordiantes do it). Do you really think that’s all he had? Also, *we* are *not* killing innocent people; the terrorists are. Some of our men and women die *because* we have rules protecting non-combatants. And, we are pumping a *whole* lot of money into the Iraqi infrastructure to rebuild it; not wrecking it.

    3. I’m already on record (well,e-mail) saying I disagree with unilaterally attacking terrorists in Pakistan without their consent. As for placing us on the same moral plane as Iran, at least from a government position, I don’t accept the equivilence. We still have work to do in this country, but we don’t hang women, dictate what you’re allowed to wear when you step out of the house, or throw you in jail because you write something publically that takes the government to task…;)

    I like Jefferson’s quote, but if you’ll kindly point out where we’ve increased our *domain* I’d appreciate it. I must have missed the installation of the US Governor-General in Baghdad, or the delcaration that Iraq was no our 51st state…:)

  4. Hercules Mulligan says:

    Hello Mike.

    I hope you don’t mind if I butt in, but I was just wondering …

    I can’t speak for akagaga directly, but I can say that she is probably not coming from the point of view that anything to do with the military, etc., is evil. Neither am I. I respect those who serve, because many of them are truly motivated to do good for their country at any personal cost. In that sense, I support our troops, and their real interests. But that does not mean that I believe whatever comes out of the military is sound. Those in that structure are taught absolute obedience to their superiors; to take orders without questioning or failing or second thoughts. No doubt this was all to prepare men for intense combat and traumatic situations.

    But if our military is under the control of the UN, and the President does the bidding of the UN, then that should be enough to raise suspicions. It also puts the personal rights of our troops in danger. And they have been compromised in the recent past.

    However, the government of the United States has had a history, especially of late, of getting entangled in wars, while telling the public one thing — making it sound noble, and even necessary — but acting on totally different motives. Ever heard of Operation Northwoods? The documents relating to that were classified until the whole thing was all over.

    I understand that some things need to be classified, for genuine security reasons. I also understand that many of the people involved in that process are convinced that what they classify is done for the public good. However, documents that serve to prove that the war waged by our government is good and necessary should not be hidden. After all, it is the sons of Americans who are going to be killed because of the decisions to make war, not the sons of the Presidents or of his Cabinet. If we are going to endanger our lives, and we are not sure if going to war is right, and going to war is necessary for America’s safety, wouldn’t it be more dangerous for the government to let public opinion go sour while their own safety is in jeopardy? When it comes to something like this, what is safer? The classification of evidence, or the unity and assurance of the public in favor of defending their country? If the government was REALLY concerned for our safety, why can’t they just give us the assurance that they are right, and that it is worthwhile to risk our lives? Or is it for matters of self-preservation that the government is hiding these things? After a series of “false flag operations” over the past century, no wonder people are suspicious.

  5. Mike says:

    Hi Hercules; honored to make your acquaintance….:)

    I don’t mind at all. I’m going to limit this reponse to two points: military obedience and “UN” control because I could carry on for pages if I tried to tackle all of it here….:)

    A couple of points to set things up: I have considerable experience in the military. I do not assert that my experiences *must* be true for every person who serves. However, based on my 22+ years, I maintin the vast majority of people are moral folks and have lines they will not cross, even in the service of our country. I do acknowledge that some small percentage of folks in uniform (as in life in general) are either amoral or weak enough of character to do what they’re told no matter what. akagaga has related a particular story to me via e-mail about her making the acquaintance of a particular individual. I accept her story at face value, but continue to note that, in my experience, that person is the exception, not the rule.

    So, to the main points: talking about military service often involves what appear to be contradictory positions. Enlisted personnel *are* taught to obey orders and obedience, but it is NOT absolute. Those same people are taught both the Laws of Armed Conflict and the concept of illegal orders from their beginning days. (I know from whence I speak, I was enlisted first and then commissioned.) The JAG corps teaches these classes and don’t answer to the unit commanders. NCOs and Officers are also taught (not in a single class, it is a recurring theme) about “Moral Authority. The concept is that we have a duty to disobey illegal orders. For example; the company commander orders me to machine-gun down the women and children huddling in the corner. It’s an illegal order, the enlisted troop is within his or her rights, and quite frankly is expected, to both disobey the order as well as report it. Speaking personally, I used Thoreau’s “On Civil Disobedience” as a teaching tool when teaching junior officers about it. (Thoreau ultimately goes too far, but that’s for another topic)

    In addition to that, when in a combat theater, there are “Rules of Engagement” (ROEs). These are usually very specific about when, how, and how much force can be applied. A simple example is: “You may not fire unless fired upon first.” I know for a fact our forces in Iraq have observed a fairly strict set of ROEs during their time there; to the point of endangering them in favor of protecting innocent Iraqis. Does that mean that someone in US uniform as ignored them or committed some crime? No, I’m not saying that. But, it is rare, and they are prosecuted and sent to jail when caught. 9 times out of 10 it won’t make the evening news. I would also note that the JAG corps has been more heavily involved in tactical decisions during both Gulf 1 and this Iraqi war than ever before in the history of the military. I again note, the JAG officer DO NOT answer to the operational commanders whom they advise.

    So, in summation (this is still a precis because of space constraints); while rapid obedience of orders is expected, especially in combat, it does not happen in a moral vacuum.

    Second item is you comment about US forces under UN control. If we look at WW I and WWII , we can find instances (not long term) where US military units operated under the direct command of a foreign commanders, but it was not wide-spread or long-term. In recent times President Clinton dabbled very briefly in the idea of allowing some operational control of US forces as part of a UN Peacekeeping mission; but the debacle in Somalia in 1993 pretty killed that initiative. Clinton authored Presidential Decision Direct 25 (PDD-25); and pretty much made it clear that US forces would *always* remain under US command and control A very good analysis of that is available here: http://www.ibiblio.org/jwsnyder/wisdom/pdd25.html

    So, in short, the specter of the UN ordering the US Army to fall upon its own is purely the stuff of novels. Quite frankly, had I been told I command of my unit was being handed to some UN “officer” and said officer then ordered me to start rounding up my countrymen and women, I would: 1. Refuse and resign, and 2. Take up arms against such an effort (assuming I wasn’t incarcerated). I know a lot of folks in uniform who feel the same way.

    So ends this soliloquy…:) I’ll answer other parts of your comment in another post.

    Hi akagaga….:)