Posts Tagged ‘NIE’

AntiWar Radio host Scott Horton discusses the American Empire — Somalia, 9/11, jingoism directed at Iran, the Af-Pak War, Neoconservatism, the Israel Lobby, and Israeli espionage in the U.S. (55:35):


Scott Horton, host of AntiWar Radio, interviews Gareth Porter on the ‘smoking laptop’ used to falsely show Iran pursuing nuclear weapons program. (more…)

Prof. Chomsky interviewed by Iran’s Press TV on the recent election of Obama, the ‘Bush legacy of catastrophe’, protectionism disguised as capitalism, propaganda, current events in the Middle East. (more…)

AntiWar Radio: Ray McGovern, former senior analyst at the CIA, discusses the ebb and flow of neoconservative influence in the White House, how the scuttled Charles Freeman appointment weakens U.S. leverage with Israel, the shortcomings of the mainstream media and how the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran prevented a disastrous war. (more…)

Prof. Chomsky’s 2007 lecture at MIT from 29 Apr 07 on the Iraq effect of increasing terror and threats toward Iran are still very relevant as Iran re-enters the news cycle a couple of months after Obama said, Iran can do this the hard way or the easy way.Q&A follows. (more…)

The Independent

Scott Horton interviews Gareth Porter (right) on (12/17/08) (44:17):

Gareth Porter, independent historian and journalist, discusses his recent visit to Iran to determine the receptivity of government officials to U.S. diplomatic overtures, the divide in Iranian opinion over Obama, how U.S. interference abroad allows defiant nationalistic governments stay in power, Obama’s potential to learn from his foreign policy mistakes despite the influence of hawkish advisers and how Iran’s increased regional influence and friendly relations with Iraq make nuclear weapons less likely.

Dr. Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist on U.S. national security policy. Porter is the author of four books, the latest of which is Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam. He has written regularly for Inter Press Service on U.S. policy toward Iraq and Iran since 2005. His articles also appear on and the Huffington Post.

Gareth Porter Archives at

Culper Ring 355 posted that Israel may strike Iran whether or not the US consents.

(I don’t argue that.)

The post cites an article from Israel Today claiming that “last summer, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted to attack Iran in May, but was denied the green light he sought from U.S. President George W. Bush.

(Yes, but we don’t need to look that far back, as this isn’t such old news. TIME reported on Nov. 24 that Israel was “warned off” by Pres. Bush from any attack before Pres.-elect Obama takes office.)

The Israel Today article also reports that “for months Israeli analysts have warned that with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama in the White House, and threat of American military intervention will disappear, as will any possibility of gaining official or even tacit U.S. support for an Israeli strike.”

(Are Israel Today and these analysts seeing the same cabinet I am?)

My biggest dispute with the Culper Ring post is the statement that Iran has “continued to develop its nuclear program.”

What does that mean and how do the details of Iran’s ‘nuclear program’ make a case for Israel attacking Iran? Or better yet, is that supposed to make a case for a Pres. Obama to support such an attack?

Also, Iran is customers of Russia and China because they’ve planned for years to have a national nuclear power grid. There’s a cut n’ dry difference between a ‘nuclear program’ regulated by two of the UN Security Council Big Five, pursuing a nuclear weapon, possessing a nuclear weapon, and intending to use a nuclear weapon.

Any attack by Israel on Iran where Israel does not meet the burden of proof to fit the conditions of Art. 51 of the UN Charter make such an attack unjustified. In that case, the US has no place consenting to such an attack.

Of course, Israel will not dare attack Iran without consent form the US — whether or not the consent is blatant. Israel would have to, at least, know that the US will veto any sanction against them in front of the UN Security Council for such an attack that would violate UN Art. 51.

The US vetoing such sanctions would be disgusting and dangerous for the entire region and the US if they picked angels and demons after such an atrocity.

Russia, China, the National Intelligence Estimate, and the International Atomic Energy Agency will make a firm and valid case that the nuclear argument cannot be made against Iran for Israel to act under Art. 51. Add to that, today’s reports that a senior Russian diplomat is saying that Iran cannot make a nuclear bomb and today’s LA Times:

Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the nonproliferation program at the London-based Institute for International Strategic Studies, predicts in a 100-page report that Iran will produce enough fissile low- enriched uranium and obtain the expertise next year to build a bomb.

But unless Iran were to boot out international inspectors and begin to further refine its stockpile, steps Tehran insists it won’t take, all would not be lost, he says.

“During 2009, Iran will probably reach the point at which it has produced the amount of low-enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb,” writes Fitzpatrick, who served 26 years in the U.S. State Department. “But being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon.”…

Fitzpatrick, reflecting a trend among analysts, argues that it is time to accept enrichment as a fait accompli, without officially legitimizing it.

Thus far Iran is at least trying to appear to abide by the letter of international arms-control regulations, granting access to key sites and allowing cameras to monitor sensitive activities to prevent material from being diverted. By setting aside the argument over enrichment and keeping Tehran within the umbrella of the NPT, Fitzpatrick argues, the international community would be better able to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

He argues for diplomacy and sanctions to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and opposes the military option favored by some hawks in Washington and Israel. Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably encourage an Iranian “breakout” scenario, he says in the report, according to the executive summary.

“In the aftermath of an unprovoked attack,” it says, “Iran could be expected to withdraw from the NPT and engage the full resources of a unified nation in a determined nuclear-weapons development program.”

To go with my statement from yesterday that “Iran’s nuclear compliance displays extraordinary restraint in a nuclear world” and Fitzpatrick’s statement that Iran would pull from the NPT were attacked, I would argue that this sabre-rattling is borderline goading just that: an unregulated Iran after they kick out the inspectors outside of the NPT actually creating the nuclear weapon that the US and Israel are claiming they don’t want. The rhetoric from Sec. Rice, Pres.-elect Obama, and the IDF are contradicting the motives they’re projecting.

What say you, Culper Ring?

President-elect Barack Obama says Iran can meet his demands the hard way or the easy way.

President-elect Barack Obama says Iran can meet his demands "the hard way or the easy way." “Obama Sends Mixed Signals on Iran“:

Appearing on this morning’s Meet the Press, President-elect Barack Obama attempting to clarify his position on Iran, but in many ways sparked more questions than he settled. Typifying his largely vacuous comments was the declaration that he was going to let Iran decide if “they want to do this the hard way or the easy way.”

To that end, Obama proposed “tough but direct diplomacy,” hitting out at what he termed “their development of nuclear weapons” and declaring “their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in.” Obama left open the possibility of direct talks while adding “we may have to tighten up those sanctions.”

The United States has repeatedly hit out at Iran’s civilian uranium enrichment program, but while officials continue to accuse Iran of developing nuclear weapons, America’s National Intelligence Estimate concluded that Iran halted any efforts to that end.

In an attempt to convince the Iranian government to abandon the enrichment program, the US has pressed through an ever-increasing number of international sanctions on Iran. Iran has threatened retaliatory strikes if Israel follows through on its repeated threats to attack.

During the campaign, Obama hit out at President Bush for his unwillingness to hold direct talks with Iran. Today’s comments suggest Obama continues to be open to the direct talks, but seems determined to continue the Bush Administration’s policy of threats and sanctions.

In terms of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, on top of the NIE’s conclusion that Iran has halted any efforts toward developing a nuclear weapon, there are the reports of Russia, China, and the IAEA that I posted a couple of weeks ago:

Russia and China, Iran’s largest suppliers of nuclear materials, have been closely monitoring Iran every step of the way (which has included a demands to freeze their programs [in 2006]) [and] have rejected more expansive multilateral efforts (including U.N. intervention) . Russia and China have blocked sanctions as recently as [November 2008]. Juan Cole, President of the Global Americana Institute, cites Farideh Farhi as reporting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is saying that “Iran has satisfactorily answered questions about its past nuclear energy research, and that the international body can verify that Iran has not diverted nuclear material to weapons purposes.

The other two concerns of Mr. Obama are [Iran’s] funding of terrorist organizations [and] their threats against Israel are contrary to everything we believe in.

What Mr. Obama fails to mention is that:

From this angle, Iran’s nuclear compliance displays extraordinary restraint in a nuclear world. (Dare I say it!)

And Mr. Obama can get what he wants — a nuclear weapon-free Iran that doesn’t fund terrorist organizations or threaten Israel — the hard way or the easy way; the easy way being to hold the US and its allies to the same standards by which the US holds Iran.

This is an extremely conservative proposal that I’m making — of which I assume to be consistent with US public opinion:

  1. Strictly promote actions in accordance with the National Intelligence Estimate and the reports by the IAEA.
  2. Analyze the supervision and regulation by Russia and China.
  3. Do not deviate from the authority of the UN Security Council in which the US actively participates and agrees to abide by its Charter.
  4. Be morally consistent over giving in to allied preferential treatment.

If the rumor that Mr. Obama will end “blank cheques” to Israel from the US is true, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Prof. Chomsky says it best:The only way we can put a permanent end to terrorism is to stop participating in it.