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US says Netanyahu’s presentation proves ‘Iran had a robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program’ —...
Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News - US President was recently interviewed by the Associated Press (AP) on a number of issues including the US government shutdown and his recent discussion with Iran’s new President, Hassan Rouhani. President Obama was asked about his conversation with Rouhani and how he perceives Iran’s new leadership role. Obama said:
Well, here’s what we know: He was not necessarily the preferred candidate of some of the ruling clerics when he initially threw his hat into the ring. He won pretty decisively.
So what we know is, is that in the Iranian population at least, there is a genuine interest in moving in a new direction. Their economy has been crippled by international sanctions that were put in place because Iran had not been following international guidelines, and had behaved in ways that made a lot of people feel they were pursuing a nuclear weapon.
I think Rouhani has staked his position on the idea that he can improve relations with the rest of the world. And so far, he’s been saying a lot of the right things. And the question now is, can he follow through? The way the Iranian system works, he’s not the only decision maker — he’s not even the ultimate decision maker.
But if in fact he is able to present a credible plan that says Iran is pursuing peaceful nuclear energy but we’re not pursuing nuclear weapons, and we are willing to be part of a internationally verified structure so that all other countries in the world know they are not pursuing nuclear weapons, then, in fact, they can improve relations, improve their economy. And we should test that.
Obama also stated that the Iranians are a year or more away, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently said Iran is now 6 months way from producing a nuclear weapon. There are media reports that Obama and Netanyahu have a difficult relationship regarding Iran’s “alleged” nuclear weapons program. But a recent meeting between the two confirms how much they agree on Iran. Netanyahu and Obama met with reporters a day before Netanyahu was scheduled to speak at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) that “It is Israel’s firm belief that if Iran continues to advance its nuclear program during negotiations, the sanctions should be strengthened” according to Reuters. The report also confirmed how Netanyahu and Obama agree on the use of force militarily:
Even as Netanyahu called for a “credible military threat” to pressure Iran to comply, Obama insisted: “We take no options off the table, including military options, in terms of making sure that we do not have nuclear weapons in Iran.”
The Obama administration is ignoring the facts of his own intelligence agencies who confirmed in a March 23rd, 2012 Reuters special report titled ‘Intel shows Iran nuclear threat not imminent.’ The report stated:
The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.
Those conclusions, drawn from extensive interviews with current and former U.S. and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran, contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.
The report also said:
Reuters has learned that in late 2006 or early 2007, U.S. intelligence intercepted telephone and email communications in which Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading figure in Iran’s nuclear program, and other scientists complained that the weaponization program had been stopped.
The United States and Israel will try to sabotage the upcoming talks between Iran and the US in Geneva. In testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 12, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s Worldwide Threat Assessment stated the following:
We assess Iran is developing nuclear capabilities to enhance its security, prestige, and regional influence and give it the ability to develop nuclear weapons, should a decision be made to do so. We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.
Tehran has developed technical expertise in a number of areas—including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles—from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons. These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.
Of particular note, Iran has made progress during the past year that better positions it to produce weapons-grade uranium (WGU) using its declared facilities and uranium stockpiles, should it choose to do so. Despite this progress, we assess Iran could not divert safeguarded material and produce a weapon-worth of WGU before this activity is discovered.
We judge Iran’s nuclear decision-making is guided by a cost-benefit approach, which offers the international community opportunities to influence Tehran. Iranian leaders undoubtedly consider Iran’s security, prestige and influence, as well as the international political and security environment, when making decisions about its nuclear program. In this context, we judge that Iran is trying to balance conflicting objectives. It wants to advance its nuclear and missile capabilities and avoid severe repercussions—such as a military strike or regime threatening sanctions.
Back In April 2010, Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing with Defense Intelligence Agency director Ronald Burgess stated on record that “Iran’s military strategy is designed to defend against external threats, particularly from the United States and Israel” and “to slow an invasion and force a diplomatic solution to hostilities.” Netanyahu said “Israel will never acquiesce to nuclear arms in the hands of a rogue regime that repeatedly promises to wipe us off the map” Again in 2012, Burgess explained to a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that “Iran is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict or launch a preemptive attack.” Prime Minister Netanyahu discredit’s Iran’s leadership by saying President Rouhani is “a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a wolf who thinks he can pull the wool over the eyes of the international community.” Obama’s view on Iran’s is in line with Netanyahu’s assessment. He told the Associated Press:
Our assessment continues to be a year or more away. And in fact, actually, our estimate is probably more conservative than the estimates of Israeli intelligence services.
So we share a lot of intelligence with Israelis. I think Prime Minister Netanyahu understandably is very skeptical about Iran, given the threats that they’ve made repeatedly against Israel, given the aid that they’ve given to organizations like Hezbollah and Hamas that have fired rockets into Israel. If I were the Prime Minister of Israel, I would be very wary as well of any kind of talk from the Iranians.
But what I’ve said to Prime Minister Netanyahu is that the entire point of us setting up sanctions and putting pressure on the Iranian economy was to bring them to the table in a serious way to see if we can resolve this issue diplomatically. And we’ve got to test that. We’re not going to take a bad deal. We are going to make sure that we verify any agreement that we might strike.
But it is very much in not only the United States’ interest but also Israel’s interest to see if we can resolve this without some sort of military conflict. And so we now have the time to have those serious conversations, and we’ll be able to measure how serious the Iranians are.
Main Stream Media outlet CNN reported that Obama said that he and Netanyahu have a “good working relationship” despite past reports that their relationship was rather difficult in terms of the Iranian problem they both shared.
On Monday, Obama said he has a “good working relationship” with Netanyahu, and reaffirmed the U.S. bond with the Israeli people. “Our unshakeable bond with the Israel people is stronger than ever,” he said. “Our commitment to Israel’s security is stronger than ever.”
Both leaders said Iran was a key topic. “Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction, so for Israel, the ultimate test of a future agreement with Iran is whether or not Iran dismantles its military nuclear program,” Netanyahu said. “That’s the bottom line.” Obama said that if Iran wants sanctions relief, it will have to meet “the highest standards of verifications.”
“It is absolutely clear that words are not sufficient,” Obama said on Monday. “We have to have actions that give the international community confidence that, in fact, they are meeting their international obligations fully and that they are not in a position to have a nuclear weapon.”
Obama and Netanyahu want a war with Iran, although going to war with Syria proved to be a difficult task thanks to Russia’s efforts on preventing a devastating war. The US and Israeli governments will try to discredit Iran’s new leader because the last obstacles to control the Middle East is Syria and Iran. Both countries are targeted by the west, regardless of the Iranian government’s attempt at diplomacy with the West. Israel wants to expand its power in the Middle East with US backing. The Obama administration will make it difficult for the Iranian government to prove that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes. Israel wants war and so does the United States. Clapper did say that “generally speaking,” the United States and Israel are “on the same page” when it comes to Iran. That is a statement coming from an intelligence official that is proven to be a fact. The US/Israeli Alliance is “Unshakable”, that is Obama’s repeated message to the world. Expect the upcoming Geneva talks to hit a wall, and that wall is the US and Israeli Alliance.
Israeli Nuclear Weapons Program: Israel’s Quest for Yellowcake — The Secret Argentine-Israeli Connection, 1963-1966
Iranian workers in front of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. (Stringer/Iran/Reuters) "We need to come to the point where no country has any nuclear weapons and at the same time all weapons of mass destruction and nuclear arms need to be destroyed," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told state news agency IRNA.
Mehmanparast also said that much of Iran's higher-grade enriched uranium is once again being converted into reactor fuel to be used for energy production.
Iran has been hit by a series of U.S. lead sanctions and continual threats of war from Israel over claims that its nuclear energy program is being used to develop nuclear weapons, despite a consistent lack of viable evidence. The U.S. and Israel, on the other hand, both have substantial nuclear weapons stockpiles—the U.S. with the greatest arsenal in the world.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed on Monday that Tehran is moving closer to the "red line" of nuclear weapon capability.
In his comments, Mehmanparast emphasized that these persistent accusations are a "laughing matter" coming from a country that has "illegally stockpiled nuclear warheads."
"They threaten to use these nuclear warheads against other countries," he said, adding that Israel was the "biggest obstacle" to the creation of a nuclear-free Middle East.
Mehmanparast added that Iran is ready to allow IAEA nuclear inspectors to visit their Parchin military site to check for nuclear weapons, as long as world powers recognize Tehran's right to enrich uranium for fuel.
Iran will be meeting with the P5+1 group (the US, UK, Russia, China, France and Germany) in international nuclear talks on February 26 in Kazakhstan.
If the Department of Energy gets its way you may up with eye glasses, pacemakers, zippers, braces and more made from our nuclear weapons complex.
Photo Credit: Aleksey Klints/ Shutterstock.com
February 8, 2013 |
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How would you like radioactive metal from nuclear weapons facilities to be recycled for use in consumer goods like silverware, pots and pans, eye glasses, zippers, kid’s braces, and even pacemakers and artificial hip joints? If the U.S. Department of Energy gets its way (after a public comment period ends Feb. 11), that is exactly what we can expect in our future.
DOE, the steward of the sprawling—and massively contaminated—American nuclear weapons complex, wants to lift a ban on recycling imposed in 2000. That action came in response to an earlier proposal to sell radioactive metal from DOE facilities to scrap metal recyclers. Once the contaminated metal is mixed into the scrap supply, it could be turned into virtually anything made with metal.
The problem is, products contaminated with radiation give off alpha particles, beta particles, or gamma rays, depending on the radioactive element (radionuclide or radioisotope) present. Though these three kinds of radiation have different properties, all are ionizing, meaning that each is energetic enough to break chemical bonds in the cells in our bodies. That kind of damage can result in cancer and other illnesses.
DOE’s current plan is to release 13,790 metric tons of metal the department says is “uncontaminated” or just contaminated on the surface. This material would likely include things like metal desks, pipes, and perhaps construction equipment from radiation-contaminated areas, Robert Alvarez, a nuclear expert and former senior policy advisor to the Secretary of Energy during the Clinton administration, told WhoWhatWhy. (Click here for more information on the places from which DOE proposes to release the metal.)
Alvarez, a key player in stopping DOE’s earlier attempt to release its low-level nuclear waste into the public sphere, described the new effort as “a toe in the water” toward overturning the ban; in the future, it could lead to the release of a large part of the department’s vast stockpile of waste materials.
“DOE’s been pushing this scheme for 30 to 35 years,” he said. “They just don’t want to give up on it.”
The Department of Energy did not respond to an interview request.
The Dirtiest Legacy
The top-secret effort that began during World War II to develop the atomic bomb—and then build America’s nuclear arsenal to ensure the country’s continued global military dominance—has been an especially dirty enterprise. Creating and maintaining it has resulted in the release of vast but unknowable amounts of radioactive, chemical, and other toxic contamination on much of the DOE’s 2.4 million acres as well as in surrounding communities.
DOE’s Hanford site in eastern Washington state, for example, is the most contaminated place in the Western hemisphere and the site of the world’s largest cleanup operation. An article in Der Spiegel notes that “240 square miles are uninhabitable due to the radioactivity that has seeped into the soil and ground water: uranium, cesium, strontium, plutonium and other deadly radionuclides.” Maps showing DOE cleanup sites are here and here.
The first and only inventory of DOE’s assets, which was conducted in the nineties under Alvarez’s direction, revealed the department had 20,700 specialized facilities and buildings including 5,000 warehouses, 7,000 administration buildings, 1,600 laboratories, 89 nuclear reactors, 208 particle accelerators, and 665 production and manufacturing facilities.
“At the time, we found there was more than 270,000 metric tons of scrap, which is equivalent to two modern aircraft carriers in weight,” Alvarez said.
Adding in the three gaseous diffusion plants in Paducah, Kentucky; Portsmouth, Ohio; and at DOE’s Y-25 site at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, would contribute another 1.4 million metric tons to the department’s scrap-metal heap. Gaseous diffusion, an extremely polluting technology, was the first technique to turn natural uranium into nuclear fuel on an industrial scale. Significant amounts of toxic and radioactive materials have been released into the air, water, and soil at all three sites.
Even the deregulation-happy Wall St. Journal sounded shocked: “The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites — an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surgical implants and other consumer products.”
Having failed in the ‘80s and ‘90s to free the nuclear bomb factories and national laboratories of millions of tons of their radioactively contaminated scrap and nickel, the DOE is trying again. Its latest proposal is moving ahead without even an Environmental Impact Statement. Those messy EISs involve public hearings, so you can imagine the DOE’s reluctance to face the public over adding yet more radiation to the doses we’re already accumulating. It would be a pretty hard sell, what with dental X-rays, medical X-rays, mammograms, CAT scans, PET scans, radio-isotope “seeds” and cocktails, food irradiation, every-day releases of radioactive gases and water from 104 nuclear power reactors, major releases like Fukushima, radon from rocks, whole-body X-rays at airports (that you can refuse) and cosmic rays during flights.
Not long after Chernobyl spread radiation around the world in 1986, the National Council on Radiation Protection doubled its estimate of our annual radiation dose, from 170 millirems to 360. A few years ago it raised the estimate again, to 620 millirems per year. The agencies that both create radioactive waste and estimate the radiation doses it gives to us, say the latest increase is due mostly to rapid growth in the use of medical X-rays and radio-isotopes in medicine. Should the DOE be allowed to haphazardly add still more?
Still, the DOE wants to deregulate and actually sell 14,000 tons of radioactive scrap metal (both volumetrically and topically contaminated) from the nuclear war system — uranium enrichment, plutonium extraction, etc. — and “recycle” the waste to the commercial clean scrap metal industry. From there, according to the watchdog group Nuclear Information and Resource Service, the radioactive stuff “could be turned into anything from your next pants zipper to baby toys.”
The DOE claims that potential radiation exposures to men, women and children would amount to a “negligible individual dose.” But anyone with a scrap of understanding of DOE and the Atomic Energy Commission knows not to believe a word of their assurances. The DOE famously said that rainwater would take thousands of years to seep through Yucca Mountain to a deep waste repository; it ran through the mountain in 40 years.
Even Some in Congress Object
Rep. Ed Markey wrote to Energy Secretary Steven Chu Jan. 11, calling the deregulation proposal “unwise” and urging that it “should be immediately abandoned.” Rep. Markey warned that radioactive products could “ultimately be utilized by pregnant women, children and other vulnerable populations.”
The DOE has never officially acknowledged — in spite of the National Academy of Sciences’ 2006 findings — that the same radiation dose does far more harm to women than to men. The drastically increased vulnerability of fetuses and infants is well known, but the whole population is nevertheless treated as the same big, young, Caucasian male (“reference man”) in most radiation risk assessments.
The DOE’s assessment of the proposal’s risks neglects the fact that exposures can go on for years from a watch or from medical implants or tableware or other items, leading to many millirems for many years. A millirem per year over 30 or 70 years is 30 or 70 millirems which is not trivial, NIRS points out.
The DOE currently bans the release of its radioactive scrap under a moratorium that began in 2000. The ban must not be lifted, but should be made permanent and expanded to keep all radioactive waste — plastic, concrete, soil, asphalt, etc. in addition to all metals — under control, out of commercial recycling and managed as the deadly hazard it is. NIRS.org has more details.
WASHINGTON - January 30 - President Obama has nominated Sen. Chuck Hagel to head the Pentagon; hearings are scheduled for Thursday. Some Senators have attacked Hagel for supporting the group Global Zero. The group has released a statement: “Setting the Record Straight on Chuck Hagel’s Global Zero Position on Nuclear Weapons.”
ALICE SLATER, [email]
Slater is the New York director of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation and is on the coordinating committee of Abolition 2000, a nuclear disarmament network. She said today: “By signing the Global Zero declaration calling for a verified approach to the elimination of nuclear weapons by 2030, Chuck Hagel opened up a space to begin the heretofore taboo conversation about abolishing nuclear weapons. He is following in the footsteps of four rusty cold warriors, Henry Kissinger, Sam Nunn, William Perry and George Shultz who raised the issue in a stunning 2009 Wall Street Journal op-ed and have been back-tracking ever since in a series of subsequent articles.
“Nevertheless, the unspoken agreement not to discuss banning the bomb has been breached and the abolition word has been mentioned. In his Prague speech, Obama followed up on Kissinger and company, calling for a nuclear free world which ‘may not happen in my lifetime.’ Hillary Clinton misquoted him by stating he had said it may not happen ‘in our lifetime or successive lifetimes.’ Not to be outdone, Kerry, in his confirmation hearing, has reduced the call for nuclear abolition as a goal ‘worth aspiring to’ which might take ‘many centuries to achieve.’
“Despite these disclaimers, the military-industrial-academic-congressional complex is fighting back to preserve their crumbling nuclear ‘deterrent’ as more countries join the nuclear club or aspire to keep a bomb in the basement through the use of so-called ‘peaceful’ nuclear power. The best thing about the Hagel controversy, is that nuclear abolition is finally being discussed. Numerous Commissions and studies have found that the longer we hang on to our nuclear bombs, in violation of our treaty obligations in the Non-Proliferation Treaty to get rid of them, the more countries will acquire them, creating ever greater national insecurity. Next month Norway will convene a meeting of nations to discuss the humanitarian consequences of nuclear war, which will add more heft to this conversation.
“The world has banned mustard gas, chemical and biological weapons, landmines and cluster bombs. There is no good reason to cling to our nuclear ‘deterrent’ which is incapable of protecting us against the real threats we face in the world from non-state actors and ‘suicide bombers’ who cannot be deterred. We know how to verify and monitor nuclear disarmament. We would be much less vulnerable if we proceeded to do so with the cooperation of other nuclear weapons states. Since there are 20,000 nuclear weapons on the planet and 19,000 of them are in the U.S. and Russia, it’s up to our two nations to begin. And Russia won’t discuss this until the U.S. is ready to give up its plans to plant missiles on Russia’s borders and to dominate the earth from space. I don’t think Hagel’s Global Zero position addresses this provocative U.S. policy which is essential if we are to have the cooperation we need from Russia and China to finally ban the bomb.”
It is clear that during the middle of December of last year that the Obama White House had settled on former Nebraska Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be the Secretary of Defense. The U.S. Intelligence Community and defense establishment was told to come up with a strategy to combat the expected strong opposition to the nomination of the critical of Israel Hagel by that nation’s lobby in the United States.
The pro-Hagel circles needed a secret weapon to counteract the Israel supporters who would stress that Hagel was not supportive of the «special relationship» between the United States and Israel. There was no better way to demonstrate that Israel was no special ally of the United States but a longtime hostile intelligence threat to America by declassifying a large part of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Damage Report arising from the intense espionage carried out by one-time U.S. Naval Intelligence spy Jonathan Jay Pollard on behalf of Israel…
The declassification of the long-classified Pollard report was made on December 16, 2012. However, the first substantial media reports on the report began around December 26. The Jewish media, including Yeshiva World, Tablet Magazine, and Jewish Week, contended the report only showed that Pollard disclosed classified information on Arab and Soviet military capabilities, ignoring the fact that Pollard’s disclosures revealed the nature of U.S. intelligence sources and methods in obtaining such information, thereby putting U.S. civilian and military assets in extreme jeopardy.
The one major explosive revelation in the declassified report is Pollard’s involvement in a highly-classified Israeli-South African program to test a nuclear weapon in the South Atlantic/South Indian Ocean region in September 1979.
The Pollard Damage Assessment was prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence’s Foreign Denial and Deception Analysis Committee and issued on October 30, 1987. The report reveals for the first time that Pollard began working as a U.S. naval intelligence watch officer the same month that Israel and South Africa, possibly with the financial support of Taiwan, detonated a nuclear device in the South Atlantic/South Indian Ocean near South Africa’s Prince Edward Islands. The un-redacted damage assessment report also provides details of Pollard’s espionage work for South Africa before or at the same time he was spying for Israel.
Pollard’s espionage for Israel and South Africa provide evidence of his a key role in providing faulty intelligence to higher U.S. intelligence echelons concerning the nuclear test. Pollard’s mission was clear: his Israeli handlers wanted the details of the nuclear test kept secret. If it were proven that Israel was violating South African sanctions, the Symington Amendment would have required the United States to cut off all military and economic assistance to Israel. Even the powerful Jewish Lobby could not get around what was U.S. law.
The report describes Pollard’s work in September 1979 in the Navy Field Operational Intelligence Office (NFOIO) in Suitland, Maryland, outside of Washington, DC. The report states: “He began work as an Intelligence Research Specialist assigned to the Naval Ocean Surveillance Information Center (NOSIC} of the Navy Field Operational Intelligence Office in September 1979.” The report also states that during the same month of the South African-Israeli nuclear test Pollard “admitted that he had attended a clandestine meeting with the South African Defense Attaché.”
In July 1980 Pollard admitted to his superiors that he lied about his contacts with South African intelligence. However, this «admission» was to cover up what Pollard knew about the successful nuclear test the previous year and after Pollard and, presumably other Israeli moles, tainted U.S. intelligence into believing that the double flash normally associated with a nuclear detonation spotted on September 22, 1979 by the bhangmeter photo sensors on U.S. VELA 6911 nuclear detection satellite, orbiting over the South Atlantic at one-third the distance to the moon, was nothing more than a meteor entering the atmosphere or some other natural event.
Pollard failed to highlight several key indicators from his ocean surveillance duties that would have prompted U.S. intelligence assets to turn their attention toward South African extended waters on September 22, 1979. The entire South African Navy was placed on alert for the entire week surrounding September 22 and the Simonstown and Saldanha naval bases were placed under tight security that same week, But Pollard sat on the information and likely deep sixed analysis reports from co-workers on South Atlantic/South Indian Ocean operations during the fateful week.
It is clear that certain intelligence quarters in the U.S. Navy began feeding false intelligence on the double nuclear flash to the CIA. The CIA decided to hire the contractor firm MITRE to analyze recorded acoustic data gathered by the Navy’s Sound Surveillance System (SOSUS) and the Air Force Technical Applications Center (AFTAC) less than one-hertz acoustic monitoring systems that piggybacked off the Navy’s SOSUS acoustic hydrophone arrays extending from Bermuda, Wales, and Iceland. The tests revealed that there was a 2-4 kiloton nuclear bomb test in the South Atlantic with acoustic intelligence confirming concussive blast low-level harmonics from Navy and Air Force sonar arrays.
An auroral flash normally associated with nuclear blasts was detected by meteorological stations on Norway’s Bouvet Island, France’s île de la Possession in the nearby Crozet Islands, and at the Japanese Showa station in Antarctica. Further intelligence supporting the nuclear blast event was compiled by the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Naval Research Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory including increased radiation found in sheep downwind of the blast site in Western Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria and in ionospheric disturbances detected by the Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico.
Someone within the ranks of Navy intelligence was preparing incorrect intelligence reports and covering for Israel’s and South Africa’s involvement in a nuclear test. One of those suspected is Pollard, whose job was to monitor naval operations around the world the day the nuclear test was conducted in the South Atlantic.
The report’s description of Pollard’s early association with South Africa, which some authors of the damage report attempted to debunk, at the same time Israel and the apartheid regime were cooperating on nuclear weapons development is as follows:
“The following factors that have come to light about his employment with the Navy indicate that Pollard was unsuited for access to sensitive national security information:
- False claims concerning professional qualifications. Pollard falsely stated on his naval employment application that he had a ‘provisional’ M.A. degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. Moreover, in February 1980 during an interview with Task Force 168, the intelligence element charged with HUMINT collection, Pollard falsely claimed to have an M.A. degree, to be proficient in Afrikaans, and to have applied for a commission in the naval reserve. Pollard made another, more farfetched statement to his immediate supervisor in NOSIC: he said he had key South African contacts who could provide him with valuable information, and that he had known South African citizens for many years because his father bad been the CIA Station Chief in South Africa.”
The report also states: “Pollard claimed in a post-arrest debriefing that he had come very close to volunteering to commit espionage while holding a conversation in Hebrew with the Israeli Naval Attaché during a U.S.-Israeli intelligence exchange in 1983. Although it is not clear exactly when Pollard first began to consider espionage, we believe it was at least as early as 1980-81.”
The damage report’s Executive Summary is surprisingly soft on Israel’s use of Pollard as a spy. The summary states that Pollard’s “short but intensive espionage career on behalf of Israel lasted from June 1984 until his arrest on 21 November 1985.” However, other sections of the report state that Pollard considered spying for Israel at least as early as 1980-81. Other parts of the report indicate that Pollard’s espionage for both Israel and South Africa began much earlier and that even as a teen Pollard was a committed Zionist who placed loyalty to Israel above the United States.
Of course, it is this sort of hard intelligence that can be used to show that Israel has long been an adversary of the United States and a dangerous espionage center for anti-U.S. operations. At the time of the South African-Israeli nuclear test, the administration of President Jimmy Carter was actively enforcing military sanctions against South Africa imposed by UN Security Council resolution 418 of 1977.
Two years before Pollard was arrested by the FBI after trying to seek political asylum in the Israeli embassy in Washington, the FBI arrested in New York South African Navy Commodore Dieter Gerhardt and his East German spy wife, Ruth, based on a tip from a Soviet defector code named «Farewell.» Gerhardt was the commander of the South African Navy’s Simonstown naval base and had access to signals intelligence intercepts from South Africa’s secret Silvermine listening post near Cape Town. South Africa and the U.S.U.K. signals intelligence alliance shared some intelligence at a low level during this time frame.
Gerhardt’s role as a possible liaison to Pollard and Israeli intelligence in the United States becomes apparent when Gerhardt’s own admission: that he was an important liaison in South African – Israeli military cooperation. Gerhardt later revealed that he was aware of the South African-Israeli nuclear test in the South Atlantic, which he said was code named Operation Phoenix. Gerhardt’s later admission also revealed that the nuclear test was a «clean» blast, an indication that South Africa and Israel had tested a neutron bomb. Israel’s possession of neutron bombs is one of the Jewish state’s most closely-guarded secrets. The Israeli Lobby’s unofficial conspiracy debunking journal, Popular Mechanics, which ruled out any official U.S. or Israeli government involvement in the 9/11 attack, stated that there was no nuclear explosion and that Gerhardt lacked credibility. The Pollard Damage Report and other revelations have substantiated Gerhardt’s claims. Pollard also was dealing with both the South Africans and Soviets. Moreover, it was later determined that Israel later swapped some of Pollard’s classified information with the Soviets in return for an increase in exit visas for Soviet Jews to Israel.
After Gerhardt was sentenced to life imprisonment in South Africa, and Gerhardt’s wife received a ten year sentence, South African President P. W. Botha offered amnesty to some prisoners in 1988, including Nelson Mandela. Ruth Gerhardt applied for the amnesty. The request was turned down by none other than Justice Richard Goldstone, the self-proclaimed Zionist who has run hot and cold on Israeli atrocities in Gaza. Goldstone in 1988 was obviously acting under orders from Israel to keep Ruth Gerhardt under lock and key. In 1985, Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu began passing secrets on Israel’s nuclear weapons program to the media, including the fact that South African uclear scientists were frequent guests at the top secret Israeli nuclear facility at Dimona in the Negev Desert.
In 1986, Vanunu was forcibly kidnapped by Israeli agents in Rome after he was lured into a Mossad «honey trap» and imprisoned in Israel. Efforts by some in U.S. intelligence to trade Vanunu for Pollard were met with stony silence from Israeli officials. In 1988, Israel was trying to get Pollard released from the life prison sentence handed down in 1987 and Goldstone was under pressure to ensure that the Gerhardts remained silent, especially after Vanunu’s embarrassing disclosures about Israeli nuclear weapons and South Africa. Ruth was released in 1990 and her husband was released in 1992. In 1999, Gerhardt received amnesty and his rank of Rear Admiral was restored. Vanunu was eventually released but his «freedom» has largely consisted of virtual house arrest in Israel.
Later, Deputy South African Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad and former CIA Pretoria station officer Tyler Drumheller confirmed that Israel and South Africa jointly tested the South Atlantic nuclear weapon.
The Pollard deception continues to haunt the world today. One of the key players in the Israel-South African nuclear weapons research was Israeli arms smuggler Shaul Eisenberg, the head of the Israel Corporation and a provider of military hardware to China, North Korea, and the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Eisenberg, whose Wikipedia entry has been re-written by Israeli propagandists, controlled Israel Aircraft Industries and Zim Israel Navigation Shipping Company. Eisenberg was able to provide needed nuclear weapons components from Operation Phoenix to China and two of its major allies, North Korea and Pakistan.
It is with this knowledge of Israel’s destructive actions against America that Hagel and his supporters prepare to do battle with the nefarious Israel Lobby during the expected heated Senate confirmation hearings.
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PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Baltimore.On January 16, the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency, will be back in Iran continuing their negotiations to further inspect the nuclear program of Iran. Now joining us to discuss what's at stake in all of this is Bob Kelley. Robert is the nuclear engineer who's carried out IAEA inspections in many countries, including Iraq. He worked for the IAEA in '92 and '93, and again from 2001 to 2009. He worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the U.S. for 25 years. He's currently a senior research fellow at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. And he joins us now from Vienna.Thanks for joining us, Bob.ROBERT KELLEY, FMR. DIRECTOR, INTERNATIONAL ATOMIC ENERGY AGENCY: Good evening.JAY: So, first of all, what is the importance of the meetings on January 16?KELLEY: Well, this is another in a series of meetings that IAEA has been holding on what's called the political military dimensions, possible military dimensions of Iran's program. They've been going on now for well over a year. And each meeting ends in a communique that says, we're just about ready to close a deal. The deals don't seem to get closed.It's mostly about going to a site in Iran near Tehran called Parchin. Parchin is a very large military explosives plant, and the IAEA thinks there's something there that we need to see.JAY: Okay. So this is—as you say, there's been a sort of a pattern before these meetings with sort of expectations raised that everything's going to get sorted out, and then IAEA comes back disappointed they didn't get what they wanted. But there are some specific issues that the IAEA has been raising that they say Iran is not cooperating with or is trying to hide something. So let's go through these issues one by one. And I have to say, I'm not an expert in all of this, so I've asked Robert to help me with the questions I'm asking, 'cause I'm not sure I know all the right questions to ask. So here's question number one:Did Iran demolish the buildings the IAEA wants to visit, which is something they are accusing Iran of? What's your answer to that, Bob?KELLEY: No, they didn't demolish the buildings that the agency wants to see. In fact, the most important building is still standing and has been undergoing some renovation, but it's still there. IAEA is claiming that five buildings there have been destroyed. But the only one I can see of any significance is a garage.JAY: And this is at this Parchin site that they keep talking about.KELLEY: Yes, this is at Parchin. Parchin is a huge site with maybe 1,000 buildings. But there's a small site that the agency is interested in. JAY: And what do they think is going on there that makes them so interested?KELLEY: Someone has told them that there were experiments there involving explosives and nuclear materials. The agency has not been able to make a good case that that's true, but they seem to dogmatically believe it 'cause someone's told them that.JAY: And that someone we think is probably Israel.KELLEY: Well, some external intelligence agency certainly has spoken to IAEA and given them information, which the agency is not sharing with the public, except in bits and pieces. So they believe that if there were explosives there involving both uranium and explosives, then that would probably be a violation of Iran's safeguards agreements, international agreements, and would lead to some kind of sanctions.JAY: So if we look at these photographs, what we're seeing is it looks like there's been construction activity around this what you're saying looks like a garage, and the IAEA is suggesting they're trying to clean up, cover something up. What's your take when you look at these photographs?KELLEY: Well, the large, long white building that you see in the image is much bigger than the garage. The one that was torn down was about the size of a four-car garage. But that big white building supposedly contains a great big steel explosive containment chamber, in which Iran would have been doing experiments. And IAEA has failed to make the case that those experiments actually happened or are necessary. If there were no experiments in that building involving uranium, then IAEA has no business going there, and the Iranians saying, you have no business going there.JAY: And how do they know what's going on inside that building? Or what makes them think that there's such a thing happening there? This is, again, based on this information from this intelligence agency.KELLEY: Well, exactly, yeah. They say, someone told us. If you go back and read the report that IAEA wrote in November 2011, they say, someone told us there's a chamber here and this is what they were doing. The agency has no independent information to state that. So they're just believing someone else. JAY: Your point when looking at the photographs is that maybe they knocked down a garage, but there's no evidence of any other kind of cleanup going on there.KELLEY: There is a huge amount of bulldozing going on. And this is one of the things that IAEA is screaming about that doesn't make any sense. IAEA is saying, well, they took down the security fences; this worries us. Normally when people take down security fences, it's because they're reducing security. So that shouldn't worry IAEA.But then the agency says, well, they are bulldozing nearly 25 hectares—what's that?—over 50 acres of land near this building. What they don't point out is it's far from the building in normal terms. It's as if it's saying, we're worried about something that's happening in the White House, and someone is bulldozing the Mall near the Capitol, and that worries us. There is no connection between the two things. Now, immediately around this building of interest, they have taken out some parking lots and done some bulldozing, but that won't affect the way the IAEA takes samples.JAY: What do the Iranians say is going on in that area around the bulldozing and the garage and that?KELLEY: I don't believe that the Iranians have made any public statement. I haven't seen it. So if they've said anything, I have not seen any such statement. They just in general say, IAEA, you have no business coming to this site, what we're doing here doesn't concern you, so go away. JAY: Bob, we're showing people a photograph which is a larger section of that area. I guess it shows a lot of the 25 hectares. What are we seeing in this photograph?KELLEY: Well, I think a good analogy there would be to say it's like the Washington Mall. You see that red zone is very long and thin. It extends in both directions away from this building more than a half a kilometer. And in that area there have been lots of piles of dirt and old trees and things that are now being flattened out. The area in yellow is the area right next to the building that one might argue, if there was uranium to be found on the ground there, this is the area that one might look. And in that area in yellow, Iran has in fact done some bulldozing. But immediately to the other side of the building, you see in green right next to the building they've done nothing, they've done nothing at all. And it's very clear why this is happening. The area in green is a rocky cliff, and that all along that red area is a rocky cliff. So the area that's flat inside the red boundary is being flattened as a construction site, and the rocky cliff is not, because you don't build buildings on a rocky cliff.JAY: So the IAEA is suggesting that all this bulldozing could prevent them from looking for uranium samples. What do you make of that argument?KELLEY: That's a pretty specious argument. When you look for a uranium environment, particularly when you're looking for traces of a few grams that might have been handled inside that white building, you do it with very powerful sampling techniques that involve very clean wipes. And you look at corners and crevices inside the building and try to take small samples. You don't take samples of dirt. That's not how sampling of this kind is done for tracing things in the environment, because all dirt has uranium in it and it's impossible to find the particles you're looking for if you take dirt samples. So the samples that they need to take are inside the building and inside the equipment. So the bulldozing really doesn't make much difference. I would point out that there was a case where water seemed to have run from the building into a ditch. And if that were part of a cleanup effort and they washed uranium into the ditch, that would be a place where you might look for bulk uranium, 'cause that ditch has been covered up by this bulldozing effort. But that's not how you take environmental samples in general. You take them inside the building.JAY: Now, what if the IAEA does want bulk samples because they think for some reason they're going to get a better sampling and they're saying now the bulk samples won't be as effective?KELLEY: Well, they'd walk out the door of the building and they'd walk about 15 paces to the west, which happens to be down in that image, and the area has been completely undisturbed. So they can do whatever they want there. They can take samples of dirt and they can take samples of vegetation. They can look under rocks to see if there is a place where contamination might be hiding. So if they want to go west of the building, they don't even have to put their shoes on. That's part of the reason.JAY: The IAEA is suggesting that Iran used pink tarps to cover up the site in the summer of 2012 to kind of cover up what they were doing in terms of getting rid of some of the dirt and such. What do you make of that?KELLEY: Well, I find that to be somewhat hilarious. The agency says that they were shrouding the buildings with pink tarps. Normally you don't camouflage things with bright pink tarps. And those tarps jumped out at you on the satellite imagery. Well, they're not tarps at all. That's styrofoam insulation, such that is used throughout the world when you're renovating a building.JAY: But there is something in terms of how the Iranians are acting as well, is there not? The Parchin site, if I understand it correctly, was more or less dormant for quite some time and then all of a sudden got very active. And the IAEA, at least, is saying the Iranians have yet to explain why it got so active.KELLEY: Oh, I couldn't agree with you more. People say to me all the time, look, Bob, if Iran wanted to solve this problem, all they have to do is let the IAEA in, or they could let someone else in. They could let a busload of reporters go to the place, or they could let an American team go through.I actually thought when the Non-Aligned Movement had their meeting in Tehran a few months ago that they were going to let the NAM come in and take pictures and say what's going on. But they don't do that. And I think in that sense they're behaving shamefully, because they've totally messed up a site where it could be either a crime scene or it could be a scene that gives them total vindication that the IAEA is wrong. And all of this activity they've done has just muddied the waters.But you have to go back and look. IAEA visited two other buildings at Parchin and made two other visits to Parchin and never said what they were looking for and never said what they found. And so the Iranians are saying, now, wait a minute, if you're going to make a big deal about coming here and you're going to stake the reputation of your agency that we're doing something, you're going to have to say afterwards what happened. I mean, if the IAEA goes in there and doesn't find anything, I think the director general has staked the reputation of their agency on a very flimsy premise.JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Robert.KELLEY: You're most welcome.JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.
EndDISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.
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An Energy Department plan to allow the recycling of scrap metals emitting very low levels of radiation is drawing opposition because of concerns about potential health hazards. But the upside for U.S. atomic bomb-makers is that waste now requiring costly storage could be sold for a profit.
In something of a stealth maneuver during the 2012 holiday season, the U.S. Department of Energy set about to give every American a little more radiation exposure, and for some a lot, by allowing manufacturers to use radioactive metals in their consumer products – such as zippers, spoons, jewelry, belt buckles, toys, pots, pans, furnishings, bicycles, jungle gyms, medical implants, or any other metal or partly-metal product.
The Energy Dept. announced its plan in the Federal Register on Dec. 12 and invited comment for 30 days, through Jan.11. Citing its need to address environmental concerns under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA), the agency said, in part, that its plan was: “to delegate authority to manage radiological clearance and release of scrap metal from radiological areas to each Under Secretary for sites under his or her cognizance. …
“ This Draft PEA for the Recycling of Scrap Metals Originating from Radiological Areas analyzes the potential environmental impacts associated with resuming the clearance of scrap metal, originating from DOE radiological areas, for recycling pursuant to improved procedures designed to assure that clearance for release is limited to metals meeting stringent criteria.”
Translated from the bureaucratese, this is a proposal to lift a ban on recycling radioactive metals left over from American bomb-making and other nuclear activities and allow them to be used commercially with “stringent” but largely unenforceable criteria for their use. The initial ban was ordered in 2000, by then Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson.
Largely ignored by mainstream media, the plan caught the attention of an alert member of Congress, Rep. Edward Markey, D-Massachusetts, who wrote a three-page letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Jan. 11, beginning:
“I write to convey my grave concerns regarding your December 2012 proposal to rescind the agency-wide suspension of the release of radioactively contaminated scrap metal from Department of Energy (DOE) facilities for purposes of recycling it into consumer products that could ultimately by utilized by pregnant women, children or other vulnerable populations. This proposal is unwise, and should be immediately abandoned.”
Although Rep. Markey was writing on the date of the original deadline, the Energy Department had invited the public to respond to an email address that was non-functional during the first nine days of the response period, Dec. 12-20. On Dec. 28, the department announced in the Federal Register that the comment period was extended to Feb. 11.
On Jan. 16, while taking note of Markey’s letter, the Wall Street Journal covered the story by starting this way: ”The Department of Energy is proposing to allow the sale of tons of scrap metal from government nuclear sites — an attempt to reduce waste that critics say could lead to radiation-tainted belt buckles, surgical implants and other consumer products. …
“The approximately 14,000 tons of metal under review for possible initial release is only a fraction of the tens of millions of tons of metal recycled annually, it said. Smaller amounts could be eligible for release in future years. Selling the metals could bring in $10 million to $40 million a year, the DOE estimates.”
Minimizing Radiation Dangers
As is common in nuclear industry proposals of all sorts, the Energy Department sought to assure readers of its proposal that any radiation exposure resulting from recycling radioactive waste into the commercial mainstream would have minimal impact on any given individual. The article in the Journal included a chart from the department that reinforced its claim that “would at worst expose a person to very low levels of additional radiation.”
This approach ignores the current scientific consensus that there is NO safe level of radiation exposure. Since there is already a measurable level of background radiation worldwide, and since worldwide radiation levels have increased as a result of nuclear weapons testing and nuclear accidents like Chernobyl and Fukushima, the fundamental safety question is whether any additional radiation exposure is safe in any meaningful sense.
This approach also fails to deal with the reality that once the department has released radioactive materials for commercial use, it loses almost all control over how and where they’re used, and in what concentrations. The same material used in a ceiling light fixture will pose less risk than if it is used in a belt buckle of jewelry, worn close to the skin. These uses are less dangerous than material inside a human body, in a joint replacement or heart valve.
The issue is of global concern because other countries are recycling their radioactive waste as well, with uncertain control and safety. As Rep. Markey noted in his letter, “Just a year ago, Bed Bath and Beyond recalled tissue holders made in India that were contaminated with low levels of the radio-isotope cobalt-60 that were shipped to 200 of its stores in twenty states.
“The Nuclear Regulatory Commission, when discussing the discovery of the contaminated products, said that, ‘There’s no real health threat from these, but we advise people to return them.’ “
While that may seem contradictory, it’s mainly because the choice of the word “real” is not very accurate. It’s true that there’s no threat of immediate injury from a low level of radiation, whereas a high enough level will be lethal. It’s also true that there may be no “realistic” threat from a radioactive tissue box, but that’s not the same as “no threat,” since harm from radiation exposure is cumulative.
Rep. Markey’s letter illustrates this concern, as he notes that the Energy Department is proposing to release contaminated metals into the market place, as long as, quoting from the document, it “can be shown that the release will result in less than 1 millirem (mrem) above background to a member of the public in any calendar year.” [One millirem is a tiny amount of radiation.]
Nevertheless, Markey expresses doubt about even this low standard: “I believe this standard, even it were the appropriate standard, will be impossible to assure or enforce.” [Emphasis added]
No One in Charge of Risk
There is no federal agency with responsibility for such oversight or enforcement. This regulatory vacuum was illuminated by the discovery in 2009 of thousands of contaminated consumer products from China, Brazil, France, Sweden and other countries, as reported by Mother Nature Network:
“The risk of radiation poisoning is the furthest thing from our minds as we shop for everyday items like handbags, furniture, buttons, chain link fences and cheese graters. Unfortunately, it turns out that our trust is misplaced thanks to sketchy government oversight of recycled materials.
“The discovery of a radioactive cheese grater led to an investigation that found thousands of additional consumer products to be contaminated. The source is recycled metals tainted with Cobalt-60, a radioactive isotope that can cause cancer with prolonged exposure.”
According to a Scripps Howard News Service investigation in 2009, records of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission “… show 18,740 documented cases involving radioactive materials in consumer products, in metal intended for consumer products or other public exposure to radioactive material.
“The U.S. Government Accountability Office estimates there are some 500,000 unaccounted for radioactively contaminated metal objects in the U.S., and the NRC estimates that figure is around is 20 million pounds of contaminated waste….
“In 2006 in Texas, for example, a recycling facility inadvertently created 500,000 pounds of radioactive steel byproducts after melting metal contaminated with Cesium-137, according to U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission records. In Florida in 2001, another recycler unintentionally did the same, and wound up with 1.4 million pounds of radioactive material.”
Nuclear engineer Arnie Gunderson echoed Markey’s warning in his Jan. 13 podcast, pointing out that the nuclear industry has been trying to do something like this for decades. The reason, he explained, was that radioactive materials are now liabilities for those who own them and are responsible for protecting them and eventually storing them safely. But if they can sell the material, the liability instantly becomes an asset.
NIRS, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, has come out strongly against the Energy Department initiative, noting the long history of the industry to unburden itself of its radioactive waste and any responsibility for it:
“We’ve fought this battle before. In the late 1980s, NRC adopted a policy it called ‘Below Regulatory Concern (BRC),’ that would have allowed about 30% of the nation’s ‘low-level’ radioactive waste to be treated as normal garbage and dumped in landfills, be burned in incinerators, and yes, be recycled into consumer products….
“NIRS and our allies responded with one of our largest organizing campaigns ever…. 15 states passed laws banning BRC within their borders. Hearings were held in the House and in 1992, Congress officially overturned the BRC policy.”
The grassroots action contributed to Secretary Richardson’s ban on selling radioactive metals for commercial use, the ban that the current Energy Department proposal would overturn. The department has offered no new basis for its recycling program beyond streamlining what it proposed before. NIRS counters that:
“Nothing has changed since 2000 that would justify lifting its current ban. Rather, just the opposite: since then the National Academy of Sciences has acknowledged that there is no safe level of radiation exposure, and we’ve learned that women are even more vulnerable to radiation than men (while children have long been known to be more vulnerable than adults).”