NO ADVERTISING, GOVERNMENT OR CORPORATE FUNDING

  • Latest News
  • Pitch a Story
  • Work with a Journalist
  • Join the Blog Squad
  • Afghanistan
  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Baltimore
  • Canada
  • Egypt
  • Europe
  • Latin America
  • Middle East
  • Russia
  • Economy
  • Environment
  • Health Care
  • Military
  • Occupy
  • Organize This
  • Reality Asserts Itself
  • US Politics
  • IAEA Iran Report Spins Intelligence


    Gareth Porter: Dubious intelligence used as pretext for tougher sanctions -   November 13, 2011
    Members don't see ads. If you are a member, and you're seeing this appeal, click here


    Audio

      Share to Twitter
    Share to Facebook




    I support the Real News Network because of their bravery, integrity, informative and educational - David Pear
    Log in and tell us why you support TRNN

    Bio

    Gareth Porter is a historian and investigative journalist on US foreign and military policy analyst. He writes regularly for Inter Press Service on US policy towards Iraq and Iran. Author of five books, the latest of which is Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare.

    Transcript

    IAEA Iran Report Spins IntelligencePAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome to The Real News Network. I'm Paul Jay in Washington. Last week, the IAEA leaked and then released of sorts a new report on a supposed weapons program in Iran. Headlines around the world said now there is proof there is a nuclear weapons program in Iran--the IAEA says so. But what's new about this report? What is the evidence? And what does it actually show? Now joining us to talk about all this is Gareth Porter. Gareth is an investigative journalist, and he's been following this story for many years, and he's a regular contributor to the Real News Network. Thanks very much.

    GARETH PORTER, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Hello again, Paul.

    JAY: Hi. So start with what the media has been saying. What are sort of the big things that are supposed to be new here, and then what do you make of it?

    PORTER: Well, the big headlines all around the world in conjunction with a new report were: a former Soviet weapons specialist, weapons scientist, helped Iran build a nuclear weapon, essentially, to build a device to trigger a nuclear weapon.

    JAY: And this happens after 2003, where, according to the American national intelligence estimate, the weapons had stopped in 2003.

    PORTER: Well, that's a separate point. No. In fact, what the IAEA is claiming--and, you know, there's--it's a half-truth or less than a half-truth--is that this supposed former weapons specialist, who is not a Russian or Soviet but a Ukrainian scientist technician, was in Iraq from 1996 to 2000, roughly, and that while he was there, he was in fact helping the Iranians to assemble, to essentially engineer a system of what they call a multipoint implosion system to trigger a nuclear weapon. So that's really the sensational news that accompanied the [incompr.]

    JAY: So what do we know about this Ukranian, supposed Russian?

    PORTER: Well, what we know, basically, is that he was never a nuclear weapons specialist. He did in fact work for a Soviet research institute in Chelyabinsk--it was called the Chelyabinsk Institute--which was well known for having been specializing in nuclear warheads. But the reality is that he did not work on nuclear weapons. He worked on nanodiamonds. And that is a kind of hard--very, very hard, obviously, industrial diamond, very, very tiny industrial diamonds which had a lot of industrial uses. And it's--you know, has--the only commonality with a nuclear weapon is that it's done through an explosive process. They use explosions to make the nanodiamonds. But we know from published biographical information on this guy--and it's been confirmed now by others--that he went to this institute when he was 25 years old, and the first thing he started on was--this is 1960--was nanodiamonds. He was never involved in anything else but nanodiamonds. And so he created this new field, essentially. He was one of the pioneers in the world in nanodiamonds.

    JAY: So if the IAEA has evidence he's actually somehow other than that, is there anything in the document that proves this point?

    PORTER: Well, the only evidence they have is that some, quote, member state, unnamed, told them that that was so, that he was a former Soviet weapons specialist. And what obviously happened was that that "member state", quote-unquote, learned that he had worked at this Soviet research institute which was known for its nuclear weapons, and that was good enough for them. They pressed ahead and said, you know, now we know that he was a weapons--a nuclear weapons specialist.

    JAY: So the other thing in the headlines has been that the UN is saying that the national--American national intelligence estimate that said that the weapons program ended in 2003, they're now saying that, well, maybe it didn't. So what is that about?

    PORTER: Well, what that is about is that there have been forces pressing the IAEA to move in the direction of that conclusion for years now. And that goes back again to the laptop of death, as it's often called--the IAEA called it the alleged studies documents--which were turned over by unknown parties to the United States government in 2004, and which are still extremely mysterious, and which I've written about a number of times and shown are just--it's implausible that it's anything but a fraud for a variety of reasons. There's all kinds of evidence, indications within the papers themselves.

    JAY: What's an example of that?

    PORTER: Well, an example is that in the papers on supposedly redesign of the warhead of the Shahab-3 missile, which shows, you know, what looks like making room for a nuclear weapon, they basically chose the wrong--those people who made those drawings chose the wrong rocket, the wrong--sorry--the wrong missile. By the time that the designs were being made, the Iranians, we know from research that has been published by the IISS in London, the most authoritative work on the Iranian missile program, and from the fact that they actually tested this missile in 2004, that they'd moved on to a more advanced model of this missile, which had a different shape of warhead from the one that was shown in these drawings. And it's simply not plausible that the Iranians were going to design a new--design a warhead that included a nuclear weapon based on the one that they had abandoned which could not reach Israel--could not reach Israel. The new one that they designed that they had--they'd already begun to test would reach Israel.

    JAY: Right. So then what is in this report that would cause all these headlines to act as if there's new revelations here?

    PORTER: Well, you know, I mean, the real storyline here is that the IAEA has been very artful about presenting very small bits of evidence which are uncertain, which have to do with dual-use technology and the possibility that something exists, and presenting it as evidence that Iran probably has done something. And that's really what happens in this current report, just as it has been for the last five years in their reports. They've done this over and over again.

    JAY: Now, there--a lot of credible sources, including Hans Blix and ElBaradei himself, who used to head up the IAEA--. And before ElBaradei left the IAEA, he left with a fairly critical note about Iran not disclosing as much as he thought they should have, even though ElBaradei, I think, made it pretty clear he thought all this other evidence that's now been revealed again was pretty dubious. But he was critical of the Iranians for not being more transparent. So why aren't they?

    PORTER: Well, I think they're partly not transparent because of the fear of giving away secrets that are important military secrets. Partly, you know, those secrets have to do with location of facilities and giving information to the IAEA about those facilities sooner than they have to. I mean, they wait until the absolute last moment in order to fulfill the requirement, the legal requirement under their initial commitment to the IAEA, not under the additional legal obligations they took on later on, 2003, but they wait until last minute, 180 days before they plan to put in any nuclear material, so that they can keep the United States and Israel guessing.

    JAY: And this is nuclear material--according to the Iranians, is all for an energy program, not a weapons program.

    PORTER: Well, I mean, that's the obvious argument that they make. But I think that it's clear--and they make no secret about this--that they cite the Japan model as something that they want to emulate. And that Japan model is, of course, a non-nuclear weapons state, which nevertheless makes it known to the world that they have the capability on very short notice, within a matter of weeks, or at most a few months, to manufacture a nuclear weapon. And that's what they want to be known as having the capability for.

    JAY: And if people who have been critical of this leaking of IAEA positions and this idea that they already have a weapon or about to have a weapon, that's sort of the general wisdom, is it not, that Iran wants to go up to a point where they could take a step if needed, but they are not going past that line?

    PORTER: I think that's the consensus.

    JAY: And that's more or less what the national intelligence estimate said.

    PORTER: I think that is the consensus. I can tell you that Paul Pillar, who worked on the NIE in 2000 and 2005, was convinced that it was in fact precisely that, it was a nuclear hedging strategy trying to take advantage of the deterrence value of a capability for having nuclear weapons without going to actual manufacture of nuclear weapons.

    JAY: And the timing of this report comes just after this supposed Iranian conspiracy to kill a Saudi diplomat in the United States. There's a lot of, like, things that, when you actually look at them, start to fall apart. But there seems to be the attempt to create a bit of a mood, an atmosphere or something.

    PORTER: Well, it's more than--yeah, it's more than a mood and atmosphere. It's an effort to create the political requirements, if you will, for getting Russia and China to agree to much stronger sanctions against Iran. That was quite explicit in reporting in Tel Aviv this week around the IAEA report. They're saying that the purpose that Israel had in mind in giving information to the IAEA--and basically the Israelis don't hide the fact that the information that they talk about from a member state is coming from Israel. The purpose of it was to get the Russians and the Chinese, to position them so that they could support much stronger sanctions, sanctions against the oil and gas sector and against the National Bank of Iran.

    JAY: And the saber rattling that's going on in Israel now [crosstalk]

    PORTER: Same thing. It's the same thing.

    JAY: --is the same thing [crosstalk]

    PORTER: It's all supposed to be coordinated to create the impression that Israel is feeling very strongly that unless something's done soon, they'll have to strike. And that's conceived in Israel as a way of pushing the Russians and the Chinese to accept stronger sanctions.

    JAY: So in your estimation, how much of this is a psychological, political preparation for a possible actual attack on Iran versus the sanctions?

    PORTER: I think it's really for the most part--and I would say 90 percent--it's to really engineer a new round of sanctions which are much tougher on Iran. I think, you know, the politics of Israel today about attacking Iran do not look good for the Bibi Netanyahu folks and their dream of being able to pull that off. There's a lot of pushback politically within the political system, as well as, crucially, from the intelligence and military leadership of Israel. So I think it's less and less likely as time goes by that they can do that. So I think it's much more likely now that this is really about sanctions.

    JAY: Thanks for joining us.

    PORTER: Thank you.

    JAY: Thank you for joining us on The Real News Network.

    End of Transcript

    DISCLAIMER: Please note that transcripts for The Real News Network are typed from a recording of the program. TRNN cannot guarantee their complete accuracy.


    Comments

    Our automatic spam filter blocks comments with multiple links and multiple users using the same IP address. Please make thoughtful comments with minimal links using only one user name. If you think your comment has been mistakenly removed please email us at contact@therealnews.com

    Comments


    Latest Stories


    Affirmative Action Ruling Will Further Racial Inequality
    Evidence for Russian Involvement in East Ukraine Based on Shoddy Journalism
    Ivy League Study: The General Public Has Virtually No Influence on Policy
    The Modern History of Venezuela and Popular Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (9/9)
    An Asia "Pivot" Should Mean Cooperating with China to Solve the Global Environmental Crisis
    Assessing the U.S. Environmental Movement
    Intimidation and Political Interference Goes Unpunished in UAW Case
    Exclusive Investigation Uncovers How BP Uses Bribes To Do Business
    The Modern History of Venezuela, The Protests and Democracy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (8/9)
    Greek Politics 4 Years After The Financial Crisis
    CBO Report Confirms U.S. Deficit Back to Normal Level
    Israel Uses Refugees as "Currency" in Arms Trade with Africa
    Who Will Pay for Climate Change Disaster?
    Canada Shifts to Right Under Harper, Mimicking the United States
    The Savings and Loan Crisis Demonstrates the Importance of Glass-Steagall
    South African Platinum Miner's Struggle Challenges ANC Leadership
    TRNN Original Report: Manning Determined to Fight Back After Army Upholds 35- Year Sentence
    Hundredth Anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre
    The Bundy Ranch Standoff Demonstrates Values Shared by Corporations and the Far Right
    The Resegregation of American Schools
    The Modern History of Venezuela, Why Still So Much Crime? - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (7/9)
    What Role Has Russia Played in Eastern Ukraine?
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (2/2)
    University Sit-In Targets World's Largest Private Coal Company
    The Modern History of Venezuela and the Need for a Post-Oil Economy - Edgardo Lander on RAI (6/9)
    Can Johns Hopkins Afford to Pay A Living Wage? (1/2)
    One Percent of Environmentalists Killings Lead to Convictions
    Investigation Finds Former Ukraine President Not Responsible For Sniper Attack on Protestors
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Ukraine Transitional Gov't Moves Militarily To Reclaim Seized Buildings
    IPCC Report Flawed By Narrow Focus on Carbon Emissions
    The Modern History of Venezuela: The Bolivarian Revolution - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (5/9)
    Obama Signs Directives to Reduce the Gender Wage Gap
    Eastern Ukraine Lacks Political Representation in Kiev
    Demystifying the Role of Mitigation in the Most Recent IPCC Report
    Hypersurveillance State Won't Prevent Another Boston Marathon Bombing
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1973 to the Caracazo Massacre - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (3/9)
    Univ. of Maine Faculty Reinstated After Students Protest Against Cuts
    The Modern History of Venezuela from 1908 to 1973 - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (2/9)
    IMF Will Address Global Inequality, Says Managing Director Christine Lagarde
    Raising Big Banks' Leverage Ratio Good, But Not Nearly Enough
    TRNN Replay: Austerity Road to 19th Century
    Has Palestinian Maneuvering Revived Peace Talks?
    Late Jackson Mayor Lumumba's Son Wins Primary to Replace His Father, Runoff Election Ahead
    Quebecers Reject PQ and Elect a Liberal Government Representing Big Business
    TRNN Debate: Decriminalization vs. Legalization
    The Beginning of the Chavez Era - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (4/9)
    "Off With His Head": Court Upholds Obama's Power to Kill
    Workers at Nation's Top Hospital Strike For Fair Wages
    From Exile to Radicalization in Venezuela - Edgardo Lander on Reality Asserts Itself (1/9)
    Rwanda 20 Years Later: Genocide, Western Plunder of Congo, and President Kagame
    Ukrainian Protesters in the East Demand More Autonomy From Kiev Government
    Hunger Strikers Demand President Obama Halt His Record 2 Million Deportations
    Indian Parliamentary Elections - A Primer With Vijay Prashad
    West Looks to Carve Up Ukraine & Privatize Industries Held by Kleptocrats
    Where Are Israeli-Palestinian Peace Negotiations Headed?
    The Multiple Kingdoms of Saudi Arabia (5/5)
    Do the Afghan Presidential Elections Signify Progress?
    Republican Presidential Hopefuls Pay Homage to Billionaire Casino Tycoon Sheldon Adelson
    Will Extremist Lieberman Become Israel's Next Prime Minister?
    Why do the Saudis Want the US to Attack Iran? (4/5)
    Immigrant Advocates and Families Tell President Obama 'Not One More'
    Elections, Pipelines, and Protests - The Canada Panel
    Chris Hedges on "Israel's War on American Universities"
    Baltimore Residents Decry Lack of Affordable Housing
    Yellen Talks the Talk But Will She Walk the Walk?
    Hopkins Hospital Workers Speak Out against "Poverty Wages"
    Will Venezuela's New Floating Exchange Rate Curb Inflation?
    The European Central Bank's War on Wages is Pushing Europe's Economy to the Brink
    Supreme Court Decision Opens Floodgates for More Campaign Cash
    Charles Keating, the Financier Behind the Savings and Loan Scandal, Dies at 90
    Saudi Arabia and the al-Qaeda Monster (3/5)
    Maryland Residents Voice Opposition to Natural Gas Fracking Export Facility
    Supreme Court Ruling Gives Wealthy Individuals More Influence Over Elections
    What are the Saudis Afraid Of? - Madawi Al-Rasheed (2/5)
    Baltimore's MICA Adjunct Professors Set to Vote on Unionization
    Boycott of Israel Moving to Next Level?
    Hypocrisy Dressed Up as "Realism" Justifies American Alliance with Saudi Dictatorship
    Immigration Reform in the Shadows of Cesar Chavez's Legacy
    Leaked Senate Report Shows Use of Torture As "Ineffective"
    UN Report Says Climate Change Will Threaten Food Production Worldwide
    The Hypocrisy of US Calling for Enforcement of International Law
    How the Ecuadorian Economy Grew in a Global Recession
    'Shadows of Liberty' Trailer
    Kristina Borjesson on Why CBS Shut Down Her investigation into Flight 800 (2/8)
    Glen Ford on Racism in the American Media (3/8)
    Paul Jay on What Drives Corporate Media and What Drive The Real News (4/8)
    Creating a New Media Paradigm After Citizens United (5/8)
    Should The Left Engage with the Mainstream Media? (6/8)
    What Is the Financial Backing For The Real News? (7/8)
    Standing up to Character Assassination (8/8)
    Oligarchs, Fascists and the People's Protest in Ukraine
    TRNN Debate: Is Obamacare In the Interest of Workers?
    Too-Big-To-Fail Advantage Remains Intact For Big Banks
    Obama and the Saudi Agenda
    TRNN Replay: Investigating the Saudi Government's 9/11 Connection and the Path to Disilliusionment - Sen. Graham on Reality Asserts Itself pt 1
    The Iraq War's Real Legacy
    Petitions with 100,000+ Signatures Call for Snowden's Passport to be Reinstated
    We Need to Harness People Power - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (4/4)
    BC Pipeline Fight and Quebec Elections - The Canada Panel
    Jonathan Schell - 1943-2014: Board Member of TRNN on Why We Need The Real News
    Teachers on Strike from the UK to Argentina
    Connecticut Poised to Become First State with $10.10 Minimum Wage
    Oil Spill Threatens Wildlife and Local Economy
    DC School Test Scores Up, But Poor Black Kids Are Doing Worse - Andy Shallal on RAI (3/4)
    Obama's Proposal To End NSA Bulk Data Collection Won't Protect Privacy
    How Google, Apple & The Biggest Tech Companies Colluded to Fix Workers' Wages
    An American Should be One that Questions Their Government - Andy Shallal on RAI (2/4)
    What's Driving Putin & Obama's Posturing on Ukraine?
    Hundreds of Students & Faculty Occupy College Campus to Fight Cuts to Public Higher Ed
    Due Process 'Impossible' In Harsh Death Sentencing Of Over 500 Muslim Brotherhood Members
    Has Anglo-American Capitalism Run Out of Steam?
    Being the "Other" in America - Andy Shallal on Reality Asserts Itself (1/4)
    TRNN Debate: Should Baltimore 'Ban The Box'?
    How Fallujah Became the Iraqi Government's New Battleground
    Why I Decided to Blow the Whistle on the NSA
    NASA Climate Predictions Show Serious Threat To Humanity
    Professor Who Teaches Israel-Palestine Conflict Accuses College of Violating His Academic Freedom
    CIA and NSA Wrongdoing Requires Independent Investigation, Says Former Church Committee Staff
    Are Tuition Breaks Enough To Combat High Student Debt And Low Graduation Rates?
    Industries Across the U.S. Are Stealing Wages From Their Lowest Paid Workers
    Who In Ukraine Will Benefit From An IMF Bailout?
    NSA Recording All International Calls From U.S.
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (2/2)
    BP Gets Green Light to Drill in Gulf, But Has Safety Improved?
    Residents Still Not Drinking Tap Water Two Months After West Virginia Spill (1/2)
    Libya's Descent Into Turmoil Three Years After NATO Intervention
    From Pipelines to Peladeau - Canadian Report
    Israel "Making Lives Miserable" for Africans, Hoping They 'Self-Deport' (1/2)
    Congressional Progressive Caucus Budget Strikes Back Against Austerity
    Libya Three Years Later - Chaos and Partition
    Why Was Gaddafi Overthrown?
    Should Ukraine and West Accept De Facto Crimea Joining Russia? (2/2)
    Tony Benn Saw Socialism as the Culmination of Democratization
    Why Didn't Bush/Cheney Attack Iran and Can Obama Make and Sell a Deal? - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (3/3)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi? (2/2)
    Crimea Referendum: Self Determination or Big Power Manipulation? (1/2)
    Sen. Graham: President Must Side with Openness About CIA and 9/11
    Manufacturing a Narrative for War - Gareth Porter on Reality Asserts Itself (2/3)
    Protesters Hit the Streets of Brooklyn to Demand $15 Minimum Wage
    Hammer: 'Moral Bankruptcy' Behind Massive GM Recall
    White House Withholds Thousands of Documents from Senate CIA Probe
    I Grew Up Believing in Time Magazine's Version of America - Gareth Porter on RAI (1/3)
    Western European Banks Vulnerable to Ukrainian Sovereign Debt Crisis
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (2/2)
    CIA vs. Senate: Who Is Obama Protecting?
    Will Tipped Workers Get Excluded Again From Minimum Wage Hike?
    TRNN Debate: What's Driving Inflation in Venezuela? (1/2)
    After Late Mayor Lumumba is Laid to Rest, What's Next for Jackson, Mississippi?(1/2)
    TRNN Replay: A Look at Who's Poised to Become No.2 at the Fed
    How Right-Wing Nationalism Rose to Influence in Ukraine (2/2)
    Netanyahu Attacks Boycott As Campaign Enters New Phase
    Moving Towards a Police State - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (7/7)
    Fighting Reagan's Secret, Illegal Wars - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (6/7)
    Puerto Rican Independence Movement and Cuba Further Radicalized Me - Michael Ratner on RAI (5/7)
    The Butcher of Attica - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (4/7)
    MLK and a Radicalizing Moment in American History - Michael Ratner on Reality Asserts Itself (3/7)

    RealNewsNetwork.com, Real News Network, Real News, Real News For Real People, IWT are trademarks and service marks of IWT.TV inc. "The Real News" is the flagship show of IWT and Real News Network.

    All original content on this site is copyright of The Real News Network.  Click here for more

    Problems with this site? Please let us know

    Linux VPS Hosting by Star Dot Hosting