Forging the way to war?
"SECRET DOCUMENT EXPOSES IRAN'S NUCLEAR TRIGGER" said the Times headline on December 14, stepping up the temperature under the pot of intrigues and allegations against the Iranian regime, threatening to boil over into all-out war.
For Iran's President Ahmadinejad, facing renewed trouble and bitter demonstrations at home, it is a gamble whether to rely on the international tension and foreign war threat to reinforce his hand against the opposition.
For the Israeli government. focussing attention on the supposed Iranian nuclear threat is a way of diverting it from what "poor little Israel" - the Middle East's only nuclear power - is doing to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank.
They just hope that nobody remembers which country started the nuclear arms race in the region, refused to sign the non-proliferation treaty, and kidnapped and locked up one of citizens who acted as whistleblower and told the truth.
Or like this man, Mordechai Vanunu, people might demand a nuclear weapons-free Middle East.
The British and US governments meanwhile keep hypocritically denouncing Iran as a source of "terror" even though they have relied on the Islamic regime's co-operation in their wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. When things are going badly someone must take the blame.
Since the nuclear document story appeared in the Times, right-wing commentators have been demanding impatiently why we're waiting for war, even though the story came as the public was being reminded about the lies Tony Blair used to get us to war in Iraq. Today, Tory William Hague (the man told off by Zionist Lord Kalms for using the word "disproportionate" about Israel's onslaught on Gaza) has an article in the Telegraph saying sanctions and diplomacy can foil the Iranian "bomb plot".
But how real is the evidence for this Iranian plot?
"Nothing in the published 'intelligence documents' shows Iran is close to having nuclear weapons", commented Sussex University professor emeritus of physics Norman Dombey, on December 22..
How real were the Times documents anyway? Today, reporting from Washington for the usually well-informed IPS news service, Gareth Porter says:
" U.S. intelligence has concluded that the document published recently by the Times of London, which purportedly describes an Iranian plan to do experiments on what the newspaper described as a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, is a fabrication, according to a former Central Intelligence Agency official.
Philip Giraldi, who was a CIA counterterrorism official from 1976 to 1992, told IPS that intelligence sources say that the United States had nothing to do with forging the document, and that Israel is the primary suspect. The sources do not rule out a British role in the fabrication, however.
The Times of London story published Dec. 14 did not identify the source of the document. But it quoted "an Asian intelligence source" - a term some news media have used for Israeli intelligence officials - as confirming that his government believes Iran was working on a neutron initiator as recently as 2007.
The story of the purported Iranian document prompted a new round of expressions of U.S. and European support for tougher sanctions against Iran and reminders of Israel's threats to attack Iranian nuclear programme targets if diplomacy fails.
U.S. news media reporting has left the impression that U.S. intelligence analysts have not made up their mind about the document's authenticity, although it has been widely reported that they have now had a full year to assess the issue.
Giraldi's intelligence sources did not reveal all the reasons that led analysts to conclude that the purported Iran document had been fabricated by a foreign intelligence agency. But their suspicions of fraud were prompted in part by the source of the story, according to Giraldi.
"The Rupert Murdoch chain has been used extensively to publish false intelligence from the Israelis and occasionally from the British government," Giraldi said.
The Times is part of a Murdoch publishing empire that includes the Sunday Times, Fox News and the New York Post. All Murdoch-owned news media report on Iran with an aggressively pro-Israeli slant.
The document itself also had a number of red flags suggesting possible or likely fraud.
The subject of the two-page document which the Times published in English translation would be highly classified under any state's security system. Yet there is no confidentiality marking on the document, as can be seen from the photograph of the Farsi-language original published by the Times.
The absence of security markings has been cited by the Iranian ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, as evidence that the "alleged studies" documents, which were supposedly purloined from an alleged Iranian nuclear weapons-related programme early in this decade, are forgeries.
The document also lacks any information identifying either the issuing office or the intended recipients. The document refers cryptically to "the Centre", "the Institute", "the Committee", and the "neutron group".
The document's extreme vagueness about the institutions does not appear to match the concreteness of the plans, which call for hiring eight individuals for different tasks for very specific numbers of hours for a four-year time frame.
Including security markings and such identifying information in a document increases the likelihood of errors that would give the fraud away.
The absence of any date on the document also conflicts with the specificity of much of the information. The Times reported that unidentified "foreign intelligence agencies" had dated the document to early 2007, but gave no reason for that judgment.
An obvious motive for suggesting the early 2007 date is that it would discredit the U.S. intelligence community's November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran had discontinued unidentified work on nuclear weapons and had not resumed it as of the time of the estimate.
Discrediting the NIE has been a major objective of the Israeli government for the past two years, and the British and French governments have supported the Israeli effort."
Besides giving further details which cast doubt on the "neutron initiator" story and its possible sources, Porter reminds us that we have been here before:
"In 2005, Giraldi identified Michael Ledeen, the extreme right-wing former consultant to the National Security Council and the Pentagon, as an author of the fabricated letter purporting to show Iraqi interest in purchasing uranium from Niger. That letter was used by the George W. Bush administration to bolster its false case that Saddam Hussein had an active nuclear weapons programme.
Giraldi also identified officials in the "Office of Special Plans" who worked under Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith as having forged a letter purportedly written by Hussein's intelligence director, Tahir Jalail Habbush al-Tikriti, to Hussein himself referring to an Iraqi intelligence operation to arrange for an unidentified shipment from Niger."
(see article in full at
and what happens to a real whistleblower
Ironically, it was the Sunday Times - then under different management - which published Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu's account of Israeli nuclear weapons developed at the Dimona plant, more than twenty years ago. Mossad then arranged for Vanunu to be kidnapped from London, and the agent of conscience served 18 years in jail, 11 of these spent in solitary confinement.
Vanunu is still not allowed to leave the country, and yesterday he was arrested for an alleged "parole violation", - speaking to a foreigner - after he arranged to meet a Norwegian woman friend in an east Jerusalem hotel. His lawyers say the original ban, imposed after he was detained two years ago, referred to meetings with journalists.
This latest arrest comes little more than a week after a former head of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission said Vanunu could not have any secrets to disclose now that might endanger security.
"I've always believed he should be let go," said Uzi Eilam, a retired brigadier-general who ran the nuclear project between 1976 and 1986 - the year Vanunu was captured. "I don't think he has significant things to reveal now".
Vanunu has said he would like to leave Israel. He disagrees with its treatment of the Palestinians. He has also called for an end to Israel's nuclear programme as part of a nuclear-free Middle East, seeing this dangerous region as a necessary priority in aims for world-wide nuclear disarmament and world peace. Unfortunately his courage has not been matched in the slightest by world statesmen who remain hypocritically silent on Israeli weapons - said to number 150 ready for use - while admonishing Iran on weapons it has not yet got.
So Vanunu is persecuted because he is a political threat - and from the sheer vindictiveness of the Zionist state.