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World/Spy-US told Iran:Become a nuclear power

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  • Neo Mulder
    US subprime+prime mortgage losses R about $3.6tril, or 25%of GDP,The Unleveling of Play:Internet Surveillance & Govt-al Intrusion, U.S. Tells Iran: Become a
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      US subprime+prime mortgage losses R about $3.6tril, or 25%of GDP,The Unleveling of Play:Internet Surveillance & Govt-al Intrusion,


      U.S. Tells Iran: Become a nuclear power

      Reese Erlich | November 28, 2007
      Editor: Erik Leaver
      Foreign Policy In Focus
      Editors note: The following is an excerpt from The Iran Agenda: The Real Story of U.S. Policy and The Middle East Crisis (PoliPointPress, 2007).
      Top Democratic and Republican leaders absolutely believe that Iran is planning to develop nuclear weapons. And one of their seemingly strongest arguments involves a process of deduction. Since Iran has so much oil, they argue, why develop nuclear power?
      In an op-ed commentary former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger wrote that "for a major oil producer such as Iran, nuclear energy is a wasteful use of resources," a position later cited approvingly by the Bush administration.
      But U.S. leaders are engaging in a massive case of collective amnesia, or perhaps more accurately, intentional misdirection. In the 1970s the United States encouraged Iran to develop nuclear power precisely because Iran will eventually run out of oil.
      The Iran Agenda
      A declassified document from President Gerald Ford's administration, for which Kissinger was Secretary of State, supported Iran's push for nuclear power. The document noted that Tehran should "prepare against the time--
      about 15 years in the future--when Iranian oil production is expected to decline sharply."1 The United States ultimately planned to sell billions of dollars worth of nuclear reactors, spare parts and nuclear fuel to Iran.
      The Shah even periodically hinted that he wanted Iran to build nuclear weapons. In June 1974, the Shah proclaimed that Iran would have nuclear weapons "without a doubt and sooner than one would think."2 Iranian embassy officials in France later denied the Shah made those remarks, and the Shah disowned them. But a few months later the Shah noted that Iran "has no intention of acquiring nuclear weapons but if small states began building them, then Iran might have to reconsider its policy."3
      If an Iranian leader made such statements today, the United States and Israel would denounce them as proof of nefarious intent. They might well threaten military action if Iran didn't immediately halt its nuclear buildup. At the time, however, the comments caused no ripples in Washington or Tel Aviv because the Shah was a staunch ally of both.

      Nukes and Party-Mad Dictators

      In the 1970s, successive U.S. administrations were tickled pink with the Shah's regime. As far as the United States was concerned, the Shah had a stable government that was modernizing an economically and religiously backward society. True, he ran a brutal dictatorship unconstrained by elections or an independent judiciary. The National Security and Intelligence Organization (SAVAK),
       his secret police, was infamous for torturing and murdering political dissidents. But the Shah made sure that Iran provided a steady supply of petroleum to U.S. and other western oil companies. He had his own regional ambitions and also acted as a gendarme for the United States.
      But beginning in the late 1960s, the Shah began to worry about Iran's long-term electric energy supplies. Iran had less than 500,000 electricity consumers in 1963, but those numbers swelled to over 2 million in 1976.4 The Shah worried that Iran's oil deposits would eventually run out, and that burning petroleum for electricity would waste an important resource. He could earn far more exporting oil than using it for power generation.
      Successive Republican and Democratic administrations in the United States backed the Shah's elaborate plans to make nuclear power an integral part of Iran's electrical grid, in no small part because he would buy a lot of his nuclear equipment from the USA.
      The United States established Iran's first research reactor in 1967 at Tehran University. In November of that year, the U.S. corporation United Nuclear provided Iran with 5.85kg of 93 percent enriched uranium.5
      General Electric and Westinghouse ultimately won contracts to build eight reactors in Iran. By the time of the Iranian revolution in 1979, the Shah had plans to buy a total of eighteen nuclear power reactors from the United States, France, and Germany.6
      Evidence has emerged since the 1979 Iranian revolution that the Shah did more than make embarrassing public references to building nuclear weapons. Documents show that Israel and Iran had discussed modification of Israel's Jericho missiles, which could have been fitted with a nuclear warhead.7 A research report from The Nuclear Threat Initiative, an organization founded by conservative Democrat and former Senator Sam Nunn, explained that the Shah was suspected of experimenting with nuclear weapons design, plutonium extraction and laser-enrichment research.8
      Nuclear expert Sahimi argued that presidents Nixon and Ford "would not have minded if the Shah developed the bomb because the Shah was a close ally of the United States. Remember Iran had a long border with the Soviet Union. If the Shah did make a nuclear bomb, that would have been a big deterrent against the USSR."9
      Since the United States wasn't terribly concerned about an Iranian Bomb in the 1970s, it also wasn't worried about Iran enriching its own uranium. The United States gave approval when Shah bought a 25 percent stake in a French company making enriched uranium. But the Shah wanted to build enrichment facilities inside Iran as well. No country wants to be reliant on others for fuel that could shut down a portion of its electricity grid. The United States actually encouraged Iran to enrich its own uranium.10
      Today when Iran demands that it be able to enrich uranium for nuclear power purposes, under strict international supervision, the United States says that's proof Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons.

      Is Nuclear Power Islamic?

      Shortly after coming to power, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini scrapped the Shah's nuclear power programs as un-Islamic. In fact, he called nuclear power "the work of the devil."11
      Not coincidentally, the United States and Europeans had completely halted their devil's work in Iran. Germany had stopped construction on the Bushehr nuclear reactor. The United States, Germans and French cut off supplies of equipment and nuclear material.
      All three governments refused to refund any money already paid, despite cancellation of the nuclear contracts. So while Koranic scholars might disagree on whether nuclear power was consistent with Islam, as a practical matter, Iran wasn't getting any.
      Starting in 1980, Iran fought a bloody war with Iraq. Each side feared the other might develop nuclear weapons. Iraq repeatedly bombed Iran's unfinished nuclear facilities, further setting back any possibility of completing them.
      By the end of the war in 1988 Iran was in the midst of a population explosion. Iran's population grew from 39.2 million in 1980 to 68.7 million in 2006. Iran's energy planners could see that demand would far outstrip supply. Continuing to extract oil and natural gas at the projected levels wouldn't be enough to guarantee a steady supply of electricity.12 An analysis by a National Academy of Sciences scientist predicted Iran could run out of oil to export by 2015.13
      So nuclear power was back on the table. In 1989 Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani signed a ten-point agreement with the USSR to provide nuclear materials and related equipment. The Soviets were to finish the Bushehr reactor started by the Germans in the 1970s. In 1990 Iran signed a ten-year nuclear cooperation agreement with China.
      Although it was kept secret at the time, Iran also bought parts and technology from A.Q. Khan, Pakistan's so-called father of the atomic bomb, who also had nuclear dealings with Libya and North Korea. Iran built a secret nuclear facility in the central Iranian city of Natanz. Later, after three years of inspections, the IAEA also determined that Iran had used lasers to purify uranium starting in 1991 and had researched a rare element called polonium 210, which could be used in a nuclear bomb trigger.14
      The Iranians argued they engaged in the secret activity to prevent the United States from stopping their plans for nuclear power development, and had no intention of developing nuclear weapons.
      In 2003 Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a fatwa, an official religious ruling, that declared Islam forbids the building or stockpiling of nuclear weapons.15 Before dismissing such a ruling as propaganda, it's worth noting that similar religious reasoning stopped Iran from using chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq war, despite Saddam Hussein's numerous chemical assaults against Iranian troops and civilians.

      Iran Is Just 5-10 Years from Making a Bomb, Really

      Every few years U.S. intelligence officials estimate Iran is just years from making a bomb. In 1995, a "senior U.S. official" estimated Iran was five years from making The Bomb.16 A 2005 National Security Estimate, representing a consensus among U.S. intelligence agencies, predicted Iran could have The Bomb somewhere around 2015.17
      In early 2006 Israeli intelligence, on the other hand, argued that Iran is much closer to having a bomb, perhaps one to three years away. In citing such estimates, the U.S. media don't provide any corroboration, nor explain why the Israeli assessment differs so widely from the CIA and IAEA. Indeed, Israel keeps postponing its estimates of when Iran will have the bomb. At the end of 2006 Meir Dagan, head of the Mossad intelligence agency, claimed Iran could have a bomb by 2009 or 2010.18
      Israel's estimates are clearly influenced by its political and military goals. Using Ahmadinejad's statements attacking Israel and questioning the existence of the Holocaust, Israel proclaims Iran an immediate military threat. In reality, Ahmadinejad poses no offensive nuclear threat to Israel.19 Iran would be insane to launch a first strike against the militarily far superior Israel, let alone a nuclear strike with an arsenal of one or two bombs. Such an action would give the United States and Israel a political excuse to wreck havoc on Iran and gain lots of international support.
      But Israel does have a vested interest in creating anxiety around a possible Iranian Bomb. While Iran has no ability to wipe Israel off the map, it does support the Palestinian group Hamas and the Lebanese political party and guerrilla group Hezbollah. Iran gives them political, financial and military backing. Israel doesn't want to suffer another defeat like its 2006 war against Hizbollah. So rather than give up occupied territory and agree to establishing a Palestinian state, Israeli leaders blame outsiders. Israel seeks to weaken or, preferably, overthrow Iran's government.
      Israeli officials, along with U.S. hawks, argue that Iran will soon reach "a point of no return," in which they have both the theoretical knowledge and practical ability to create weapon's grade plutonium. After that point, the hawks argue, Iran must be confronted militarily. The advantage of this argument, of course, is that it's all hypothetical. The Iranians cross this point of no return at whatever time the hawks allege. Who can prove otherwise?
      In the spring of 2006 Bush seemed to echo those sentiments, justifying a military attack by setting an impossibly high bar for Iran to meet. "The world is united and concerned about their [Iranians] desire to have not only a nuclear weapon, but the capacity to make a nuclear weapon or the knowledge as to how to make a nuclear
      weapon...," (emphasis added)Bush said in an April 2006 press conference.20 No one can possibly prove what knowledge scientists might have in their brains. But according to Bush's logic, Iran is a dangerous enemy so long as its scientists might, at some time in the future, think about building a bomb.
      On July 31, 2006, the United States rounded up European powers, and got China and Russia to acquiesce, to pass UN Security Council Resolution 1696. The resolution demanded that Iran stop "all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities."21
      (Reprocessing involves removing highly radioactive plutonium from nuclear waste products, a procedure that can lead to production of bomb-grade fuel.)
      A month later, in a report not released to the public, IAEA Director ElBaradei indicated that Iran was not reprocessing uranium.
      ElBaradei criticized Iran, however, for continued attempts at uranium enrichment. "Iran has not addressed the long outstanding verification issues or provided the necessary transparency to remove uncertainties associated with some of its activities...," wrote ElBaradei.22
      An IAEA official told the New York Times that "the qualitative and quantitative development of Iran's enrichment program continues to be fairly limited."23
      The IAEA report was hardly a smoking gun. But the Bush Administration huffed and puffed that Iran's failure to uphold the Security Council resolution meant the world should impose more sanctions. On March 24, 2007, the UN Security Council voted to impose another round of sanctions, prohibiting the sale of Iranian weapons to other countries and freezing the overseas assets of more Iranian individuals and organizations.
      The United States failed to get any backing for military attacks on Iran to enforce the sanctions. The March resolution even restated the UN position that the Middle East region should be nuclear free, a criticism of Israel's large nuclear arsenal.
      U.S. officials told the New York Times that the new sanctions went beyond the nuclear issue. "The new language was written to rein in what they [U.S. officials] see as Tehran's ambitions to become the dominant military power in the Persian Gulf and across the Middle East."24
      Apparently, no one can hold that job except the United States.

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      Bypass Internet censorship

      Read news article and get report here

      Guide to bypassing Internet censorship

      The Unleveling of Play: Internet Surveillance & Governmental Intrusion

      by Mary Anne Simpson
      It is estimated that around 25 countries place restrictions on content for citizens utilizing the Internet. Citizens Lab has published a guide for world-wide users to by-pass censors. Additionally, the Lab introduces Psiphon a software program that allows approved members to access the Psiphon network of servers.
      Citizens Lab of the University of Toronto has published a 31 page primer for all Internet users concerned about world wide web neutrality and equal access for all. A glaring example of the best laid plans going awry is illustrated by the recent case of Wang Xianong and Shi Tao now serving a 10 year prison term in China. Particularly offensive is that an American icon, Yahoo handed over the page views to the Chinese thought police that sealed their fate. The Citizens Lab guide book, found here might have saved the gestapo like events from occurring.

      This is one notorious example, but weekly new incidences of censorship, blocking and surveillance of Internet users surface. This is not about surveillance and extracting information about illegal activity. This is solely aimed at filtering news, research and communications of citizens of various states and countries.

      The leading search engines based in the United States freely admit that a condition precedent to doing business on a world-wide basis involves "respecting" the restrictions placed on access to information by certain countries. The USA companies rationalize that some restricted access to their information data base is better than no access at all.

      The Citizens Lab and other prestigious university based Internet Communication and Technology Schools view access not as a political or social instrument. Equal access and net neutrality is a fundamental right to all citizens of the world.

      Charting out the lengths and breadth of Internet Neutrality Waters is more difficult than marking off neutral waters on a maritime map governed by the Law of the Sea. The navigable sea has been with mankind centuries instead of the infantile decades of the Internet. Still, after all these centuries there are disagreements on the boundaries of countries to the sea. Is it any wonder, disagreements occur in this unchartered air wave and satellite signal path.

      Citizens Lab Director, Ronald Deibert recently released the soft ware program Psiphon that will enable aid groups and others to tear down the wall of Internet censorship imposed by certain countries. The Psiphon program has been named by Esquire Magazine as one of the "Six Ideas That Will Change the World." In practice, Psiphon allows advocates, groups and individuals to apply for passwords and Web links. After the user signs in utilizing the passwords and links an automatic patch connects the user to the Psiphon network of servers. The effect is nearly complete anonymity for the user. To the outside world all that can be seen is an unfamiliar IP address that could be anything from an Amazon purchase to WebMD.

      According to Ronald Deibert, the possibility of a censor signing up for the Psiphon service in order to discover the IP address is a concern Citizen Lab has taken into account. In the event an address is blocked, Psiphon sets up another address in a different region. According to the Esquire Magazine story, the process can go on indefinitely until the censor get exhausted or the firewall comes down.

      According to estimates, there are about 25 countries that limit, restrict or ban certain web sites from users. The obvious countries like China, Korea, Iran, Saudi Arabia and recently Burma have significant restrictions on content. However, countries where there are few restrictions often may block content that is mistakenly tagged pornography. In the US, the Children´s Internet Protection Act may inadvertently block non-pornographic web sites when viewed at public library computers.

      The handbook by Citizen Lab, mentioned above entitled, Everyone´s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide does not purport to be 100 percent risk free in practice. In fact, the authors caution that in some countries utilizing the tips contained in the guide may put both the user and provider at risk.

      In some countries the utilization of the circumvention techniques may on their face be considered illegal. The key is to know the limitations and local regulations of your situs.

      On the Net: Psiphon -- http://psiphon.civisec.org/
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