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Tag Archives: WMD

Syria, ‘Experts’ and George Monbiot

Investigative journalist Gareth Porter has published two exclusives whose import is far greater than may be immediately apparent. They concern Israel’s bombing in 2007 of a supposed nuclear plant secretly built, according to a self-serving US and Israeli narrative, by Syrian leader Bashar Assad.

Although the attack on the “nuclear reactor” occurred a decade ago, there are pressing lessons to be learnt for those analysing current events in Syria.

Porter’s research indicates very strongly that the building that was bombed could not have been a nuclear reactor – and that was clear to experts at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) even as the story was being promoted uncritically across the western media.

But – and this is the critical information Porter conveys – the IAEA failed to disclose the fact that it was certain the building was not a nuclear plant, allowing the fabricated narrative to be spread unchallenged. It abandoned science to bow instead to political expediency.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/11/22/syria-experts-and-george-monbiot/

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Posted by on November 24, 2017 in Middle East

 

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The Trump Doctrine

Maybe you thought America’s nuclear arsenal, with its thousands of city-busting, potentially civilization-destroying thermonuclear warheads, was plenty big enough to deter any imaginable adversary from attacking the U.S. with nukes of their own. Well, it turns out you were wrong.

The Pentagon has been fretting that the arsenal is insufficiently intimidating. After all — so the argument goes — it’s filled with old (possibly unreliable) weapons of such catastrophically destructive power that maybe, just maybe, even President Trump might be reluctant to use them if an enemy employed smaller, less catastrophic nukes on some future battlefield. Accordingly, U.S. war planners and weapons manufacturers have set out to make that arsenal more “usable” in order to give the president additional nuclear “options” on any future battlefield. (If you’re not already feeling a little tingle of anxiety at this point, you should be.) While it’s claimed that this will make such assaults less likely, it’s all too easy to imagine how such new armaments and launch plans could actually increase the risk of an early resort to nuclear weaponry in a moment of conflict, followed by calamitous escalation.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176353/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_normalizing_nukes/

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in North America

 

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A lesson from Syria: it’s crucial not to fuel far-right conspiracy theories

What do we believe? This is the crucial democratic question. Without informed choice, democracy is meaningless. This is why dictators and billionaires invest so heavily in fake news. Our only defence is constant vigilance, rigour and scepticism. But when some of the world’s most famous crusaders against propaganda appear to give credence to conspiracy theories, you wonder where to turn.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/nov/15/lesson-from-syria-chemical-weapons-conspiracy-theories-alt-right

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2017 in Middle East

 

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A World War has Begun: Break the Silence

I have been filming in the Marshall Islands, which lie north of Australia, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. Whenever I tell people where I have been, they ask, “Where is that?” If I offer a clue by referring to “Bikini”, they say, “You mean the swimsuit.”

Few seem aware that the bikini swimsuit was named to celebrate the nuclear explosions that destroyed Bikini island. Sixty-six nuclear devices were exploded by the United States in the Marshall Islands between 1946 and 1958 — the equivalent of 1.6 Hiroshima bombs every day for twelve years.

Bikini is silent today, mutated and contaminated.  Palm trees grow in a strange grid formation. Nothing moves. There are no birds. The headstones in the old cemetery are alive with radiation. My shoes registered “unsafe” on a Geiger counter.

Standing on the beach, I watched the emerald green of the Pacific fall away into a vast black hole. This was the crater left by the hydrogen bomb they called “Bravo”. The explosion poisoned people and their environment for hundreds of miles, perhaps forever.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/03/23/a-world-war-has-begun-break-the-silence/

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2016 in North America, Reportages

 

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The Doomsday Scam

The hunt for the ultimate weapon began in January 2014, when Abu Omar, a smuggler who fills shopping lists for the Islamic State, met a jihadist commander in Tal Abyad, a Syrian town near the Turkish border. The Islamic State had raised its black flag over Tal Abyad several days before, and the commander, a former cigarette vendor known as Timsah, Arabic for ‘‘crocodile,’’ was the area’s new security chief. The Crocodile had an order to place, which he said he had received from his bosses in Mosul, a city in northwestern Iraq that the Islamic State would later overrun.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/22/magazine/the-doomsday-scam.html?_r=0

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in Reportages

 

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Rogue States and Nuclear Dangers

Throughout the world there is great relief and optimism about the nuclear deal reached in Vienna between Iran and the P5+1 nations, the five veto-holding members of the U.N. Security Council and Germany. Most of the world apparently shares the assessment of the U.S. Arms Control Association that “the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action establishes a strong and effective formula for blocking all of the pathways by which Iran could acquire material for nuclear weapons for more than a generation and a verification system to promptly detect and deter possible efforts by Iran to covertly pursue nuclear weapons that will last indefinitely.”

There are, however, striking exceptions to the general enthusiasm: the United States and its closest regional allies, Israel and Saudi Arabia. One consequence of this is that U.S. corporations, much to their chagrin, are prevented from flocking to Tehran along with their European counterparts. Prominent sectors of U.S. power and opinion share the stand of the two regional allies and so are in a state of virtual hysteria over “the Iranian threat.” Sober commentary in the United States, pretty much across the spectrum, declares that country to be “the gravest threat to world peace.” Even supporters of the agreement here are wary, given the exceptional gravity of that threat. After all, how can we trust the Iranians with their terrible record of aggression, violence, disruption, and deceit?

via Tomgram: Noam Chomsky, Rogue States and Nuclear Dangers | TomDispatch.

 
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Posted by on August 21, 2015 in Middle East, North America

 

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Wahhabis go nuclear — literally

The serious possibility of a nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 is only a few weeks away – on June 30.

So guess what the terminally paranoid House of Saud is up to: Lay their hands on a nuclear bomb to counteract the non-existent “Iranian bomb”, which Tehran, via Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has consistently abhorred as un-Islamic, and wouldn’t have it anyway because of stringent inspections bound to be part of the final nuclear deal.

The proverbial “former Pentagon official” has leaked to a Rupert Murdoch paper that the House of Saud is bound to buy a ready-made nuclear bomb from Pakistan. The choice of media already offers a clue; Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is one of News Corporation’s leading shareholders.

The “why now?” concerning the leak is pretty obvious. Yet the whodunit is hazier territory.

via Wahhabis go nuclear — literally | Asia Times.

 
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Posted by on May 25, 2015 in Middle East

 

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Syria conflict: Government again accused of using chemical weapons on civilians as villagers are treated following gas attacks

The Syrian government has been accused of again using chemical weapons against civilians as fighting intensifies with fresh rebel attacks in the north of the country.

Helicopters deployed by the regime of Bashar al-Assad dropped barrel bombs containing gas canisters filled with lethal chemicals in and around the city of Idlib, west of Aleppo, as it was assaulted and later captured by jihadi forces led by the al-Qaeda affiliate, Jabhat al-Nusra, in March according to Human Rights Watch.

via Syria conflict: Government again accused of using chemical weapons on civilians as villagers are treated following gas attacks – Middle East – World – The Independent.

 
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Posted by on April 15, 2015 in Middle East

 

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The Pentagon as President Obama’s Great White Whale

Mark these days. A long-dreaded transformation from hope to doom is taking place as the United States of America ushers the world onto the no-turning-back road of nuclear perdition. Once, we could believe there was another way to go. Indeed, we were invited to take that path by the man who is, even today, overseeing the blocking of it, probably forever.

It was one of the most stirring speeches an American president had ever given. The place was Prague; the year was 2009; the president was the recently sworn in Barack Obama. The promise made that day is worth recalling at length, especially since, by now, it is largely forgotten:

“As the only nuclear power to have used a nuclear weapon, the United States has a moral responsibility to act… So today, I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons. I’m not naive. This goal will not be reached quickly — perhaps not in my lifetime. It will take patience and persistence. But now, we, too, must ignore the voices who tell us that the world cannot change. We have to insist, ‘Yes, we can…’”

President Obama had been in office only three months when, boldly claiming his place on the world stage, he unequivocally committed himself and his country to a nuclear abolition movement that, until then, had at best existed somewhere on the distant fringes of power politics. “I know,” he added,

“that there are some who will question whether we can act on such a broad agenda. There are those who doubt whether true international cooperation is possible… and there are those who hear talk of a world without nuclear weapons and doubt whether it’s worth setting a goal that seems impossible to achieve. But make no mistake. We know where that road leads.”

The simple existence of nuclear weapons, an American president declared, paved the road to perdition for humanity.

via Tomgram: James Carroll, The Pentagon as President Obama’s Great White Whale | TomDispatch.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in North America, Reportages

 

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Nuclear weapons: The unkicked addiction

IN JANUARY 2007 Henry Kissinger, George Shultz, William Perry and Sam Nunn—two Republican secretaries of state, a Democratic defence secretary and a Democratic head of the Senate Armed Services Committee—called for a global effort to reduce reliance on nuclear weapons. The ultimate goal, they wrote in the Wall Street Journal, should be to remove the threat such weapons pose completely. The article generated an astonishing response. Long seen as drippily Utopian, the idea of getting rid of nuclear weapons was suddenly taken on by think-tankers, academics and all sorts of very serious people in the nuclear-policy business. The next year a pressure group, Global Zero, was set up to campaign for complete nuclear disarmament. Its aims were endorsed by scores of government leaders, present and past, and hundreds of thousands of citizens.

via Nuclear weapons: The unkicked addiction | The Economist.

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2015 in Reportages

 

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