Friday, April 25, 2008

Déjà vu all over again....

"The Baddies have nukes! They're gonna kill us! We have pictures to prove it!!!"

As Glenn Greenwald reports (and as reported on page 2 of todays S.F. Chronicle), the maladministration claims the Syrians are trying to get nukular weapons. And the news report it just the same way they fell all over themselves for the Powell U.N. presentation in 2002.

Here's Glenn:

This Associated Press article, for instance, is 32 paragraphs long, yet it contains little other than unchallenged assertions by the Bush administration, using the now-familiar media conventions for disseminating government claims -- i.e., quoting administration accusations without challenge and then granting completely unwarranted anonymity to "intelligence officials" to echo those accusations:

The White House said Thursday that North Korea did secret work on a nuclear reactor with Syria...

Seven months after Israel bombed the site, the White House broke its silence and said North Korea assisted Syria in a secret nuclear program...

While calling North Korea's nuclear assistance to Syria a "dangerous manifestation" of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and its proliferation activities, the White House said ...

The United States became aware North Korea was helping Syria with a nuclear project in 2003, said intelligence officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the matter's sensitivity...

The critical intelligence that cemented that conclusion, they said, came last year: dozens of photographs taken from ground level over a period of time, showing the construction both inside and outside the building...

The Israeli strike on Sept. 6, 2007, ripped open the structure and revealed even more evidence to spy satellites: reinforced concrete walls that echoed the design of the Yongbyon reactor...

The alleged Syrian nuclear reactor was within weeks or months of being functional, a top U.S. official told The Associated Press, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter...

But the U.S. official said the reactor was similar in design to a North Korean reactor at Yongbyon, which has produced small amounts of plutonium, the material needed to make powerful nuclear weapons...

The White House also used its statement as an opportunity to denounce the nuclear activities of Iran, which it says is a threat to the stability of the Middle East.

... and my first reaction was, "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice ... ummm, uhh, ahhh ... won't get fooled again."

I recall at the time that there was some scepticism of the claim that the building was a nuclear facility.

Haven't we been through this (the "dog and pony" show) before? How'd that work out?

In today's print S.F. Chronicle, the headline reads "U.S. asserts North Korean link to Syria", and says:
"Seven months after Israel bombed the reactor, the White House broke its silence and said North Korea assisted Syria's secret nuclear program and that the destroyed facility was not intended for 'peaceful purposes'."

"Israel bombed the reactor" is asserted as fact, not as something the maladministration claimed.

Cursory denials from Syria were reported later by the AP:

Syria denies US nuclear allegations

Friday, April 25, 2008

PDT DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) -- Syria's government is denying U.S. allegations that it was involved in a clandestine nuclear program with North Korea.

The government is accusing Washington of misleading Congress about the country's nuclear activity.

Syria's statement Friday also alleges that the U.S. aided Israel in its bombing of a purported nuclear facility seven months ago.

The Bush administration said Thursday that North Korea was secretly assisting work on a nuclear reactor in Syria and the facility destroyed by Israel was not intended for "peaceful purposes.

But that wasn't in the papers. Instead, we have maladministration claims repeated without comment. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

* * * * *

Then there's this (from Glenn's post above):
[T]he IAEA is condemning both Israel and the U.S. -- Israel for the unilateral attack on Syria without even asking the IAEA to inspect the facility (an inspection Syria would have been required by the NPT to allow), and the U.S. for withholding from the IAEA its claimed evidence of Syrian nuclear activities.
That reminds me. UNSCR 1441 required all parties (including Iraq) that had relevant information on Iraq's alleged WoMD to turn that material over to the U.N. The U.S. harped on the reticence of the Iraqis to do so (despite the fact that Iraq did so by the deadline imposed in December of 2002, prompting the U.S. to say they had turned over "too much", some 12,000 pages, supposedly in an effort to snow the U.S. in paperwork or to obscure any real shenanigans in mountains of fluff). But the U.S. violated its obligations under UNSCR 1441, refusing to turn over its information despite repeated requests from Blix and el Baradei. They delayed for months, and when they finally did so, the U.N. inspectors looked at it, checked it out, and termed it "garbage, garbage, and more garbage"....

Dem's the facts. This should be better known.


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