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Us and Israeli intelligence :Iran is not building a nuclear bomb

Recent comments by U.S and Israeli military leaders indicate that the
intelligence services of the two countries agree that Iran has not decided to build a nuclear bomb, a crack in the Western narrative that
the U.S. press corps won’t accept, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern
explains.



By Ray McGovern


Has Iran decided to build a nuclear bomb? That would seem to be the
central question in the current bellicose debate over whether the world
should simply cripple Iran’s economy and inflict severe pain on its
civilian population or launch a preemptive war to destroy its nuclear
capability while possibly achieving “regime change.”
And if you’ve been reading the New York Times or following the rest
of the Fawning Corporate Media, you’d likely assume that everyone who
matters agrees that the answer to the question is yes, although the FCM
adds the caveat that Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful
purposes only. The line is included with an almost perceptible wink and
an “oh, yeah.”

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak meeting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in 2007


However, a consensus seems to be emerging among the intelligence and
military agencies of the United States – and Israel – that Iran has NOT
made a decision to build a nuclear weapon. In recent days, that judgment
has been expressed by high-profile figures in the defense
establishments of the two countries – U.S. Defense Secretary Leon
Panetta and Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak.
You might think that you would have heard more about that, wouldn’t
you? U.S. and Israel agree that Iran is NOT building a nuclear bomb.
However, this joint assessment that Iran has NOT decided to build a
nuclear bomb apparently represented too big a change in the accepted
narrative for the Times and the rest of the FCM to process.
Yet, on Jan. 18, the day before U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen.
Martin Dempsey arrived for talks in Israel, Israeli Defense Minister
Barak gave an interview to Israeli Army radio in which he addressed with
striking candor how he assesses Iran’s nuclear program. It was not the
normal pabulum.
Question: Is it Israel’s judgment that Iran has not yet decided to turn its nuclear potential into weapons of mass destruction?


Barak: … confusion stems from the fact that people
ask whether Iran is determined to break out from the control
[inspection] regime right now … in an attempt to obtain nuclear weapons
or an operable installation as quickly as possible. Apparently that is
not the case. …
Question: How long will it take from the moment Iran decides to turn it into effective weapons until it has nuclear warheads?


Barak: I don’t know; one has to estimate. … Some say
a year, others say 18 months. It doesn’t really matter. To do that,
Iran would have to announce it is leaving the [UN International Atomic
Energy Agency] inspection regime and stop responding to IAEA’s
criticism, etc.
Why haven’t they [the Iranians] done that? Because they realize that …
when it became clear to everyone that Iran was trying to acquire
nuclear weapons, this would constitute definite proof that time is
actually running out. This could generate either harsher sanctions or
other action against them. They do not want that.
Question: Has the United States asked or demanded
that the government inform the Americans in advance, should it decide on
military action?
Barak: I don’t want to get into that. We have not
made a decision to opt for that, we have not decided on a
decision-making date. The whole thing is very far off. …
Question: You said the whole thing is “very far off.” Do you mean weeks, months, years?


Barak: I wouldn’t want to provide any estimates.
It’s certainly not urgent. I don’t want to relate to it as though
tomorrow it will happen.
As noted in my Jan. 19 article, “Israel Tamps Down Iran War Threats,”
which was based mostly on reports from the Israeli press before I had
access to the complete transcript of the interview, I noted that Barak
appeared to be identifying himself with the consistent assessment of
U.S. intelligence community since late 2007 that Iran has not made a
decision to go forward with a nuclear bomb.
A Momentous NIE


A formal National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007 – a
consensus of all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies – contradicted the
encrusted conventional wisdom that “of course” Iran’s nuclear
development program must be aimed at producing nuclear weapons. The NIE
stated:
“We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its
nuclear weapons program; … Tehran’s decision to halt its nuclear weapons
program suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than
we have been judging since 2005.”
The Key Judgments of that Estimate elicited a vituperative reaction
from some Israeli officials and in neoconservative circles in the United
States. It also angered then-President George W. Bush, who joined the
Israelis in expressing disagreement with the judgments. In January 2008,
Bush flew to Israel to commiserate with Israeli officials who he said
should have been “furious with the United States over the NIE.”
While Bush’s memoir, Decision Points, is replete with
bizarre candor, nothing beats his admission that “the NIE tied my hands
on the military side,” preventing him from ordering a preemptive war
against Iran, an action favored by hawkish Vice President Dick Cheney.
For me personally it was heartening to discover that my former
colleagues in the CIA’s analytical division had restored the old ethos
of telling difficult truths to power, after the disgraceful years under
CIA leaders like George Tenet and John McLaughlin when the CIA followed
the politically safer route of telling the powerful what they wanted to
hear.
It had been three decades since I chaired a couple of National
Intelligence Estimates, but fate never gave me the chance to manage one
that played such a key role in preventing an unnecessary and disastrous
war — as the November 2007 NIE did.
In such pressure-cooker situations, the Estimates job is not for the
malleable or the faint-hearted. The ethos was to speak with courage, and
without fear or favor, but that is often easier said than done. In my
days, however, we analysts enjoyed career protection for telling it like
we saw it. It was an incredible boost to morale to see that happening
again in 2007.
Ever since the NIE was published, however, powerful politicians and
media pundits have sought to chip away at its conclusions, suggesting
that the analysts were hopelessly naïve or politically motivated or
vengeful, out to punish Bush and Cheney for the heavy-handed tactics
used to push false and dubious claims about Iraq’s WMD in 2002 and 2003.
A New Conventional Wisdom


There emerged in Official Washington a new conventional wisdom that
the NIE was erroneous and wasn’t worth mentioning anymore. Though the
Obama administration has stood by it, the New York Times and other FCM
outlets routinely would state that the United States and Israel agreed
that Iran was developing a nuclear bomb and then add the wink-wink
denial by Iran.
However, on Jan. 8, Defense Secretary Panetta told Bob Schieffer on “Face the Nation” that “the responsible thing to do
right now is to keep putting diplomatic and economic pressure on them
[the Iranians] … and to make sure that they do not make the decision to
proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon.”
Panetta was making the implicit point that the Iranians had not made
that decision, but just in case someone might miss his meaning, Panetta
posed the direct question to himself: “Are they [the Iranians] trying to
develop a nuclear weapon? No.”
Barak’s Jan. 18 statement to Israeli Army radio indicated that his
views dovetail with those of Panetta – and their comments apparently are
backed up by the assessments of each nation’s intelligence analysts. In
its report on Defense Minister Barak’s remarks, the Israeli newspaper
Haaretz on Jan. 19 summed up the change in the position of Israeli
leaders as follows:
“The intelligence assessment Israeli officials will present … to
Dempsey indicates that Iran has not yet decided whether to make a
nuclear bomb. The Israeli view is that while Iran continues to improve
its nuclear capabilities, it has not yet decided whether to translate
these capabilities into a nuclear weapon – or, more specifically, a
nuclear warhead mounted atop a missile. Nor is it clear when Iran might
make such a decision.”
At the New York Times, the initial coverage of Barak’s interview
focused on another element. An article by Isabel Kershner and Rick
Gladstone appeared on Jan. 19 on page A5 under the headline “Decision on
Whether to Attack Iran is ‘Far Off,’ Israeli Defense Minister Says.”
To their credit, the Times’ Kershner and Gladstone did not shrink
from offering an accurate translation of what Barak said on the key
point of IAEA inspections: “The Iranians have not ended the oversight
exercised by the International Atomic Energy Agency … They have not done
that because they know that that would constitute proof of the military
nature of their nuclear program and that would provoke stronger
international sanctions or other types of action against their country.”
But missing from the Times’ article was Barak’s more direct
assessment that Iran apparently had not made a decision to press ahead
toward construction of a nuclear bomb. That would have undercut the
boilerplate in almost every Times story saying that U.S. and Israeli
officials believe Iran is working on a nuclear bomb.
But That’s Not the Right Line!


So, what to do? Not surprisingly, the next day (Jan. 20), the Times
ran an article by its Middle East bureau chief Ethan Bronner in which he
stated categorically: ”Israel and the United States both say that Iran
is pursuing the building of nuclear weapons — an assertion denied by
Iran — …”
By Jan. 21, the Times had time to prepare an entire page (A8) of
articles setting the record “straight,” so to speak, on Iran’s nuclear
capabilities and intentions: Here are the most telling excerpts, by
article (emphasis mine):
1- “European Union Moves Closer to Imposing Tough Sanctions on Iran,” by Steven Erlanger, Paris:


“Senior French officials are concerned that these measures
[sanctions] … will not be strong enough to push the Iranian government
into serious, substantive negotiations on its nuclear program which the West says is aimed at producing weapons.
“In his annual speech on French diplomacy on Friday, President Nicolas Sarkozy accused Iran of lying, and he denounced what he called its ‘senseless race for a nuclear bomb.’”


“Iran says it is enriching uranium solely for peaceful uses and denies a military intent. But few
in the West believe Tehran, which has not cooperated fully with
inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and has been
pursuing some technologies that have only a military use.”
(Pardon me, please. I’m having a bad flashback. Anyone remember the
Times’ peerless reporting on those infamous “aluminum tubes” that
supposedly were destined for nuclear centrifuges — until some folks did a
Google search and found they were for the artillery then used by Iraq?)
2- “China Leader Warns Iran Not to Make Nuclear Arms,” by Michael Wines, Beijing


“Prime Minister Wen Jiabao wrapped up a six-day Middle East tour this week with stronger-than-usual criticism of Iran’s defiance on its nuclear program….”


“Mr. Wen’s comments on Iran were unusually pointed for Chinese
diplomacy. In Doha, Qatar’s capital, he said China ‘adamantly opposes
Iran developing and possessing nuclear weapons.’”
“Western nations suspect that Iran is working toward building a nuclear weapon, while Iran insists its program is peaceful.”


3- “U.S. General Urges Closer Ties With Israel.” by Isabel Kershner, Jerusalem


“Though Iran continues to insist that its nuclear program is only for
civilian purposes, Israel, the United Stated, and much of the West are
convinced that Iran is working to develop a weapons program. …”
Never (Let Up) on Sunday


Next it was time for the Times to trot out David Sanger from the
Washington bullpen. Many will remember him as one of the Times’
stenographers/cheerleaders for the Bush/Cheney attack on Iraq in March
2003. An effusive hawk also on Iran, Sanger was promoted to a position
as chief Washington correspondent, apparently for services rendered.
In his Jan. 22 article, “Confronting Iran in a Year of Elections,”
Sanger pulls out all the stops, even resurrecting Condoleezza Rice’s
“mushroom cloud” to scare all of us — and, not least, the Iranians. He
wrote:
“‘From the perception of the Iranians, life may look better on the other side of the mushroom cloud,’ said Ray Takeyh, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.
He may be right: while the Obama administration has vowed that it will
never tolerate Iran as a nuclear weapons state, a few officials admit
that they may have to settle for a ‘nuclear capable’ Iran that has the
technology, the nuclear fuel and the expertise to become a nuclear power
in a matter of weeks or months.”
Were that not enough, enter the national champion of the Times
cheerleading squad that prepared the American people in 2002 and early
2003 for the attack on Iraq, former Executive Editor Bill Keller. He
graced us the next day (Jan. 23) with an op-ed entitled “Bomb-Bomb-Bomb,
Bomb-Bomb-Iran?” – though he wasn’t favoring a military strike, at
least not right now. Here’s Keller:
“The actual state of the [nuclear] program is not entirely clear, but
the best open-source estimates are that if Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
ordered full-speed-ahead — which there is no sign he has done — they
could have an actual weapon in a year or so. … In practice, Obama’s
policy promises to be tougher than Bush’s. Because Obama started out
with an offer of direct talks — which the Iranians foolishly spurned —
world opinion has shifted in our direction.”
Wow. With Iraqi egg still all over his face, the disgraced Keller
gets to “spurn” history itself — to rewrite the facts. Sorry, Bill, it
was not Iran, but rather Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other
neocons in the U.S. Department of State and White House (with you and
neocon allies in the press cheering them on), who “foolishly spurned” an
offer by Iran in 2010 to trade about half its low-enriched uranium for
medical isotopes. It was a deal negotiated by Turkey and Brazil, but it
was viewed by the neocons as an obstacle to ratcheting up the sanctions.
In his Jan. 23 column, with more sophomoric glibness, Keller wrote this:


“We may now have sufficient global support to enact the one measure
that would be genuinely crippling — a boycott of Iranian oil. The
Iranians take this threat to their economic livelihood seriously enough
that people who follow the subject no longer minimize the chance of a
naval confrontation in the Strait of Hormuz. It’s not impossible that we
will get war with Iran even without bombing its nuclear facilities.”
How neat! War without even trying!


The Paper of (Checkered Record)


Guidance To All NYT Hands: Are you getting the picture? After all,
what does Defense Minister Barak know? Or Defense Secretary Panetta? Or
the 16 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community? Or apparently even
Israeli intelligence?
The marching orders from the Times’ management appear to be that you
should pay no heed to those sources of information. Just repeat the
mantra: Everyone knows Iran is hard at work on the Bomb.
As is well known, other newspapers and media outlets take their cue
from the Times. Small wonder, then, that USA Today seemed to be
following the same guidance on Jan. 23, as can be seen in its major
editorial on military action against Iran:
“The U.S. and Iran will keep steaming toward confrontation,
Iran intent on acquiring the bomb to establish itself as a regional
power, and the U.S. intent on preventing it to protect allies and avoid a nuclear arms race in the world’s most volatile region.
“One day, the U.S. is likely to face a wrenching choice: bomb Iran,
with the nation fully united and prepared for the consequences, or let
Iran have the weapons, along with a Cold War-like doctrine ensuring
Iran’s nuclear annihilation if it ever uses them. In that context,
sanctions remain the last best hope for a satisfactory solution.”
And, of course, the U.S. press corps almost never adds the context
that Israel already possesses an undeclared arsenal of hundreds of
nuclear weapons, or that Iran is essentially surrounded by nuclear
weapons states, including India, Pakistan, Russia, China and – at sea –
the United States.
PBS Equally Guilty


PBS’s behavior adhered to its customary
don’t-offend-the-politicians-who-might-otherwise-cut-our-budget attitude
on the Jan. 18 “NewsHour” – about 12 hours after Ehud Barak’s interview
started making the rounds. Host Margaret Warner set the stage for an
interview with neocon Dennis Ross and Vali Nasr (a professor at Tufts)
by using a thoroughly misleading clip from former Sen. Rick Santorum’s
Jan. 1 appearance on “Meet the Press.”
Warner started by saying: “Back in the U.S. many Republican
presidential candidates have been vowing they’d be even tougher with
Tehran. Former Senator Rick Santorum spoke on NBC’s Meet the Press: ‘I
would be saying to the Iranians, you open up those facilities, you begin
to dismantle them and make them available to inspectors, or we will
degrade those facilities through air strikes and make it very public
that we are doing so.’”
Santorum seemed totally unaware that there are U.N. inspectors in
Iran, and host David Gregory did nothing to correct him, leaving
Santorum’s remark unchallenged. The blogosphere immediately lit up with
requests for NBC to tell their viewers that there are already U.N.
inspectors in Iran, which unlike Israel is a signatory to the Nuclear
Non-Proliferation Treaty and allows IAEA inspections.
During the Warner interview, Dennis Ross performed true to form,
projecting supreme confidence that he knows more about Iran’s nuclear
program than the Israeli Defense Minister and the U.S. intelligence
community combined:
Margaret Warner: If you hamstring their [Iran’s]
Central Bank, and the U.S. persuades all these other big customers not
to buy Iranian oil, that could be thought of as an act of war on the
part of the Iranians. Is that a danger?

http://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Opinion/104034-2012-01-26-us-israel-iran-not-building-nukes.htm?EdNo=001&;From=RSS


Added: Jan-26-2012 Occurred On: Jan-26-2012
By: _-Steel-_
In:
World News
Tags: Iran, No threat, wmd's, Petro-dollar
Location: United States (load item map)
Views: 3833 | Comments: 20 | Votes: 1 | Favorites: 0 | Shared: 0 | Updates: 0 | Times used in channels: 2
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  • If Israel and the US are so concerned about WMD and Nuclear weapons over there why wont one of the complainers (ISRAEL) sign the NNPT and allow UN and IAEA inspections of their Nuclear Facilities. What are they trying to hide, because according to US law (Symington Ammendment) it is against US law for the US to give any country who possesses Nuclear Weapons but wont signt the NNPT or allow inspections

    Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • @OnlyLiarsBlock

      Totally agree with you, but you have to understand that Israel is like a leech that infest its host for its gain and America is the host. Anything Israel want or do is ok so long as America is under this infestation.

      Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'armyydude' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • MOSSAD is killing civillian scientists even though Israel admits that Iran is not building a nuclear bomb, that means that they are simply murdering innocent Irananian citizens.
    Funny how Israel is always allowed to get away with stuff like that.

    Posted Jan-27-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'StopTheCancer' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
    • @StopTheCancer
      Its not only the Republicans the Democracts are better liars and manipulators when it comes to bombing nations.

      Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • Comment of user 'cremation' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • The reason why they cannot build a nuke is as follows. Irans hired scientists keep mysteriously dieing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/iranian-scientist-killed-in-tehran-bomb-attack/2012/01/11/gIQAT1V7pP_story.html

    Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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  • Comment of user 'updougdown' has been deleted by author (after account deletion)!
  • The reality is that Israeli and US government warhawks are only bluffing, they're hoping they can print and spew a bunch of bullshit and that people will swallow the hook, line and sinker altogether like they did with Saddam, here's the thing though, people remember past actions, so we begin to unveil the Israeli and US governments real face and intentions.

    Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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  • 2 years before we invaded Iraq Saddam had started trading oil for denominations other than the USD. Iran is now in talks with China and Russia to trade their Oil for Gold.

    Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • @_-Steel-_ bofore 8 years ago ! saddam said `iraq wont accept dolar for petrol , it will be euro` and u amerikan brought democracy in Iraq ! Ahmedi Necat said same thing over 4 years ago ! and you try to bring you democracy in iran too ! also kaddafi has choosen euro against dollar ! and we saw his ending ... amerika is demon of the world ...

      Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • @ridvanco I would prefer to know nothing about Iraq or Iran or Israel,or Libya,etc.etc.etc.. Your business is none of my (or my Governments) business.Unless another Country commits an act of war against us we should let them live their lives as they have for Thousands of years without our intervention.

      Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • @ridvanco That is my point.It's all about propping up the USD.

      Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • @ridvanco ...maybe you should take an ESL course before writing on an English language website.

      Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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    • @_-Steel-_ Iran is also one of the very few world bank hold outs.

      Posted Jan-27-2012 By 

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  • Building an a-bomb is very challenging. Getting the enriched uranium is an incredibly complicated task that takes a lot of time, expertise and money. Assessing those capabilities from outside a closed dictatorship like Iran is very challenging. Discovering that Iran wants to do it, can do it, will try to do and IS doing it - that is all hard work for the intelligence community.

    Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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  • I think the issue was that they were building the tools needed to make a bomb later.

    Not sure who said they were actually building a bomb. I have only heard that they were x number of days from having the capability.

    Posted Jan-26-2012 By 

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