IAEA Head Accused Of Aiding Rush To Iran War

Hans Blix and Robert Kelley, as inspectors for the IAEA, were spot-on right about Iraq: it had no WMD. So when they both accuse current IAEA head Yukiya Amano of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics it might be a good idea to listen.

Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientists who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the west’s mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA’s assessment of Iran now.

“Amano is falling into the Cheney trap. What we learned back in 2002 and 2003, when we were in the runup to the war, was that peer review was very important, and that the analysis should not be left to a small group of people,” Kelley said.

“So what have we learned since then? Absolutely nothing. Just like [former US vice-president] Dick Cheney, Amano is relying on a very small group of people and those opinions are not being checked.”

…Hans Blix, a former IAEA director general, also raised concerns over the agency’s credibility. “There is a distinction between information and evidence, and if you are a responsible agency you have to make sure that you ask questions and do not base conclusions on information that has not been verified,” he said.

“The agency has a certain credibility. It should guard it by being meticulous in checking the evidence. If certain governments want a blessing for the intelligence they provide the IAEA, they should provide convincing evidence. Otherwise, the agency should not give its stamp of approval.” Blix said he could not say for certain whether that had happened under Amano’s watch.

Blix is talking about the Laptop Of Death, which forms the basis for the current hyperventilation about Parchin. While everyone at least suspects the Laptop came out of Israel via the MeK, to give it a veneer of believablility, and thence to the U.S. and IAEA, few say so out loud. The incredibly dodgy Laptop appeared in 2004 and Israeli intelligence has been recycling its claims to try to give them greater credibility ever since, most notably in 2009.

Blix and Kelley aren’t the only experts worries by the IAEA’s new zealotry.

Jim Walsh, an expert on the Iranian nuclear programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said that US intelligence had become more certain over recent years in its judgment that Iran ceased weaponisation work in 2003.

“Amano has been way out in front of the US on this,” Walsh said. “I think if the agency is going to be a neutral player in this ”“ and we need a neutral player to make the sort of judgements that have to be made ”“ it will have to be more conservative that the national governments on this.”

The issue is critical. While there is no doubt that Iran is in contravention of US security council resolutions, and there is substantial evidence that the country had an organised weapons project up to 2003, the claim that work has continued has added to the sense of urgency that has fuelled the western oil embargo, due to take effect in less than four months, and threats of military action.

The IAEA, like the U.S. media, are actually out ahead of the White House on the charge to war. So little has been learned from the senseless charge to war with Iraq. Even Ron Kampeas thinks so.

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Steve Hynd

Most recently I was Editor in Chief of The Agonist from Feb 2012 to Feb 2013. My blogging began at Newshoggers and I’ve had the immense pleasure of working with some great writers there and around the web ever since, including at Crooks & Liars. I'm a late 40′s, Scottish ex-pat, now married to a wonderful Texan, with Honours in Philosophy from Univ. of Stirling, UK 1986. I worked most of life in business insurance industry (fire, accident, liability) including 12 years as a broker/underwriter/correspondent at Lloyd’s of London. Being from the other side of the pond, my political interests tend to focus on how US foreign policy affects the rest of the planet. Other interests include early and dark-ages British history, literature and cognitive philosophy/science.

14 CommentsLeave a comment

  • …through German intelligence. There were some “additional” additional studies more directly related to initiators that are thought to be sourced to the Israelis. IIRC, it was two distinct waves – the “laptop” documents in 2004 and the initiator stuff I think in 2008/9.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • Details of Talks with IAEA Belie Charge Iran Refused Cooperation

    Vienna | Mar 20 | IPS

    The first detailed account of negotiations between the International Atomic Energy Agency and Iran last month belies earlier statements by unnamed Western officials portraying Iran as refusing to cooperate with the IAEA in allaying concerns about alleged nuclear weaponisation work.

    The detailed account given by Iran’s permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, shows that the talks in February came close to a final agreement, but were hung up primarily over the IAEA insistence on being able to reopen issues even after Iran had answered questions about them to the organisation’s satisfaction.

    It also indicates that the IAEA demand to visit Parchin military base during that trip to Tehran reversed a previous agreement that the visit would come later in the process, and that IAEA Director General Yukia Amano ordered his negotiators to break off the talks and return to Vienna rather than accept Iran’s invitation to stay for a third day.

    Soltanieh took the unprecedented step of revealing the details of the incomplete negotiations with the IAEA in an interview with IPS in Vienna last week and in a presentation to a closed session of the IAEA’s Board of Governors Mar. 8, which the Iranian mission has now made public.

    The Iranian envoy went public with his account of the talks after a series of anonymous statements to the press by the IAEA Secretariat and member states had portrayed Iran as being uncooperative on Parchin as well as in the negotiations on an agreement on cooperation with the agency.

    Those statements now appear to have been aimed at building a case for a resolution by the Board condemning Iran’s intransigence in order to increase diplomatic pressure on Iran in advance of talks between the P5+1 and Iran.

    Always keep an open mind and a compassionate heart. ~ Phil Jackson

  • …there were no WMD in Iraq – it should be that they were right, inspections should have been given more time to work. At the time of the invasion my understanding is that they could not give assurances that the outstanding issues had been dealt with – what they could give assurances about was that the inspections were proceeding more productively than previously.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • Hans Blix talks with Al Jazeera about the “Iranian threat”.


    A 26 minute interview with the former head of IAEA and WMD inspector of Iraq stating in diplomatic terms there is absolutely no basis for Washington and Israeli allegations of an Iranian nuclear weapons program; that sanctions brought to force compliance were counter-productive in obtaining compliance. The questions asked produced answers not found in corporate media sources. Educational and enlightening but not a good source if fear mongering is your purpose.

  • I “shorthanded” the process because Germany promptly handed the laptop to the US, with strong warnings that they thought it was of dodgy provenance and likely an intelligence product created by another nation.

  • …the notion that they strongly warned that it was of dodgy provenience with some of their interpretations since.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • …was dodgy, why were they telling the other P5+1 members that the IAEA briefing in early 2008 based on it (the contents were leaked via ISIS) raised important matters requiring further clarification?

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • there were supposedly “corroberating” documents from supposedly other sources – that since then have tracked back to the same source. The 2008 briefing was a fun one. It looks very like Greg Schulte handed a bunch of documents to the IAEA and demanded they brief the other member nations on them, then turned around and leaked the briefings to ISIS and the NYT as if he’d had nothing to do with it. Just so that Schulte could say the data had come from the IAEA rather than from US intel and just in time for the big UNSC sanctions vote in March 2008.

  • …indirect indicators, what’s the primary source for the notion that they were thought dodgy by the originator (i.e., the Germans)? I’ve never seen the assertion before and I would expect it to have surfaced loudly by now (e.g., in Porter’s MEP article) given how central it is.

    In combat one should be very suspicious of painless moral choices. When you are confronted with a seemingly painless moral choice, the odds are that you haven’t looked deeply enough.” ~ Karl Marlantes

  • I’ve just spent the better part of two hours trawling through the Newshoggers archives, because I was sure I’d blogged it when it surfaced precisely because it was so important. I’ve a feeling it surfaced in a Guardian piece – I seem to remember they tracked down the guy who’d handed over the laptop to German intel, still living in Germany – but for the life of me I can’t find it anywwhere to cite it. I’m going to have to withdraw that assertion, for now.

  • Porter’s article states that the means of getting the “laptop” out was the source’s wife and that he was compromised and has disappeared – either dead or held in a national security prison. The coverage does appear to agree on this.

    It would not surprise me in the least if there was someone – more than one “someones”, in fact – living in Germany who had been a source for the BND on the Iranian nuclear issue. German intel on procurement generally seems to be about the best – at least in terms of what has made it out to open sources. That could be what folks were reporting.

    It does occur to me that, depending on the timing, it could also be mixing stuff from the later round of disclosure that became public in December of 2009 that did seem quite dodgy. I think this sources back to the Israeli disclosures to the IAEA which occurred in the summer of 2009.

    All sources have imperfect knowledge and almost all of them know less than they think they do. ~ IntOp truism (probably from the original latin)

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