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Post High Seas Treaty: Tool Against Iran, Russia
Created by John Eipper on 05/10/12 5:53 AM

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High Seas Treaty: Tool Against Iran, Russia (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA, 05/10/12 5:53 am)

I would like to address this post to Cameron Sawyer, although I would welcome other WAISers' opinions.

It is primarily addressed to Cameron, because in my June 2, 2010 post about the Gaza Flotilla massacre I stated that "the Gaza Flotilla massacre occurred well outside the 'blockage' area--40 miles off the coast of Gaza. It appears that Israel and the US play the UN card when it suits them." (See https://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a4&objectType=post&o=54209&objectTypeId=48459&topicId=61.)  Cameron responded on June 3: " I do not quite understand why Soraya is so interested in the legal dimension of this. That is not at all the interesting or relevant aspect of the situation. The law--and I am an international lawyer, according to one of my diplomas--is not really applicable here. There is a state of war between Israel and Hamas, and a blockade. When there is a war going on, the law is out the window, mostly, and the law, oddly enough, recognizes and accepts that fact." (https://waisworld.org/go.jsp?id=02a4&objectType=post&o=54247&objectTypeId=48497&topicId=61 )

This being the case, I would welcome Cameron's thoughts on the White House's latest proposed tool. According to US News, "White House Calls High Seas Treaty a Tool Against Iran, Russia" (http://www.usnews.com/news/blogs/dotmil/2012/05/09/white-house-calls-high-seas-treaty-a-tool-against-iran-russia_print.html), the Obama Administration is now thinking of planning to (ab)use international treaties to promote its foreign policy--again. Although according to Cameron, in warfare laws don't matter, it is worthwhile mentioning that Iran allows foreign ships to use its territorial waters in good faith, on the basis of Part III of the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea's maritime transit passage provisions, which stipulate that vessels are free to sail through the Strait of Hormuz and similar bodies of water on the basis of speedy and continuous navigation between an open port and the high seas. This is a treaty not even ratified by Tehran--which does not bind it.

It appears that laws do not stand when Israel attacks vessels in international waters, but they according to the article (below), they are to matter, even if they have to be twisted to fit the purpose at hand.

See: "White House Calls High Seas Treaty a Tool Against Iran, Russia"

May 9, 2012 RSS Feed Print

The Obama administration on Wednesday used an obscure high-seas treaty to take aim at global rivals Iran, for its threat to blockade the Strait of Hormuz, and Russia, for its rush to claim natural resources exposed by the Arctic ice melt, while also dangling an olive branch before a domestic rival in hopes of winning the treaty's passage in the US Senate.

The White House deployed top Pentagon leaders to make the point that approving the treaty, the United Nations' Convention on the Law of the Seas, would give Washington a new tool to combat Iran, China, and Russia. And in a deft political move, the defense brass also noted that US firms stand to rake in greater profits if the Senate acts.

First adopted in 1982, the treaty sets a broad range of rules intended to guide how nations act on the open seas and establishes economic zones exclusive to certain nations. The European Union and 161 nations have signed onto the pact. The United States is the lone industrial nation and the lone member of the United Nations Security Council that has yet to ratify it.

"The time has come for the United States to have a seat at the table, to fully assert its role as a global leader, and accede to this important treaty," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said during a forum in Washington. "It is the bedrock legal instrument underpinning public order across the maritime domain."

The Senate would have to ratify the treaty before the US would officially join that list. US lawmakers and past presidents have resisted approving it, raising concerns that it would hurt America's national security by limiting its military options and also cause economic harm.

"We would become the leader in the convention as soon as we enter it," Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said.

Panetta and Dempsey assured a crowded hotel ballroom that joining the oceans group would not prevent Washington from using its military in any way, nor would it hinder US intelligence-gathering efforts.

Taking a seat at the table would allow the US to influence rules the global body makes, and bend them toward Washington's goals, he said.

After a decade of war in the Middle East, the US faces "a range of security challenges that are growing in complexity," Panetta said. Those include terrorism, the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea, Middle East and North African instability, and China military buildup.

"These real and growing challenges are beyond the ability of any single nation to resolve alone," the defense secretary said. "That is ... why the United States should be exerting a leadership role in the development and interpretation of the rules that determine legal certainty on the world's oceans."

Panetta opaquely sent a message that joining the convention would allow the US a new tactic in countering the anti-Washington whims and actions by Iran, China, and Russia.

Approving the treaty would hinder Iran's ability to close the Strait of Hormuz, a key oil transit route, which Tehran has recently threatened to do.

"We are determined to preserve freedom of transit there in the face of Iranian threats to impose a blockade," Panetta said. "US accession ... would help strengthen worldwide transit passage rights under international law and isolate Iran."

The Obama administration is in the midst of shifting the focus of US foreign and national security policies toward the Asia-Pacific region. Yet, Washington's shunning of the ocean's pact hurts its credibility with Asian friends, foes, and business partners, he said.

"How can we argue that other nations must abide by international rules when we haven't officially accepted those rules," Panetta said.

On the Arctic region, where Russia has been claiming more and more land in the global race for natural resource revenue, Panetta sent a message to Moscow.

"We already see countries posturing for new shipping routes and natural resources as Arctic ice cover recedes," Panetta said. "We are the only Arctic nation that is not party to the Convention," meaning Russia now has a leg up on America in shaping international rules about that region--and its ever-more accessible natural resources.

"The United States stands with Turkey as the only NATO members that have not ratified Law of the Sea, a US-initiated treaty that protects American interests off US shores and around the world," says former Nebraska GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel, now chairman of the Atlantic Council. "Senate ratification this year would allow America to take its rightful place and enjoy the benefits and protections of this important treaty."

But opponents, like Peter Brookes of the Heritage Foundation, have long claimed that joining the group would give other nations too much say over activities off US coastlines. For instance, the US government can now collect royalty revenues from oil and gas projects along the extended US continental shelf--but joining the treaty would send as much as 7 percent of those collections to the UN, Brookes wrote in a July 2011 op-ed.

Meantime, Panetta devoted a good bit of his pitch to noting US industry would benefit from joining the global pact.

US firms "need this treaty to do business," Panetta insisted.

The defense secretary argued that joining the oceans-based club is supported by the US Chamber of Commerce, as well as energy, shipbuilding, communications, fishing, and shipping sectors.

Panetta's olive branch to industry comes after the White House has repeatedly clashed with big business on a range of issues. Even the government-reliant defense business sector remains leery of the Obama administration.

The global pact "would provide clear legal rights and protections to American businesses to transit, lay undersea cables, and take advantage of the vast natural resources in and under the oceans off the US coasts and around the world," Bruce Josten, Chamber executive vice president for government affairs, said in a statement.

JE comments:  I don't see the connection between ratifying the Treaty and the Straits of Hormuz.  Is Soraya suggesting that the Treaty would make the US more likely to intervene militarily, should Iran close the Straits?

Speaking of "anti-Washington whims," President Putin has jailed some of his political opponents, including maverick anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny, and recently announced that he would be skipping next month's G-8 summit at Camp David.  One suspects that we've only seen the beginning of Putin 2.0's muscle-flexing.  Quite frankly, he frightens me.  WAISer thoughts?

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  • High Seas Treaty (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 05/10/12 7:12 PM)
    In response to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich (10 May), the so-called "right of innocent passage" was not created by the UN Convention. It has existed since prehistoric times, and has been formulated and re-formulated many times. It is true that neither the US nor Iran have fully acceded to the UN Convention (Iran has signed it but not ratified it), but both countries are full parties to the 1958 Geneva Convention on the Law of the Sea, which has almost the same formulation of the right of innocent passage as is found in the 1982 UN Convention.

    The right of innocent passage means that ships have the right to pass through the territorial waters of any state as long as they are not doing something to harm the security of that state. So Iran is obligated to respect the right of innocent passage of foreign ships through the Strait of Hormuz, and imposing a blockade in the Strait would be considered an act of war. None of this has anything to do with the UN Convention.

    If there were a war going on between Iran and the flag state of some ships trying to pass through the Straits of Hormuz, then the right of innocent passage is out the window--it would be logical and understandable for Iran to attempt to impose a blockade. Likewise, it would be logical and understandable for the blockaded flag state to respond with force. That's the way war is conducted--force versus force. I don't like it, but that's life in our civilization so far. If Iran attempts to impose a blockade prior to a state of war otherwise existing, then the regime will not be surprised, I trust, that a formal state of war will shortly follow. I doubt that the Iranians would be so stupid, as they are certainly aware that they do not have the military capability of enforcing a blockade against practically the entire rest of the world.

    So all of this is entirely consistent with what we discussed concerning the Gaza Flotilla fiasco. My point then--I'm not sure whether Soraya entirely appreciated it--was that blockades themselves are acts of war. The Turks who organized the "Free Gaza Flotilla" achieved precisely what they were aiming for--a provocation against Israel which would bring world-wide condemnation of the Gaza blockade. The Israelis responded to this provocation in exactly the way the activists had hoped, and the result was considerable damage to international toleration of the Gaza blockade, and to Israel's political position.

    The US never joined the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea--ironically, since the Convention was initiated by the US in the first place--because the Reagan administration felt that too much authority was handed over to the UN. Specifically, the US objected to the establishment of an International Seabed Authority which would regulate undersea mining outside of any state's territorial waters. The official position of the Reagan administration was that all other parts of the Convention were merely codification and clarification of customary international law which had existed prior to the Convention, and the official US position was then and has since been to accept those clarifications and to follow the terms of the Convention, except on the point about undersea mining on the high seas.

    Here is an interesting article on the legal aspects of the Strait of Hormuz issue: http://www.payvand.com/news/11/dec/1216.html . And here is a more scholarly look at the legal aspects of the issue: http://www.yjil.org/docs/pub/o-37-waehlisch-the-iran-u.s.-dispute.pdf . Again I will say, however, that the legal aspect is not the most interesting one. There is no world government to enforce international law. If some state wants to close some strait which is economically important to some other states, the issue will be decided by force, not by law. Blockades are fundamentally acts of war.*

    As to Leon Panetta's remarks about ratifying, at long last, the UN Convention--this discussion has been going on since 1982. Reagan was against it, and the Convention took place on his watch, so we ended up not being a party to it. But it has been supported by both Bush administrations, as well as by the Clinton and the Obama administrations. It has been consistently supported by the US military. Panetta argues that ratifying the Convention will strengthen innocent passage rights through the Strait of Hormuz, and will give us a greater role is dividing up the mineral riches of the Arctic. I think he's talking through his hat. In my opinion, Panetta's remarks are pure propaganda, cynically aimed at conservative opponents to the UN Convention. I do not believe that our signing the Convention will do anything to strengthen innocent passage rights through the Straits of Hormuz, which are as strong as they will ever be, in my opinion, especially considering the limited practical effect of treaties and international law in such cases.

    *One interesting issue concerning the question of Iran's right or ability to close the Strait of Hormuz is the significance of the territorial waters of Oman. It is possible to navigate the Strait without using the territorial waters of Iran, as far as I can tell. I believe that Iran would need the participation of the Omani government to attempt to close the Strait based on exercising authority in own territorial waters.

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    • High Seas Treaty (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/11/12 6:03 AM)
      I thank Cameron Sawyer (10 May) for his time and his opinion.

      Of course, as is usual, one can draw on any number of sources to back one's argument, as Cameron has done, and just as I am able to by providing this excellent link:  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=28516&context=va

      The fact of the matter is, which is what I was driving at, that since US and Iran are at war (oil embargo, sanctions, and the constant threat of bombing Iran, even using nuclear weapons, sending terrorists inside Iran to kill innocent people, are warfare by other means, and some choose to call it a cold war), then all law is inapplicable, as Cameron stated earlier. In reality, what is happening is the US hijacking a law to serve its foreign policy. With regards to Iran, this is nothing new. During the Shah's regime, the US encouraged violations of human rights and had CIA (and Mossad) train the Shah's agents of torture, the SAVAK. They allowed him to have plutonium for his nuclear reactors. Now, American is concerned about human rights, while it demands Iran give up the nuclear program.

      JE comments: If I may step outside my area of expertise and speak of the law, the US and Iran are not at war. However, as Cameron Sawyer has pointed out, a blockade is tantamount to a declaration of war.  Should we say the same thing about trade sanctions?  More importantly, what purpose is served by "upgrading" the US-Iran conflict to a state of war?  Is it just a rhetorical device to give a nation carte blanche to behave badly?

      The southern side of the Strait of Hormuz is the Omani enclave of Musandam--a rugged peninsula cut off from the rest of Oman by the UAE.  I'd like to know more about Musandam--has anyone in WAISworld been there?  I presume the 31,000 residents have historical links to Iran/Persia.  It would be very WAISly to discuss this strategically important enclave.

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      • Are the US and Iran at War? (Alain de Benoist, -France 05/12/12 3:58 AM)
        In her post of 11 May, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich wrote that the US and Iran are "at war." Commenting her post, John Eipper answered that "the US and Iran are not at war."

        Both of them could be right.

        In the past, wars had to be officially declared and ended by a formal capitulation. This is not true today. Many wars are not declared anymore, and when they are officially finished they continue with different means. At the same time, wars do not mean necessarily a military confrontation. There are all kind of wars: diplomatic, political, economic, cultural, technological, commercial, etc. The de facto abolition of a clear distinction between war and peace if one of the most significant features of the present time.

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      • Are the US and Iran at War? (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 05/12/12 4:11 AM)

        I am not a military expert, so my comments should be taken with a grain of salt. (Maybe our real military experts, like Mike Sullivan, would care to comment.)

        But I suspect that my severely limited military knowledge may be enough to challenge some of the assertions of the author of the article cited by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich on 11 May. He suggests that US naval forces in or around the Gulf of Persia could be defeated by Iranian patrol boats and missiles. But the tactics he describes sound ridiculous to me--overwhelming entire aircraft carrier groups with swarms of patrol boats, and using Iran's "advanced missile capabilities" to destroy US naval forces.

        The US Navy fights from the air, with manned and unmanned flying weapons systems with ranges of hundreds or thousands of miles. Its carrier groups stand off at a distance--surrounded by screens of heavily armed escort vessels--from which patrol boats can never reach. In case of a missile or naval attack by Iran, an aerial counterattack would be launched using Tomahawk cruise missiles, a variety of other missiles carried by various US naval vessels, and by various attack aircraft carried by US aircraft carriers. It is pretty hard to imagine any effective Iranian naval forces surviving even the first few hours of this. The US military is, of course, not invincible, and is demonstrably incapable of dealing with guerilla wars such as the one we are losing in Afghanistan. The US military is incapable, in my opinion, of invading and subduing Iran on the ground in any lasting way, any more than it was able to do so in Iraq. But naval warfare is one thing which the US military is able to conduct without much serious challenge from anyone, at this point in history, and certainly not from a tiny coastal navy such as Iran's, which does not possess any capital ships. The Iranian Navy does not even possess any operational destroyers (the only really strategic weapons are three diesel-powered ex-Soviet Kilo class submarines, admittedly a pretty powerful weapon if the crews are actually well-trained in modern submarine warfare). The Iranian Navy might very well cause harm to US naval forces. But it seems inconceivable to me that the Iranian Navy has the force to keep the Strait of Hormuz closed for more than a couple of days, at most.

        The author writes that Iran is not obligated to respect the right of innocent passage through the Strait of Hormuz since Iran has signed, but not ratified the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. This is wrong. As I wrote in a previous post, the right of innocent passage is not a creation of the 1982 UN Convention. Iran did sign and did ratify the 1958 Geneva Convention, which codifies the right of innocent passage in a similar way. Iran was bound (to the extent anyway is bound by international law) by the right of innocent passage even before 1958--this right has existed since people have been going to sea.

        But again, it is not the law which holds Iran back from closing the Strait of Hormuz. It is the prospect of starting a military conflict which Iran could not hope to win.

        As to Soraya's assertion that the US and Iran are at war--I really can't agree with this. A state of tension is not the same thing as a state of war. The main origin of tension between Iran and the US is the nearly universal belief that Iran is violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty. And it is false to describe this as tension between the US and Iran--it is tension between Iran and most of the rest of the world. The United Nations has imposed a long series of sanctions against Iran over its alleged nuclear weapons program, and none of the world's major geopolitical powers, not Russia, not China, not any EU country, has failed to speak out against the prospect of Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons. Besides that, there is quite a lot of evidence that Iran desires to possess nuclear weapons. Just to name one example--former General Beg of Pakistan, who recounted details of 20 years of approaches by Iran to Pakistan, with offers of tens of billions of dollars, to purchase nuclear weapons or technology (see http://www.spacewar.com/news/nuclear-blackmarket-05l.html ).

        I have to stop here and repeat that I don't think we can really blame Iran for wanting nuclear weapons. Iran feels threatened by Israel, which does possess nuclear weapons. Having nuclear weapons would clearly enhance Iran's security, and enhance Iran's geopolitical position. But at the same time, we can't blame the rest of the world for being opposed to Iran's acquiring nuclear weapons, either. It is a natural conflict of interest. And as long as Iran seems to be pushing the envelope in the pursuit of nuclear weapons, there will be tension. This tension is currently being expressed in the form of economic sanctions imposed on Iran not only by the US, but by most of the rest of the world. Countries currently imposing sanctions on Iran include the European Union, Canada, Australia, India, Japan, Russia, South Korea, South Africa, Switzerland, and many others. The latest set of United Nations sanctions against Iran, the UN Security Council Resolution 1929, adopted in 2010, are particularly severe. The Resolution was adopted by a vote of 12 to 2, with China, Russia, Japan, and Mexico, among others, voting in favor of these severe sanctions against Iran, with only Turkey and Brazil voting against. Interestingly, the only Arab member of the rotating part of the Security Council, Lebanon, abstained.

        So I think that it would be a gross mischaracterization of the tension between Iran and most of the world, and of Iran's current isolation, to say that these things are the result of some evil and hypocritical American cold war against Iran. Opposition to Iran's alleged nuclear program is extraordinarily broad-based and extends far beyond America's spheres of influence. There is a broad-based international consensus that Iran should be kept under pressure to discourage them from developing nuclear weapons. All of this is a political and geopolitical situation, not a legal one. So I really don't understand what laws are supposed to be being "hijacked." US support for the last Shah and alleged involvement in the last Shah's misdeeds is a different and, I would say, entirely unrelated (which is not to say, uninteresting) subject.

        JE comments:  Here's the link to the article, "The Geo-Politics of the Strait of Hormuz," forwarded by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich on 11 May:


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        • Are the US and Iran at War? War Games, 2002 (Robert Gard, USA 05/12/12 2:50 PM)
          In response to Cameron Sawyer (12 May), in a Pentagon war game conducted several years ago, Iranian swarm tactics in fact overwhelmed US forces and sank a large number of US ships, including an aircraft carrier.

          Retired Marine Lt. General Van Riper was the commander of the red team (Iran). When the Pentagon declined to accept what had occurred, and reconstituted US forces to continue the game, Van Riper walked out.

          JE comments: See the Wikipedia entry on Millennium Challenge 2002:


          Wow. After its defeat, the "Blue" team (representing the US forces) was allowed a do-over in the $250 million exercise. The costliest mulligan in history?

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          • Millennium Challenge 2002 (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 05/13/12 5:57 AM)
            I did read about Millennium Challenge. (See Robert Gard's post of 12 May.) As I wrote previously, I have no doubt that the Iranian Navy--and probably any navy, attacking with enough determination and enough willingness to sacrifice its own people and ships--could cause damage to US forces, sink ships, etc.

            But to cause damage, and to defeat and drive away the US Navy, keeping the Strait of Hormuz closed, are two entirely different things. I don't think that this contradicts my point that the Iranian Navy does not have nearly the force necessary to accomplish the latter goal.

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        • Strait of Hormuz and Mine Warfare (Michael Sullivan, USA 05/13/12 4:32 AM)

          I think Cameron Sawyer (12 May) is correct in his interpretation of the article cited by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich as to both the capabilities of the US Navy and Iran's Navy.

          However, the biggest problem the US Navy faces today is in mine warfare, because of priorities and DOD funding with the US Navy being reduced to 230 ships. It only has four mine sweepers in the Gulf as of March, 2012, while the plan is to bring in four more. They can also use the MH-53 helicopter to clear mines, but they aren't very efficient and can't compete with a mine sweeper. What if the Iranian Navy dumped a thousand mines in and around the Straits one night? It would take many weeks or more to clear the mines and provide safe shipping lanes, causing angst and turmoil around the world. Mines are very sophisticated today and hard to detect. Many go down and sit on the sea bed waiting to be activated.

          Every ship can be a mine sweeper...once! That applies to mine sweepers as well, as they make good targets for coastal guns, missiles or small boats. We will have to clear the mines and I'm confident we can open the Straits but it will take time, it won't be easy and the world economy will be greatly affected.

          If the Straits are mined we'll get into a real shooting war with Iran, so do we only take out their cruise missile sites, coastal guns, their ships and small boats or do we also go after all their war-making capabilities like airfields, ports, communications, POL sites, and integrated air defense systems? What happens if the Israelis use this Iranian mining of the Straits as an excuse to attack Iran's nuclear facilities?

          It's hard for me to believe Iran could be so bold as to mine the Straits, as the consequences to their military, civilians, infrastructure and economy are too great and they will suffer greatly. In the end the Straits will be open again and those in Iran who authorized the mining of the Straits will certainly be driven from power, as the country will be far worse off than they were before.

          JE comments:  My thanks to Michael Sullivan for his excellent analysis.  This mine scenario would throw the world economy into a tailspin.  One can be certain that the Iranian regime is aware of this--and that, if they become a nuclear state, the rules will change completely.

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        • Are the US and Iran at War? (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/13/12 5:07 AM)
          I respectfully submit that there are several errors in Cameron Sawyer's post of 12 May.

          As the author of the article has correctly pointed out, geography is important--and on Iran's side. The formidable US navy, by far the best in the world, is clearly an advantage on open seas, but the Strait of Hormuz has often been referred to (in conflict scenarios) as a "bathtub." In an asymmetrical warfare, while the US navy may eventually overcome the far inferior Iranian navy, it would do so at such a cost to itself and the world economy, that it would be hard to call such imagined and unthinkable scenario a "win," just as it is impossible to call the superior American forces a "win" in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, etc.

          As the article I forwarded points out, Pentagon's own war stimulation (the Millennium Challenge 2002) demonstrates the unacceptable cost to the US of such a venture. Cameron must also recognize and acknowledge the fact that during 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, with one-third of the current population and a disarrayed army, Iran was not defeated. But it would be very wrong to assume that the war was with Iraq alone. Basically, the whole world was helping Saddam--with money, satellite positioning, weapons, and chemical warfare.

          To Cameron's second point about "right of passage," according to the very document Cameron forwarded on May 10 ("here is a more scholarly look at the legal aspects of the issue: http://www.yjil.org/docs/pub/o-37-waehlisch-the-iran-u.s.-dispute.pdf "), then may I suggest that Cameron and interested WAISers refer to the same document and note several important aspects which contradict Cameron's claim that "Iran did sign and did ratify the 1958 Geneva Convention, which codifies the right of innocent passage in a similar way. Iran was bound (to the extent anyone is bound by international law) by the right of innocent passage even before 1958--this right has existed since people have been going to sea." According to the document, the Strait of Hormuz dispute and the "rights and restrictions under international law is contested." "Legitimate reactions to sanctions are neither explicitly regulated by positive international law nor clearly shaped by custom; they remain an ad hoc state practice." Further, "Several legal scholars argue that 'vital security interests' can 'entitle a belligerent to close an international strait temporarily' in 'exceptional cases.'"

          What is most interesting to me in reading the file provided by Cameron, is the fact that several blockades have been put in place by different countries, including the US, and NATO member Turkey in 1994.

          One does not have to be an accomplished lawyer such as Cameron to note that laws are totally irrelevant, they are tools in the hands of the powers.

          To Cameron's next point--regrettably, he is once again misguided about Iran's nuclear program. America's hostilities with Iran have nothing to do with a nuclear "weapon" program, and everything to do with regime change. It is naive to believe that Russia and China have conceded to the sanctions because they believe Iran is building a nuclear weapon. They have repeatedly stated this is not the case. However, not only do Russia and China benefit from the sanctions imposed on Iran, the majority of the countries involved are on board to impede a potential attack by Israel, which would result not only in a conflict of a global scale, but the first reaction would be the closing of the Strait of Hormuz and the choking of the relevant countries' economies. Something no one can afford.

          As to the "state of war"--as I have provided links to this Forum on the subject before, sanctions are warfare without the military involvement. It defies the rules of "just war" and imposes collective punishment. If anyone in this Forum or elsewhere can convince me that killing half a million Iraqi children in addition to the old and sick is "diplomacy" and not warfare, then I will certainly change my mind about sanctions, oil embargo, etc.

          It is equally naive to believe that Iran is interested in a nuclear bomb and is building one. We would all be better served if we applied common sense and avoided mainstream media (even though some of this very mainstream media is now reporting that Iran is not interested in building a bomb). It is also important to listen to what the Iranian leaders have to say on the matter--which is that with all the nuclear weapons the Soviet Union possessed, they could not conquer Afghanistan; with its nuclear arsenal, the United States was not able to win its wars. How is it that Iran would hope to stand up, or even attack, Israel and US with its total of tens of thousands of nuclear bombs? Nuclear bombs are thought to be a burden and an added expense which do not serve a purpose.

          However, in looking back at history, the one and only exception in history where nuclear bombs won a war was Japan. The massacre of hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese women with the horrific weapon enabled America to defeat Japan and check the Soviet Union which did not have nuclear weapons at the time. This ugly exception in humanity's history is once again contemplated by the "pro-human rights, pro-democracy" United States of America against 1.4 billions human souls (not to mention animals and environment). I will discuss the horrendous developments in my next post.

          JE comments: Would there be so much push for "regime change" in Iran if it weren't seeking to become a nuclear state? And the IRI knows that if it acquires the Bomb, there will be less international pressure for regime change. A vicious circle.

          "You nuked Japan"--it's a tu quoque argument reminiscent of the famous Soviet retort "and you are lynching Negroes":


          Admittedly, the "Nuclear Club" can never avoid accusations of hypocrisy when it seeks to deny access to new members.  But to my mind it boils down to this:  is there any way the world would become safer by the presence of a nuclear-armed Iran?
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          • Would a Nuclear Iran Make a Safer World? (Alain de Benoist, -France 05/13/12 10:37 AM)
            When commenting Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's post of 13 May, John Eipper wrote: "To my mind it boils down to this: is there any way the world would become safer by the presence of a nuclear-armed Iran?"

            My own tentative answer would be: yes, probably.

            The nuclear arms logic is a logic of mutual dissuasion. A nuclear-armed India alone would have been very dangerous. A nuclear-armed Pakistan by itself would have been very dangerous. That both Pakistan and India are nuclear-armed States creates a much safer situation by bringing out some kind of "terror equilibrium." The Israeli nuclear-arms potential is the biggest nuclear potential in the world (when it is related to the volume of population). For the time being, it is balanced by nothing. Herein lies the main danger.

            JE comments: Yes, Mutually Assured Destruction has worked for 67 years, but to channel the boilerplate on your investment prospectus, "past performance is no guarantee of future yields."

            I already know how David Krieger will reply to Alain de Benoist's argument, but I'd still be grateful if he would send a comment.

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            • Would a Nuclear Iran Make a Safer World? On Deterrence (Robert Whealey, USA 05/14/12 3:53 AM)
              A. J. P. Taylor, Oxford historian, my favorite historian, knew that the Anglo-German naval arms race did not deter war. He knew that the two defensive alliances, the Austro-German Alliance of 1879, and the French-Russian Alliances of 1892 and 1894, also failed to deter the 1914 war.

              Applying this logic to the US-Soviet rivalry, from 1945 to sometime in the 1980s, when Taylor wrote another general book on "War" and the prospects for the next US-Soviet threat of war, Taylor said quite simply: In effect, some day deterrence is not going to deter. About the same time, the SANE committee against nuclear war put out a parable about a man jumping off the top of the Empire State Building. About the 57th floor, he shouted, "deterrence is still working." Philosophers should read more history. The hundreds of decisions made in the past for all wars were made by ill-informed politicians taking risks. Logic and game theory has little to do with political or economic decisions that real people take. Having 18-20 nuke triggers is not safer than having the three nuke triggers of 1949.

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            • Would a Nuclear Iran Make a Safer World? (Francisco Wong-Diaz, USA 05/16/12 4:56 AM)
              I recommend that WAISers read Scott Sagan's Limits of Safety regarding nuclear weapons. WAISers are rehashing a number of points that are thoroughly addressed by Sagan and Kenneth Waltz in their now classic debates on The Spread of Nuclear Weapons.

              Cheers to all!

              JE comments: Yesterday I heard from two long-silent WAISers: Francisco Wong-Díaz (hope all's well, Francisco!) and a stalwart of WAISdom's past (and future, we hope), Istvan Simon. Istvan's response to Alain de Benoist will appear later today.

              I must look at the Sagan book. With regards to the rehashing well-trod points on nuclear proliferation and deterrence, are any new arguments possible?  In my view, the principal and terrifying dangers of nuclear weapons are two:  intentional use by non-state actors, or accidental deployment by anyone.  Adding members to the Nuclear Club only increases both types of dangers.


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              • Would a Nuclear Iran Make a Safer World? (Cameron Sawyer, Russia 05/17/12 4:48 AM)
                When commenting Francisco Wong-Diáz's post of 16 May, JE wrote: "In my view, the principal and terrifying dangers of nuclear weapons are two: intentional use by non-state actors, or accidental deployment by anyone. Adding members to the Nuclear Club only increases both types of dangers. "

                I agree, but wouldn't stop at intentional use by non-state actors--what about the intentional use by state actors? The more states have nuclear weapons, the greater the risk of their use. The greater the risk that some day someone just doesn't care about being deterred, and pushes the button without regard to what counter-attack will come. Or pushes the button in the mistaken belief that the other side won't do it, or won't be able to because of a devastating first strike. The greater the risk that nuclear weapons might get launched in the course of some internal instability, some coup. The greater risk that safeguards break down and a nuclear weapon is launched accidentally. The greater the risk that a nuclear weapon might get used maliciously, whether by the head of state carrying the "football" or by someone who manages to get his hands on it. The greater the risk that someone might try to use nuclear weapons for some kind of blackmail. All of this is generally understood, and is what is behind the whole idea of non-proliferation. It is bad that anyone has any nuclear weapons--diabolical weapons, suited more for the mass destruction of civilian populations than anything else. They should be eliminated altogether. But the more states that have them, the worse. So it is an entirely worthy goal to try to limit their further proliferation.

                What if, for example, Iran and/or Iraq had been armed with nuclear weapons, during the war of 1980-1988? Do we think that deterrence would have worked there? What are the risks that in the mad fury of that conflict, a nuclear war might have been started which would have led to a general conflagration? How many cities might have been destroyed in Iran, Iraq, and beyond? Thank God Iran and Iraq did not possess nuclear weapons, and God forbid, that Iran should now acquire them.

                Alain de Benoist wrote: "It should be obvious to any reasonable person that today Iran is threatened by an Israeli (and possibly American) attack, not the other way around. My personal opinion is that Iran should break any discussion with the IAEA as long as the Israelis continue to refuse any inspection of her nuclear installations by the same IAEA. International laws are to be applied to all countries, or to none of them."

                In my opinion, it is a reckless and dangerous idea (and I'm not sure that Alain was saying this, and I'm not saying he did), that any country "feeling threatened" ought to have nuclear weapons. Where does it end? Perhaps Kuwait should have nuclear weapons--it was once invaded by the Iraqis. Maybe Yemen should have them. Maybe Syria and Lebanon should have them--they have been attacked by Israel. Where does this end? I'll answer my own question:  in nuclear holocaust.

                As to Iran's breaking off discussions with the IAEA as long as the Israelis refuse--there's one big difference. Iran is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and is thus obliged to allow inspections. Israel, like other nuclear powers, is not a signatory and has no such obligations. Israel is not like other nuclear powers, in that it neither confirms nor denies, officially, that it possesses nuclear weapons. But Israel, as it is generally known, does possess nuclear weapons. I wish Isreal did not possess them--I don't think that this is a force for stability in the Middle East. And Israel has not proven to be very responsible with nuclear weapons; it attempted to sell nuclear weapons to apartheid-era South Africa, a country which was something of a rogue state at the time--a horrible violation of the principle of non-proliferation. But the fact is that Israel does have them, so it would be absurd for Israel to sign the NPT or invite inspectors in. Israel is not at all in the same position as NPT treaty signatory Iran. The analogy between IAEA inspections in Israel, and in Iran, is a false one.

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                • Nuclear Proliferation, Deterrence and the Iran-Iraq War (Alain de Benoist, -France 05/17/12 3:38 PM)
                  In his posting of 17 May, Cameron Sawyer commented on one of my recent posts and wrote: "In my opinion, it is a reckless and dangerous idea (and I'm not sure that Alain was saying this, and I'm not saying he did), that any country ‘feeling threatened' ought to have nuclear weapons."

                  I agree. To say that any country "feeling threatened" ought to have nuclear weapons would be perfectly stupid. Indeed, it would be a reckless and dangerous idea. That's why I never expressed (nor intended to suggest) it.

                  Concerning nuclear proliferation, Cameron also asked a question: "What if, for example, Iran and/or Iraq had been armed with nuclear weapons, during the war of 1980-1988?"

                  My feeling is that, in that case, the war waged by Iraq against Iran would not have happened (nuclear weapons, today, do not appear suddenly during a war; they are the results of years and years of research and building, about which belligerents are very well informed).*

                  There were several wars between India and Pakistan when none of these countries had any nuclear weapons. Now that both of them have such weapons, no new war has erupted between them. This is not a proof of anything, but an observation which has been made by many observers in the world.

                  In the same post, Cameron wrote also: "As to Iran's breaking off discussions with the IAEA as long as the Israelis refuse--there's one big difference. Iran is a party to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, and is thus obliged to allow inspections. Israel, like other nuclear powers, is not a signatory and has no such obligations."

                  So far, so good. But this is a very interesting argument. No signature, no obligations! Does this mean that had Iran not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, it could very well build a nuclear arsenal without having to submit to any obligation? Does Cameron really believes that, in such a case, nobody would object to anything in the Iranian nuclear program? In other words, that the US and the so-called "international community" would treat Iran with the same indifference, that is de facto approval, given to the Israeli nuclear program ? Of course not. The indifference toward the Israeli nuclear program is just a consequence of the unconditional devotion for Israel which exists among the politicians and the public opinion in the US (and nowhere else). But, by the way, what is the more dangerous and reprehensible: to build a nuclear arsenal while ignoring completely the Non-Proliferation Treaty, beyond any control, or to discuss the range of IAEA inspections after having signed the Treaty?

                  I think that the WAIS discussions on Iran are above all very boring. I do not find any interest in discussing if the Iranian leaders are good guys, bad guys, fanatic people, rational people, to know if they want the bomb, or do not want it, or could want it in the future, etc. These are just pretexts, like the supposed Iraqi "weapons of mass destruction." What should be obvious to any informed person is that the reason for the tension between Iran and the US is not religion, nuclear activities, the nature of the regime, terrorism, even politics. The only reason is that the American superpower cannot accept that a big country occupying a decisive geopolitical position in the Middle East is not a pro-American power. The US wants to get rid of all countries which are not ready to enter a juicy partnership with (and profitable for) Washington. The US does not want that these countries should be able to secure their own territory, because some day they could very well be attacked and/or invaded. That's all. The rest is just gossip.

                  *I have some personal memories of the war between Iraq and Iran. During this war, I was for some time on the front line, where I did war reportage for an important French newspaper. Near Bassorah, we were taken under bombardment and I just missed being killed by the Iraqi artillery. Some years later, I supported Iraq against the Western aggression. There is some irony in history.

                  JE comments: I had no idea Alain de Benoist was present in the Iran-Iraq war; it must have been a horrific thing to witness. It's not Alain's style to talk about himself, but I know many WAISers would want to know more details.

                  Are our discussions on Iran boring?  Let me just say that I've never developed such a intense relationship with a country I've never visited.  In WAISdom, the same Iran arguments get re-hashed, then quiet down, only to reappear in a few months.  Colleagues talk past each other; no one's mind is changed.  Is this boring?  I'll let others weigh in.

                  There are a couple more Iran posts in the queue.  I'll leave them for tomorrow.

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                  • Nuclear Proliferation, Deterrence and the Iran-Iraq War (Istvan Simon, USA 05/19/12 5:24 AM)
                    Alain de Benoist said on May 17 that he felt that if Iraq and/or Iran had nuclear weapons, then the Iraq/Iran war would not have happened.

                    If so, how does Alain explain the Korean war? The Vietnam war? The attack of Egypt on Israel in 1973? In each of these wars at least one party had nuclear weapons, which was known to the other party, and yet did not deter the non-nuclear power from fighting the nuclear power. Or a second nuclear power from being a party to the conflict, as in the case of the Korean war. How does Alain account for MIG Alley, the direct, though surreptitious, participation of the Soviet Union in the war involving another nuclear power, the US?

                    see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MiG_Alley

                    On the legal consequences of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, Alain said: "So far, so good. But this is a very interesting argument. No signature, no obligations!"

                    This is not an argument. It is a fact that shows a weakness of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. Alain's summary is also somewhat misleading, I assume unintentionally. That is because the signing of the treaty is voluntary, like the signing of any contract, and therefore involves obligations on the parties signing it, but to induce the non-nuclear powers to sign it, the treaty also confers important benefits which Alain omitted.

                    He goes on: "Does Cameron Sawyer really believe that, in such a case, nobody would object to anything in the Iranian nuclear program? In other words, that the US and the so-called 'international community' would treat Iran with the same indifference, that is de facto approval, given to the Israeli nuclear program?"

                    I leave it to Cameron to respond, but why is this relevant? Is not Alain a frequent defender of absolute sovereignty? Does not that imply that the international community has every right to object (or for that matter, not object), if they wish to do so, as sovereigns? And likewise, does not it also imply that Iran, or North Korea, or Israel, or Pakistan, or India can do whatever they wish to do in response? Why is Alain so singularly concerned with Israel? Why not "indifference and de facto approval" of the Pakistani nuclear program say, which by the way, unlike the Israeli one, happened years after the signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty?

                    JE comments: Istvan Simon mentions the US-Soviet proxy wars in Korea and Vietnam.  In Korea, there was real combat between Soviet and US airmen.  Do we forget how easily this might have escalated to an all-out confrontation between the two nations, where nukes would have come into play?  Duck and cover, friends.

                    Istvan also brings up Pakistan's nuclear capability, which I find at least as scary as North Korea's (or the possibility that Iran will acquire the Bomb in the future). Unlike North Korea, Pakistan does not even have control over its own territory. How secure are Pakistan's nukes? The world seems to be sticking its head in the sand here.

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                    • Nuclear Proliferation, Deterrence and the Iran-Iraq War (Alain de Benoist, -France 05/20/12 4:17 AM)
                      Istvan Simon (19 May) wrote: "Alain de Benoist said on May 17 that he felt that if Iraq and/or Iran had nuclear weapons, then the Iraq/Iran war would not have happened. If so, how does Alain explain the Korean war? The Vietnam war? The attack of Egypt on Israel in 1973?"

                      The wars in Korea and Vietnam were US-Soviet proxy wars, which involved a third party (the Koreans, the Vietnamese). I may be wrong, but I do not think that either the US or the Soviet Union ever considered engaging their nuclear arsenal in these wars. The Egyptian-Israeli war of 1973 was completely different. Had the Egyptian forces taken a decisive advantage, I think that the Israelis would not have hesitated to use nuclear bombs against them.

                      Istvan also wrote: "Is not Alain a frequent defender of absolute sovereignty? Does not that imply that the international community has every right to object (or for that matter, not object), if they wish to do so, as sovereigns?"

                      I do not understand what Istvan means. What I know is that I have never spoken in favor of an "absolute sovereignty" (this is the Bodinian conception of sovereignty, not mine). And that an "international community" just does not exist.

                      JE comments:  Hasn't it been revealed that the US seriously considered using nukes during the Korean war?  See this item on the Defense documents recently de-classified after 60 years.  The note appears on the "Pakistan Defence" website.  Interesting.


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          • Regime Change in Iran (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/14/12 4:01 AM)
            Although I fully intended to bring to WAISers' attention a matter of grave concern, I cannot ignore JE's comment to my post of May 13.

            JE wrote: "Would there be so much push for 'regime change' in Iran if it weren't seeking to become a nuclear state? And the IRI knows that if it acquires the Bomb, there will be less international pressure for regime change. A vicious circle.

            "'You nuked Japan'--it's a tu quoque argument reminiscent of the famous Soviet retort 'and you are lynching Negroes.'"

            I do not mean to be offensive, but I find it hard to respond in a more "diplomatic" way. I hope that JE will forgive my shortcoming.

            The very remark linking "regime change" to the desire to becoming a "nuclear state" is the reflection of propaganda's effectiveness. If the media is capable of telling someone with higher education and exposure to the minds in this Forum what they should believe (not what is factual), then the rest of the country who for the most part spends their days and nights in front of the television, have no chance. However, if the media has shaped the idea that Iran is developing a bomb, foremost per pro-Israel lobbies, the government, and corporation instructions which are joined at the hip with the military industrial complex, then to argue differently is a lost cause--at least in this Forum. Minds have been made up, and as the saying goes, a closed mind is like a closed fist--you can't put anything in it.

            Before closing the door on the subject, I remind JE and other WAISers that none of the regime changes undertaken by the US government (not just Iran in 1953) had anything to do with nuclear development. America survives by exploiting other countries. The IRI basically challenged a superpower and closed the door on its dictates and exploitations. No wonder the US was eager to stage another coup in 1980, as mentioned in this Forum before.

            As for nukes, or nuking, America has always threatened to nuke other countries, including China and N. Korea. I think those who have studied history would know this.

            What is far more disturbing is that the "nuking" trend has not ended--only this time, the US has far grander ambitions. 1.4 billion people have offended the US for being Muslim.

            In 2007, I wrote a post about Ann Coulter who came to USC while I was a graduate student there, and with a smirk, responded to a young student who had asked her opinion about what should be done to the "Muslims who go around take out their swords and want to kill and convert everyone." (Seriously, in the 21st century, do they even make swords any more?) After delivering a few words here and there about pain, Coulter remarked, "We dropped a couple of bombs on Japan and they are as tame as sheep, a few well placed bombs should do it."

            In retrospect, it seems that she did not just pull this idea out of a hat. This was what the US army officers were being taught--and worse.

            "The US military taught its future leaders that a 'total war' against the world's 1.4 billion Muslims would be necessary to protect America from Islamic terrorists, according to documents obtained by Danger Room. Among the options considered for that conflict: using the lessons of Hiroshima to wipe out whole cities at once, targeting the 'civilian population wherever necessary.'"

            See here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/11/anti-islam-teachings-us-law-enforcement


            After years of teaching hatred and bigotry, the course was suspended last month. Curiously, General Demsey (first article link) has said: "It was totally objectionable, against our values and it wasn't academically sound."


            What values would that be? Should we take the 2008 presidential campaigns as a reflection of those values?

            Former New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, made the threat of Islamic terrorism the centerpiece of his campaign. He brought two neoconservatives on board with him as advisors: Daniel Pipes, the man who headed "Campus Watch" to ensure that all education in this country is pro-Zionist, and Peter King, senior Republican Congressman on the House Homeland Security Committee who is of the opinion that there are "too many mosques in this country." Podhoretz also joined Giuliani (now with McCain), as did John Deady, who resigned after it came out that he said the following of Giuliani: "He's got, I believe, the knowledge and the judgment to attack one of the most difficult problems in current history and that is the rise of the Muslims. Make no mistake about it, this hasn't happened for a thousand years, these people are very dedicated and they're also very, very smart in their own way. We need to keep the feet to the fire and keep pressing these people until we defeat or chase them back to their caves or, in other words, get rid of them."

            The wars we are currently engaged in, the killings we support with our taxes, the starving and killing children, or do we look to Japan, or the genocide of the native Indians? Just what are the values we hold dear in this country? Is life sacred only if it is a fetus? The fact that Theodore Roosevelt claimed: "Democracy has justified itself by keeping for the white race the best portion's of the earth's surface." Or General Arthur MacArthur (father of Douglas), saying: "America's wonderful thrust into Asia was the destiny of the magnificent Aryan people."

            Anyone with a sense for justice would simply laugh (though a sad laugh as mine is) at the thought of America looking for regime change because Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons.

            JE comments: If all this is the case, then why doesn't the IRI call America's bluff by swearing off all nuclear development, making it a verifiable commitment, and building an international coalition--a revived "non-aligned bloc"--against the nefarious US ambitions?  The first to benefit would be the Iranian people, as their standard of living would increase markedly once sanctions are eliminated.

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            • Regime Change in Iran (Nigel Jones, -UK 05/15/12 3:56 AM)
              Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich (14 May) writes that "a closed mind is like a closed fist." How very true.

              But this works both ways, and I would venture to suggest that in the majority of her posts I've read, she demonstrates all to clearly that her own mind, on the subject of her preferred topic, is not only closed but securely locked and bolted too.

              Any suggestion that Iran, far from being a happy, peace-loving land, is a brutal and murderous dictatorship led by obscurantist Mullahs bent on regional domination, and with a documented record of murder, torture and thuggery, who are now embarked on a dangerous programme of acquiring nuclear weapons in order to further their aims would, I suggest, not be well received by Soraya's "open" mind.

              JE comments:  Next up, Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's response to my comments of yesterday.

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            • Are We Victims of Anti-Iran Propaganda? (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/15/12 4:05 AM)
              When commenting my post of May 14, JE wrote:  "If all [what Soraya writes] is the case, then why doesn't the IRI call America's bluff by swearing off all nuclear development, making it a verifiable commitment, and building an international coalition--a revived 'non-aligned bloc'--against the nefarious US ambitions? The first to benefit would be the Iranian people, as their standard of living would increase markedly once sanctions are eliminated."

              JE's comment typifies the mindset and the state of affairs in the world at least since the end of the Cold War (tactics used before were similar), and the cause for so much misinformation in societies today, specifically those which brag of being "civilized," "democratic," and educated.

              Instead of noting and commenting on the planned genocide, of the ugly bigotry, and of training army officers to wage war against 1.4 billion simply because they were born into a faith (the culprit being geography more than anything--is not faith an accident of birth, aside from the very few who do convert to other religions?); instead of condemning such horrendous teachings and practices in America, the ugly revelations are being diverted to focus on Iran. This is exactly what effective propaganda does. Basically, look over there while we kill and steal over here and plan our genocide in peace. The same is true of Israel. When Israel holds 1.5 million in an outdoor prison, violates Geneva Conventions, and steals Palestinian land with American aid (incidentally, aid to Israel has been increased while Americans are more needy than ever), instead of Israel being condemned, the finger is being pointed at Iran for being a threat to Israel!

              It boggles my mind how the importance of the military college training was ignored and instead this question was posed.

              If the more educated, the more informed people in this country, and all those who take pride in being American, spoke up against such indecency and inhumanity, then one might be compelled to think that the government and the military do not represent the American people. But when these deeds and acts are ignored and instead attention is diverted to emphasize misinformation, then it is hard to distinguish between the American people and the crimes being committed in their name. I do take comfort in the fact that two people I know, one a Forum member and the other a magnificent scholar, was shocked by the war college courses and found it abhorrent. I hope many other Americans share their disgust and act on it.

              Since a diversionary question has been posed instead of taking note of the shocking revelations, then I will address the question, though I find it reluctant, especially since much of what is mentioned in this Forum is either not read, neglected, or forgotten, or else the question would not have been posed.

              Iran did suspend its nuclear activities in 2003 for two years. This was around the time Iran helped America in its war against the Taliban. But the result was calling Iran part of an "axis of evil," and funding a terrorist group, the MEK, to create havoc and unrest inside Iran. America also funded "dissidents" to undermine the regime under the guise of "human rights." Years later, under different presidents, both in Iran and in America, Iran accepted to cooperate with the nuclear fuel swap deal. But America changed its mind. Why? It is not the nuclear program that is at issue; it is the regime. US wants a compliant regime in Iran, and one that would continue to support Israel in its murders and expansions, as the Shah did.

              The United States is aware that Iran is not building a bomb. The State Department and Iran even cooperating in the field isotope-derived medicine (20% enriched). I am re-posting an article which I hope would be read, and which I hope will help understand where Iran is coming from: http://www.opednews.com/articles/The-Lobby-Versus-Science-by-Soraya-091212-525.html

              It would also be interesting to look at the Shah's picture as a poster boy for Edison (below). I guess advertisers decided that none of the Iranian leaders to date make a handsome poster boy for America to sell its products!

              As for lifting of sanctions on Iran, again, as mentioned before on this Forum, the US standard of living would increase. Lifting of sanctions would result in billions of dollars of savings a year in this country, and bring badly needed jobs. The government is depriving American people, it is not just Iranians. Again, not something the mainstream media will discuss.

              As for building a non-aligned bloc, there is a non-aligned bloc against US ambitions. BRICS, the NAM, and many other countries opposed US ambitions and are resisting it. Just because we don't hear it on CNN, it does not mean it is non-existent. The biggest threat America faces is itself, how it is conducting its foreign policy, and keeping the people in the dark.

              By way of a postscript, I hope this link below again confirms what I have said about Iran and the nuclear program. WAISers may wish to take it to someone who speaks Farsi to verify my claim.

              In his interview with BBC-Persian (shown on 13 May 2012), James Blitz, Defense & Diplomatic Editor of Financial Times of London, said that even if Iran complies with the illegal western demands in the coming Baghdad meeting, the western states will not lift the [illegal and inhumane] sanctions.

              Fast Forward to 21 minute point to watch the interview;


              JE comments: I received this note from Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich yesterday afternoon, but decided to postpone my drubbing until first thing in the morning. Am I, like nearly all my compatriots, a mindless pawn of the anti-Iran, pro-Israeli mainstream media?

              It seems to me that defenses of the IRI's nuclear research oscillate between denying that a bomb program exists and asserting Iran's right to become a nuclear state. Is it possible to argue both things simultaneously?

              According to the Guardian (UK), the Islamophobic course taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, was canceled, which shows that the system of checks and balances often works. Can any of our military experts tell us more about the Joint Forces Staff College?  What is its purpose, and how, for example, does its mission differ from that of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania?

              Finally, here's the "Shah's Nukes" advert as a jpg image.  I hope it transmits properly.  Presumably it's from the early 1970s.  I am (truly!) grateful that Soraya has sent this image to remind us of the time when the Shah was portrayed as both an enlightened leader and one of America's best friends:


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              • Shah and Nuclear Energy Ad (John Eipper, USA 05/15/12 4:50 AM)
                The image attached to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's post of 15 May didn't send properly via e-mail. Here's the link to Soraya's full posting on our website:


                Sorry for the inconvenience. I'll investigate the problem.  Will I solve the problem?  Hmm...

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              • Are We Victims of Anti-Iran Propaganda? IAEA-Iran Talks in Vienna (Boris Volodarsky, Austria 05/15/12 7:25 AM)

                Is it true that in August 2010 Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, a regular columnist for CASMII (Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran), was present at the "Grand Conference of Iranians Living Abroad" organized by Iran's President Ahmadinejad?

                In the meantime, here is the latest update from Vienna. As WAISers may know, the so-called additional talks between Iran and the IAEA are in progress these days (14-15 May). Last night (Monday, 14 May), a drawing was made public by a Vienna AP correspondent showing a containment chamber for testing multipoint explosives used to set off a nuclear charge. The drawing presumably comes from a source at the Parchin site that, alongside the deeply buried Fordow fuel enrichment plant, is the biggest concern of the IAEA safeguard experts. This morning (Tuesday, 15 May), Iran again refused to admit the IAEA observers to Parchin while the latest satellite image shows that some sort of activity, never observed before, is taking place outside the building that contains the above-mentioned chamber.

                The drawing that surfaced yesterday is not a "provocation," as Ms Sepahpour-Ulrich may suggest. It actually confirms two previous photos that were published earlier by the IAEA. Soraya (15 May) tells us that in 2003 Iran suspended its nuclear activities for two years. However, the November 2011 and February 2012 reports of the IAEA director general clearly express concerns that the amount of centrifuges installed at several sites (Natanz, Fodrow, Parchin et al) and the stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent U-235 (not to mention already tested detonators for nuclear weapons at Parchin) not only may produce a situation when Iran will be ready to build a Bomb, but in fact are evidence that this situation is a reality today. As is well known, in early March the head of MI6 gave a top-secret briefing to the Cabinet about the growing threat posed by the Iranian regime, which is thought to be seeking an "intercontinental missile capability." I wonder what Ms Sepahpour-Ulrich may say to this. Indeed, the capital question is (thank you, John E), "Is the world going to be safer with a nuclear Iran, i.e. with nuclear weaponized Iran?"

                JE comments:  My thanks to Boris Volodarsky for this update from Vienna.  Admittedly there's a lot of anti-Iran propaganda out there, but I am convinced that the IRI is doing all it can to develop the Bomb.

                I'll let Soraya address whether or not she participated in the 2010 "Grand Conference of Iranians Living Abroad."  Estimates range from "several hundred" to 1500 members of the Iranian diaspora in attendance, with the government reportedly covering travel expenses.  According to this NYT article, many of them received a "chilly reception" from the government authorities:


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                • Are We Victims of Anti-Iran Propaganda? (Alain de Benoist, -France 05/15/12 3:58 PM)
                  A short reflexion on Iran, after reading Boris Volodarsky's post of 15 May.

                  It should be obvious to any reasonable person that today Iran is threatened by an Israeli (and possibly American) attack, not the other way around.

                  My personal opinion is that Iran should break any discussion with the IAEA as long as the Israelis continue to refuse any inspection of her nuclear installations by the same IAEA. International laws are to be applied to all countries, or to none of them.

                  JE comments: I pride myself on being reasonable, but I feel no threat from a nuclear-armed Israel. I cannot say the same thing about Iran...but then again, Pakistan and North Korea have nukes, and both nations strike me as far more volatile actors on the world stage.  I should spend more nights lying awake.

                  Were I an Iranian in Iran, though, I would feel an existential threat from Israel. I'd also silently hope that my government would stop its provocative anti-Israel rhetoric.

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                  • Iran and the IAEA (Istvan Simon, USA 05/16/12 2:32 PM)
                    Alain de Benoist wrote on 15 May: "It should be obvious to any reasonable person that today Iran is threatened by an Israeli (and possibly American) attack, not the other way around."

                    I would suggest that this is far from obvious to "any reasonable person."

                    To begin with, we might recall that Israel and Iran had peaceful and cordial relations prior to the installation of the present regime in Iran, and that there was no historical hostility between the Iranian people and Israel. Indeed, when Iran was attacked by Iraq, Iran suddenly found out that the policy of the ayatollahs of systematically killing professional Iranian officers and airmen as a reprisal against their prior support of the Shah, while also antagonizing the United States at every step, was not a brilliant idea after all. It resulted in the Iranian air force not having either enough pilots that could fly their planes, nor many planes that would fly, for lack of parts for their American-supplied war planes. It was Israel that helped Iran by supplying it with critical parts for their air force in their hour of need. Then we might recall that the Ayatollah Khomeini, perhaps in a display of extraordinary reasonableness (in Alain's view), threatened Israel with "erasing it from the book of time."  There has been quite a lot of obfuscation invented later by various defenders and sympathizers of the ayatollah who probably also would like to erase Israel from the book of time, about inaccurate translations. Nonetheless, to me it seems quite reasonable to infer from any of the translations that I have seen, that this statement is an unambiguous threat against the very existence of Israel, and an incitement to hatred. Then we might recall next, the creation and arming and training of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and the arming of Hamas, through which Iran has been conducting a proxy war against Israel, and I might add Lebanon itself. Hezbollah, in particular, got into the nasty habit of bombarding Israeli towns with Katyusha rockets from time to time, and kidnapping Israelis from Israeli soil. When Israel attacked Lebanon to put an end to this, Hezbollah bombarded Israeli towns with thousands of Katyusha rockets. Mr. Nasrallah has admitted after the war that the previous attacks on Israel had been a mistake that provoked the Israeli attack, and as far as I know has avoided sending further Katyushas towards Israel from Lebanese soil since. This result puts in considerable doubt the highly trumpeted "victory" of Hezbollah, in the propaganda war that followed the fighting, claimed of course as soon as the attack was stopped by the intervention of the UN Security Council.

                    I would like to add that I do not support Prime Minister Netanyahu's policies in general, nor his threats to attack Iran's nuclear installations, though I understand why he would make such threats, given the history of hostile policies and actions of the Islamic Republic towards Israel in the last 33 years. I should also add that the Holocaust denial of President Ahmedinejad is not helpful towards peace, nor reasonable, and also shows that it is a lie that the Islamic Republic's policies are against "Zionism" and not anti-Semitic. Holocaust denial is clearly very much anti-Semitic, and an indecent attack against all Jews. As was the terrorist attack on the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, which murdered 80 innocent Argentinian Jews, which resulted in Interpol arrest warrants against current members of the Iranian government.

                    Alain further stated: "My personal opinion is that Iran should break any discussion with the IAEA as long as the Israelis continue to refuse any inspection of her nuclear installations by the same IAEA. International laws are to be applied to all countries, or to none of them."

                    Alain is of course entitled to any personal opinion. My understanding of this question is that Israel is not a signatory to the non-proliferation treaty, and neither is India nor Pakistan. North Korea withdrew from the treaty after having originally signed it. None of these countries is therefore subject to IAEA inspections by International law, because it is the signing of the non-proliferation treaty that subjects them to legal inspections in the first place. Iran signed the treaty, and therefore subject to IAEA inspections. Presumably, Iran could withdraw from the treaty, as North Korea did, but so far apparently has chosen not to do so, while at the same time not complying with its requirements.

                    JE comments: It's been a very long time since we last heard from Istvan Simon. WAISers from 2009 and earlier vintages remember him as one of our most active contributors.  Welcome back to WAIS, Istvan! I've missed you.  Look forward to catching up on the phone sometime soon.

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                    • Iran and IAEA (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/19/12 4:27 AM)
                      This post is in response to Istvan Simon's post of May 16. However, before I proceed, I would like to address JE's comment to my last post (May 17), in which he said:

                      "I believe it is legitimate to question the use of any 'vast Jewish cabal' argument, however subtly constructed, as in the case of Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's reference to Katie Couric's Jewish ancestors. Wouldn't it have been sufficient to suggest that Couric seemed excessively deferential in her Netanyahu interview?"

                      SSU: I admire JE's dedication to his work as editor of this Forum. He does it with enthusiasm and passion. [Thanks!--JE.] Being an editor in this Forum is not easy. The balancing act is something that requires courage and diplomacy. Kudos to John E. That said, it is not his job to manage what I write or how I write, outside this Forum. If he wants to make a comment, he can go to the site where the article was posted http://www.opednews.com/articles/Who-s-The-Boss-by-Soraya-100708-582.html , or here: http://www.countercurrents.org/ulrich080710.htm. He can post there that he objects to what I wrote. But to imagine one can possibly take the liberty of telling me what to think, or how to write it for non-WAIS forums, is ridiculous. In case we have forgotten, we are changing regimes, arming, dropping bombs or drone killing other people to teach them our "values" (First Amendment being one of the most important of those values). Why the insistence to become the very people we despise?

                      I think it high time that we put the witch-hunt behind us. It is unbecoming of Americans, and certainly of a forum that boasts of being intellectual.

                      To my article--In my opinion, and in the opinion of many, there is a concerted effort to force America to act in Israel's interest at its own expense. While many of those who are responsible for hijacking America are of Jewish ancestry, there are many Christians--Evangelicals in particular, who are equally responsible, if not more so. Katie Couric is a mouthpiece, though I certainly don't believe her to be the brains behind the scene. At the same time, there are many activists of Jewish ancestry who speak out against this, are peacemakers, and activists who try hard to promote social justice. Among them is a general's son--Miko Peled (his book The General's Son is worthwhile reading), as well as Finkelstein, Peter Falk, Gilad Atzmon, Jews for Peace, etc.; not to mention all the non-Jewish Americans who have spoken out against the influence of the various pro-Israel lobbies, including former Congressional members, ambassadors, etc. In fact, recently, American Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro, confirmed to the crowd at the Jewish People Policy Institute that America's support for Israel drives US foreign policy (http://www.councilforthenationalinterest.org/news/opinion-a-analysis/item/770-us-ambassador-support-for-israel-drives-all-us-policies ).

                      I am but a small fish in the ocean of discontent.

                      To Istvan Simon (IS)'s post:

                      Welcome, Istvan!

                      IS wrote that Israel and Iran had a peaceful and cordial relation prior to the Revolution.

                      SSU: The Shah and Israel had cordial relations. The people of Iran had no part in any decision the Shah made. What the people felt towards Israelis depended on a person's levels of exposure, education, and often, socio-economic class--and in those times, there was a direct correlation between education, exposure, and socio-economic class. If one thinks censorship is an issue in Iran today, under the Shah, it was far, far worse. The difference being that America aided the Shah in this.

                      IS: "It was Israel that helped Iran by supplying it with critical parts for their air force in their hour of need."

                      SSU: I have no idea where IS gets this information. I hope he will provide a link. According to various sources (Mansour Farhang, "The Iran-Iraq War: The Feud, the Tragedy, the Spoils," World Policy Journal, vol. 2, Fall 1985, p. 668; see also Cordesman, Iran-Iraq War, pp. 23-36; Nita M. Renfrew, "Who Started the War?" Foreign Policy, no. 66, Spring 1987, pp. 104-06), Israel provided arms to Iran, hoping to bleed the combatants by prolonging the war. And at least ten nations sold arms to both of the warring sides. In 1985 and '86, Israel transferred large quantities of US-origin weapons to Iran (Tower Commission, p. 388). I also suggest reading Operation Staunch. There was no "friendship" involved.

                      Istvan implies in his post that Israel armed (or as he puts it, provided spare parts to) Iran prior to Ayatollah's speech about "erasing it from the book of time." This is inaccurate, both the timing and the implied message behind the translation. Israel, according to the sources stated above (among others), supplied Iran with arms even years after Khomeini said in 1979: "een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad." Anyone interested in learning more, can go to this site and learn of the meaning and context in which it was said (http://www.mohammadmossadegh.com/news/rumor-of-the-century/ )

                      IS wrote: "There has been quite a lot of obfuscation invented later by various defenders and sympathizers of the ayatollah who probably also would like to erase Israel from the book of time, about inaccurate translations."

                      SSU: I would then argue that chief among the sympathizers is the ADL (Anti Defamation League (http://www.adl.org/). According to these sympathizers, ADL opined that Khomeini's intent at the time was to delegitimize Israel and it was "nothing but rhetoric." I quote from their link: "From the very beginning, Khomeni and his crowd have spent much effort trying to delegitimize Zionism and the Jewish state. Yet there was something different about Ahmadinejad's statement last week, and we need to focus in on that in order to understand the reactions and to assess what to do about it.

                      "The fundamental difference lies in the fact that earlier Iranian anti-Israel propaganda fell into the category of rhetoric--dangerous because such hatred poisons minds and sets the stage for destructive behavior, but nonetheless only rhetoric. Ideally, such rhetoric needed to be dealt with early on, but the reluctance to do so stemmed from a variety of reasons, most of all because of a lack of a sense of urgency." http://www.adl.org/ADL_Opinions/Anti_Semitism_Arab/Forward_110405.htm

                      According to another "sympathizer," the Israeli Deputy Dan Meridor, Ahmadinejad (who was quoting Khomeini) never said "Israel must be wiped off the map." Here is the link to the NYT article which includes the video: http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/17/israeli-minister-agrees-ahmadinejad-never-said-israel-must-be-wiped-off-the-map/

                      I am not certain which Lebanon war Istvan is referring to--Israel has invaded Lebanon on several occasions. If he is talking about the 1982 war, then what he says is false. I encourage reading an article (yes mine) previously submitted to the Forum. Although I am the author, it cites various sources including Haaretz. Here is the link:


                      IS: "Mr. Nasrallah has admitted after the war that the previous attacks on Israel had been a mistake that provoked the Israeli attack, and as far as I know has avoided sending further Katyushas towards Israel from Lebanese soil since."

                      SSU: I would very much appreciate a link/source to what Istvan claims Nasrallah said. I find it highly dubious.

                      IS: "I should also add that the Holocaust denial of President Ahmedinejad is not helpful towards peace, nor reasonable, and also shows that it is a lie that the Islamic Republic's policies are against 'Zionism' and not anti-Semitic."

                      SSU: I agree that Ahmadinejad's comments about the Holocaust are not helpful towards peace (towards anything!), nor reasonable. However, I think for Istvan or anyone else to draw the conclusion that the IRI is anti-Semitic is false. I suggest looking to moderate allies and absorb the position of Jews versus Iran. Let us not forget that over 20,000 Jewish people live in Iran and have refused to leave even while tempted with monetary aid from Israel. If the IRI/Ahmadinejad were anti-Semitic, I am sure that Jews would not rush to welcome him to New York--anti-Zionist Jews that is. I know we can all do searches, but here is one:


                      As for the 1994 Buenos Aires bombings, this has been discussed before--I would not waste the Forum's time, but if interested, I am happy to repost.

                      Finally, IS brings up the old argument presented by neocons that "Israel is not a signatory to the NPT"--excusing it from making bombs. This puts Israel in the group of nuclear-armed pariah states. Let's us make an analogy. I don't have a gun license, so it is okay for me to have a loaded gun at home and threaten to shoot if I don't get my way--and there is nothing illegal about it because I don't have a license and therefore not bound by the laws and regulations of firearms. Further, Israel is not a signatory to the NPT, but its biggest ally and supporter, the US, is a member (as are other countries which provide it with arms, including German nuclear submarines). The providers not only violate the NPT, but they also violate the NSG (Nuclear Suppliers Group http://www.nuclearsuppliersgroup.org/Leng/default.htm )

                      As to why Iran does not leave the NPT--it boggles my mind. Not because I am of the opinion that they should leave the NPT to build bombs, but because the NPT is being misused to effect regime change.

                      I'd like add the latest remarks by Ambassador Shapiro:

                      The US military option for Iran is "ready," American ambassador to Israel says:


                      JE comments:  I don't try to "manage" what any WAISer says or writes outside of these walls.  It's enough work for me to ensure that WAIS stays fair and respectful to all--as well as informative and interesting.  A very tall order.

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                      • Israel and Iran (Istvan Simon, USA 05/26/12 3:59 PM)
                        This post returns to some of the themes that I wrote about on May 16, and I hope will also clarify the points that were apparently misunderstood by Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich in her May 19 reply.

                        I had said that Iran and Israel had cordial relations during the Shah's regime. Soraya admitted that the Shah and Israel had cordial relations, but said that the Iranian people had nothing to do with it. She stated that some people in Iran may have approved this policy, while others disapproved. This distinction between the Shah and Iran and whether the Iranian people had supported the policy at the time may be an interesting topic for future discussions, but it is a distraction from the focus of my post. So I will not address it here.

                        The reason for mentioning the cordial relations was not to compare the Shah to the current regime, but rather to point out that if Iran wished better relations with Israel, it could tone down its hostile anti-Israeli rhetoric as well as conducting the proxy war against Israel through Hezbollah and Hamas. Should Iran choose to do so, I think that it would be quite natural for Israel to also abandon its anti-Iranian rhetoric and return to its traditional peaceful relations with Iran that existed prior to 1979. This would be a very significant development towards peace in the region. Unfortunately, I do not have much hope that this will actually happen any time soon, because I believe that the current Iranian regime uses the strident anti-Israeli rhetoric, as well as its proxy wars through Hezbollah and Hamas, for its own geopolitical objectives in the region, that have little to do with Israel, the Palestinians, or Lebanon.

                        I said in my May 16 post that Israel had helped Iran in its hour of need, during the Iraq-Iran war, by supplying Iran with critically needed parts for its air force, which due to unwise policies of the Khomeini regime, was nearly useless at the time. Soraya conceded the point, while adding that the help had nothing to do with "friendship." But I had not said that Israel helped Iran because of friendship. If Israel's help, whatever the motivation, had been harmful to Iran, all that Iran would have had to do was not accept the help. In fact, I do not believe that Israel's motivation was to prolong the war to weaken both Iraq and Iran, as Soraya contended, but rather it chose Iran over Iraq as the "lesser of two evils" from the Israeli point of view. This is reinforced by the separate act of Israel that was a huge help to Iran during the war, when in 1981 it destroyed Iraq's nuclear capability, something that Iran had tried but failed to achieve. Israel's motivation was once again self-interest, but it is undeniable and self-evident that this was also very helpful to Iran in the war.

                        I mentioned next the (by now infamous) Ayatollah Khomeini quote, in which he threatened to erase Israel from the book of time. Soraya responded that I had implied by this that Khomeini's speech was after Israel's help to Iran. Actually, I had meant no such implication. The sequence of sentences in my post was simply in logical, not in chronological order. Nowhere in my post was any indication that chronology was my intent. I welcome Soraya's clarifying that Khomeini had uttered the fateful quote before Israel's help. But this only reinforces my point rather than contradicts it. Clearly, if Israel was still willing to help Iran after such an existential threat, its goal could not have been the destruction of Iran. This interpretation is also consistent with the view expressed in the ADL quote that Soraya provided, that in 1979 this may have been interpreted by Israel as mere rhetoric, because the IRI did not have the missiles nor the bombs to actually carry out the threat at the time. But the military power of Iran greatly increased since then, so the repetition of such threats by president Ahmadinejad and other high military officers is more credible and menacing to Israel, especially if Iran were to acquire nuclear weapons, in spite of its government's frequent assurances that it has no intention of doing so, often repeated by Soraya in this Forum.

                        Regarding Hezbollah, I said that Mr. Nasrallah has admitted after the (2006) war that the previous attacks on Israel had been a mistake that provoked the Israeli attack. Though the 2006 reference was not in my original May 16 post, I could not have meant the 1982 war, as Soraya understood, because no Katyusha attacks or kidnappings by Hezbollah had occurred prior to that war. In any case, Soraya found my assertion on Nasrallah highly dubious. Yet the fact had been widely reported in most newspapers at the time, for example by the BBC. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/5291420.stm

                        Finally, in my May 16 post I cited two specific examples of undeniably anti-Semitic acts by the Islamic Republic: President Ahmadinejad's repeated and persistent Holocaust denial and the terrorist attack on the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires that murdered 80 innocent Argentinian Jews that clearly had nothing to do with Israel. Soraya agreed with my statement that Holocaust denial is neither helpful towards peace nor reasonable, but claimed that I could not conclude that the IRI is anti-Semitic. She countered: "I suggest looking to moderate allies and absorb the position of Jews versus Iran. Let us not forget that over 20,000 Jewish people live in Iran and have refused to leave even while tempted with monetary aid from Israel."

                        Applying the same reasoning to Israel would negate most of Soraya's numerous claims about Israel here and elsewhere. There are not 20,000 but over a million Muslim Arab citizens in Israel, none of whom seems eager to depart. Also noteworthy is the fact that at the time the Islamic Republic came into existence in 1979, the Jewish population in Iran numbered 80,000.

                        JE comments: My thanks to Istvan Simon for this thoughtful analysis. We might make one distinction between the Jewish population of Iran and the Palestinians in Israel: the latter have no religious "homeland" to emigrate to. I'd like to know more about the 20,000-strong Iranian Jewish community, which I assume has roots in Persia going back centuries or even millennia.

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                • Are We Victims of Anti-Iran Propaganda? Response to Boris Volodarsky (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/16/12 5:33 AM)
                  Boris Volodarsky (15 May) attempts to discredit me by associating me with CASMII. How peculiar. CASMII is a non-profit NGO dedicated to prevention of war, sanctions, and all outside interference in Iran--a position I whole-heartedly embrace. As for being a "regular columnist," the same articles posted on CASMII have been published on numerous other sites. What is Boris's point? In case he is curious, he can also check me out on RT--a few interviews there (among other places). I speak out publicly and openly about my convictions.

                  Does Boris have a problem with me attending a conference in Iran? This was no secret. In fact, in a WAIS post dated 9/8/10 under the title "Music in Iran," I mentioned this, though admittedly, I did not attempt to paint it as a crime to have been invited to a conference. Here is phrase that Boris may have overlooked: "I had the pleasure of listening to live music in several places. One such place was a conference attended by Iran's President, the vice president, and many other prominent personalities." If anything, if I may pat myself on the back, I am proud of making informed comments after having been in touch with the reality on the ground. During the conference, for instance, I was in a workshop and addressed the immorality and goal of sanctions.

                  Incidentally, the conference was not only for Iranians--among those who attended were distinguished guests as Richard Frye, a man who is guilty of being in love with Iran. There were also several Brits. I am happy to share more of my experiences at that conference, the main objective of which was to encourage the Iranian "brains" to return to Iran. Of the 2000 attendees, the large majority had PhDs in different fields. In Iran, or among Iranians, it is customary to call a person by their title, i.e. doctor, mohandes (engineer), professor, etc. One of my recollections, a funny and proud one, was that each time a session broke up and someone said "doctor," all heads would turn. It was good to note that so many educated Iranians were participating, and to note that the government was wooing them. I was classified as a journalist, and hardly a doctor!

                  As for the trip expenses--given that I was in Iran to attend to my deceased mother's affairs and to visit family, I had no need for the government to pay for my expenses, though I don't think there is anything wrong with a government inviting guests. During the 3-day conference, I did not pay a penny for food or drinks. All was delicious and extravagant.

                  As for the New York Times article, Boris is welcome to place his stock in NYT; many do, including those who took us to invade Iraq illegally. Although LOOT (Lies of Our Times--see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lies_of_Our_Times ) is no longer active, it does not reflect NYT accuracy. I suggest Boris or other interested WAISers contact the authors of the NYT article to query what "highly placed," "oddly inappropriate wisecracks," etc. means, and who provided them with the information. I find it curious that an engineer professor (living in the US--mentioned in the article) should have to rely on the government to buy his ticket in order for him to "visit his family." I find the whole NYT twist to the event very typical of the paper, and the reaction to it by Boris, well... [See my comments below--JE.]

                  In the meanwhile, let us go back to Boris's more relevant points. The IAEA is often "cited" by the mainstream media. If Boris has a report, then he should extend the courtesy of attaching the link. The fact of the matter is that we were also shown "satellite images" of Iraq before bombing the country to the Stone Age and causing the death of hundreds of thousands, after having killed half a million of their children. I also suggest reading in detail the "information" received by the IAEA--which incidentally, the BBC link I referenced, does mention. The loyal MEK terrorists always stop Iran from getting a clean bill of health by providing unconfirmed information, laptops, drawings, etc. It comes as no surprise that the State Department is poised to remove them from the Foreign Terrorist List. They have served well. http://news.antiwar.com/2012/05/14/state-dept-poised-to-remove-iranian-terror-group-from-terror-list/

                  I am sure that WAISers would like to read more about the 25% funding of the IAEA which comes from the US, and the relationship between the US and Amano. There are many out there, but I attach one out of courtesy:


                  Finally, Boris asked: "I wonder what Ms Sepahpour-Ulrich may say to this. Indeed, the capital question is (thank you, John E), 'Is the world going to be safer with a nuclear Iran,' i.e. with nuclear weaponized Iran?"

                  I oppose all nuclear weapons, especially when they are in the hands of colonial powers who have shown how ruthless they are. Given that unlike the colonial powers and their lackeys, Iran has not started a single war in 250 years, my bet would be that if Iran ever did decide to follow the nuclear weapon path, which it has not, and I doubt it ever will do, it will act with far more responsibility than say America or Israel. Ultimately, in my opinion, we should get rid of all nuclear weapons.

                  JE comments:  One clarification:  I (not Boris Volodarsky) supplied the link to the NYT article on the allegedly "chilly" reception given Iranian expats at the 2010 Tehran conference.

                  Here is the link to Soraya's 8 September 2010 post on Iranian music:


                  Might Soraya comment on the state of "brain drain" in today's Iran?  Was the 2010 conference successful in convincing any Iranian professionals to return home?  Did the authorities offer specific incentives for them to do so?

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                • Are We Victims of Anti-Iran Propaganda? (Randy Black, USA 05/16/12 6:54 AM)

                  Boris Volodarsky (15 May) asked if Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich was present at the Conference of Iranians Living Abroad meeting in Tehran during August 2010.

                  Boris also commented on Soraya's journalistic presence on the CASMII Website.

                  Within the CASMII Website, I note that in 2010 Soraya personally attacked CBS news anchor Katie Couric for being "a descendant of Jewish immigrants from Germany." (This was 150 years prior to Couric being a news reader on CBS.)

                  This despite that Couric was raised Presbyterian.

                  In the same article, Soraya states, "Zealous Christian and Jewish Zionists dictate to American presidents and the American people, while the world is held hostage to a false belief" (that propaganda machines continue to promote Palestine as a promised land to Jews by God, and ignore the 1897 Basel Congress in Switzerland which determined the ill fate of the Palestinians).

                  Jew-baiting aside, just so you'll know: Couric's maternal great-grandparents immigrated separately in 1864 and 1874 respectively from Bavaria. Great-grandfather Aaron Hene, a cigar maker, later married Couric's great-grandmother Matilda in Nebraska. Couric's family is generally from Nebraska, Mississippi and Alabama. Her father is a descendant of a French orphan, Charles Couric, born in Laurient, France in 1817.

                  Question: Is attacking the ancestors of a popular modern day news announcer, someone who simply reads the news that others write, because her relatives went to synagogue in Germany nearly 150 years ago, a respectable debate tactic for someone who majored in public diplomacy? Is such Jew-baiting even acceptable within our WAIS Forum?


                  JE comments:  "Jew-baiting"--don't like the sound of that term!--is not allowed on WAIS.  Nor is Muslim-, Christian-, Baha'i-, Falun Gong-, Pagan-, Atheist-, or Secular Humanist-baiting.  If I've allowed "baiting" of any sort to make it to our website, my apologies.  But critical, probing questions about identity politics and religious motivation/affiliation are a different matter.

                  I do agree with Randy Black that it's inappropriate to bring up Katie Couric's "Jewish background" in an attempt to question her objectivity.

                  Let's reaffirm our commitment to civil discourse and respect for all.  Or as Mom always told me, "just be nice."  Her career was in medical technology, but she should have been a diplomat.

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                  • Response to Several WAISers (Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, USA 05/17/12 5:08 AM)
                    Foremost, I would like to thank Paul Pitlick (16 May) for his gracious post (May 16) and his kind acknowledgment of my WAIS writings. Like Paul, I do not believe one should believe anything without questioning.  For this reason, I read as much as I can from a variety of sources, process it, question it, and try to make sense of whatever is presented to me. Am I always right? Surely not. I continue to be in a learning process.

                    That said, writing for the WAIS Forum is exhausting. I often have to repeat myself several times as my posts are in essence, hijacked in order to serve an ulterior motive. On more than one occasion I have considered quitting WAIS and saving myself the trouble, the time, and the headache. However, Forum members I respect deeply have asked me to continue. And so I must continuously remind myself that those hurling insults, or those who deliberately attempt to misdirect my posts, do so because they are unable to factually challenge my statements.

                    Response to Randy Black (16 May):

                    I would like to thank Randy for presenting my article to the Forum. I feel that this particular one, "Israel or US, Who Is The Boss," is important and I do hope that WAISers take the time to read it. While it is generous of Randy (and Boris Volodarsky) to bring CASMII to the attention of this Forum (no doubt something that would make CASMII very happy, as all NGOs would like to have a greater reach), it is somewhat unfair to give credit to CASMII alone and not the other sites which publish my articles. Perhaps even more so, since I have not had anything published by CASMII since 2010; and I assure the Forum I have been very active. So if Randy or anyone else is interested in what I've written outside the Forum, they can request it and I will gladly forward.

                    While I am grateful that Randy presented my article, I am disturbed by a few factors.

                    Is Randy, similar to Boris, attempting to undermine my work by mentioning that I attended a conference in Iran? How is this linkage, the effort to undermine, any different from what he seems to want to imply with regards to Katie Couric? This question is also directed at JE.

                    Further, Randy misrepresents my work by stating: "I note that in 2010 Soraya personally attacked CBS news anchor Katie Couric for being 'a descendant of Jewish immigrants from Germany.'"

                    This is outrageous, a lie, and even more unforgivable for JE to have posted it. I attacked Couric for attaching more importance to Netanyahu than Obama, for asking a foreign president if he is disappointed with an American one. How would anyone, including WAISers, feel if I had asked Ahmadinejad during the course of my interview if he was disappointed with Obama for not catering to him?

                    Like Randy, I got my information about Couric from Wikipedia. Was Wikipedia "Jew-baiting" when they mentioned she was descendent of Jewish immigrants? Do I think Couric (American media in particular) is objective? Heck no!

                    Randy wrote: "Is such Jew-baiting even acceptable within our WAIS Forum?"

                    This is the first time I hear of such an expression, and although I don't quite understand it (maybe some elaboration would help), still, I find it ugly--as ugly as the intentional mischief behind it. If Randy believes I was "Jew-baiting" in my article, then why did he share it with the Forum, give it greater readership, and why did the our editor publish it? Perhaps Randy hopes that by cherry-picking and misrepresenting, no one else would take the time to read the article. This could well be the case as it seems that many a time, no one bothers to look at links provided.

                    So aside from what I wrote in my article, does Randy have a point--a rebuttal? It is possible that I may be wrong on some facts, in which case he should point it/them out. So instead of Soraya-baiting, I suggest he try and educate me about what is not accurate in my article.

                    What I find abhorrent about this particular post (as with Boris Volodarsky's) is that instead of addressing the revelations of the army officers having been trained for years to wage war against 1.4 billion Muslims, and using genocidal tactics, every attempt is being made to undermine me in order to avoid speaking about nuking people. I concede, I am now discredited. So now can we get on with the fact that for years future leaders of this country were taught to treat 1.4 billions Muslims as enemies and wage a "total war." Where is the outrage? Where is that discussion?

                    Finally, I am very happy that Istvan Simon has posted again after such a long absence. Although Istvan and I never saw eye-to-eye, and I doubt if we ever will, I genuinely felt affection for him when I met him. I found his post interesting and I look forward to responding to it soon.

                    JE comments: I believe it is legitimate to question the use of any "vast Jewish cabal" argument, however subtly constructed, as in the case of Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's reference to Katie Couric's Jewish ancestors. Wouldn't it have been sufficient to suggest that Couric seemed excessively deferential in her Netanyahu interview?

                    Here once again is the link to Soraya's 2010 CASMII article:


                    Regarding the "Muslim-baiting" course at the Joint Forces Staff College, I added this comment to Soraya's post of 15 May: "According to the Guardian (UK), the Islamophobic course taught at the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia, was canceled, which shows that the system of checks and balances often works. Can any of our military experts tell us more about the Joint Forces Staff College? What is its purpose, and how, for example, does its mission differ from that of the Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania?"

                    At the very least, unforgivable or not, I sought to use Soraya's revelation as an avenue for continued discussion.  I was hoping to determine whether the canceled course was an aberration or evidence of a systemic problem.

                    All in a day's WAISing.  This job requires a thick skin.  Now, let's move on to other topics.

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                    • Engel's *Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust* (Robert Whealey, USA 05/18/12 5:00 AM)
                      I would like to add to the discussion between Randy Black and Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich a caveat that we are all living under the shadow of Adolf Hitler. I have recently published a book review on David Engel's Historians of the Jews and the Holocaust. Stanford, California: Stanford UP, 2010. Canadian Journal of History 46 (Winter 2011): 763-766. I hope that WAIS will find it informative.

                      JE comments:  I believe I've found Robert Whealey's review of the Engel book.  Let me know, Robert, if this version is different from the one that appeared in CJH:


                      Robert's note reminds me that I have a book review assignment to take care of, and the deadline is in a few weeks.  Don't want the Reviews Editor of Studies in Latin American Popular Culture, Dr. Aldona Pobutsky, to lose patience!

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              • Are We Victims of Anti-Iran Propaganda? (Paul Pitlick, USA 05/16/12 6:28 AM)
                While many who reply to Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich's posts are critical of either her information or of her personally, I'd like to thank Soraya for her submissions, and hope that she's not worn down. She, as well as others with their own points of view, are the reason I read WAIS posts at all. If I wanted to expose myself to only conventional wisdom I'd watch television, or read the Wall Street Journal. Do I believe without question everything Soraya writes? As one of my Midwestern farm cousins used to say: "Believe nothing that you read, and only half of what you see." The American mainstream media is way too monolithic, and not very trustworthy. I enjoy seeing different points of view--lets me do my own synthesis.

                I'll close with a question: Which country is more likely to use a nuclear weapon first--Israel or Iran?

                JE comments: It's no secret that Soraya's WAIS posts incite both accolades and ire. But I second Paul Pitlick's appraisal of Soraya's contributions to the Forum (even when they are harshly critical of...me): from its early years under Professor Hilton, WAIS has striven to offer unconventional, and even unpopular points of view. This is what makes our conversations (and my job!) so interesting.  I just ask that we remain civil and respectful (see my comments to Randy Black's post of 16 May).

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              • Iran and IAEA (Tor Guimaraes, USA 05/17/12 4:15 AM)
                Many times I do not understand why Mr. Ahmadinejad said some of the things he did; they make absolutely no sense to me. Nevertheless, based on historical evidence, it sure seems like Iran is being set up by the Israelis and their American agents within/close to our government for a fate similar to what happened to Iraq. Now that we are out of Iraq, as long as we cut school lunch programs to American children, cut Medicare, etc., we should be able to attack Iran and not worry too much about our budget deficit.

                The problem is I really resent being made a chump by any liars and cheaters for whatever reason. So I need to know who is lying and who is telling the truth. While I have great confidence in Soraya Sephapour-Ulrich's knowledge about Iranian issues, her intellectual honesty, and her professional integrity, I already know her position reasonably well. Thus I beg some other WAIS experts to confirm or contradict a few verbatim statements I consider important to ascertain the truth:

                1. Thousands of man-hours of United Nations inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the most intensive and intrusive ever undertaken in its history, have not produced one shred of evidence of nuclear weapons planning in Iran. Every IAEA report on Iran to date, including the hyped-up report of 8 November 2011, has confirmed that the "Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran" to any weaponisation programme, which is the only mandate of the Agency with respect to its Safeguard Agreements with Iran.

                2. In July 2007, IAEA and Iran agreed on a Work Plan with defined modalities and timetable to clarify all issues of concerns in relation to Iran's nuclear programme. On 27 August 2007, IAEA announced that "The Agency has been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran and has therefore concluded that it remains in peaceful use." The agreement also cleared Iran's plutonium experiments, which the Cheney Camp had accused of being evidence of Iran's weaponisation programme. Dr Mohammad El-Baradei, the IAEA Ex-Director General, said on 7 September 2007, "For the last few years we have been told by the Security Council, by the board, we have to clarify the outstanding issues in Iran because these outstanding issues are the ones that have led to the lack of confidence, the crisis"; "We have not come to see any undeclared activities or weaponisation of their programme." Two years earlier, in June 2005, Bruno Pellaud, former IAEA Deputy Director General for Safeguards, was asked by Swissinfo if Iran was intent on building a nuclear bomb. He replied: "My impression is not. My view is based on the fact that Iran took a major gamble in December 2003 by allowing a much more intrusive capability to the IAEA. If Iran had had a military programme, they would not have allowed the IAEA to come under this Additional Protocol. They did not have to."

                3. The satisfactory conclusion of the IAEA-Iran Work Plan on all of the nine "outstanding issues" in September 2007, would have warranted the return of Iran's nuclear file from the Security Council to the jurisdiction of the IAEA. However, the Agency report of 22 February 2008 raised the question of what it termed as "alleged studies," based on documents received from Western intelligence agencies purporting to show studies of nuclear weapon systems. The report said however that "the agency has not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard." The authenticity of many of these documents, which based on the US claim, were obtained from a "laptop" stolen from Iran in 2004, has been challenged and disregarded as "fabricated," even by officials of the IAEA, analysts and some Western intelligence agencies, ever since the supposed "intelligence" was first raised in 2004. The New York Times, at the time (13 November 2005), quoted the assessment of intelligence sources, that "any sophisticated intelligence service could fabricate such a laptop." It was the successful resolution of the IAEA-Iran Work Plan that prompted the US and Israel to resurrect the alleged "stolen laptop" as evidence of weaponisation studies. The latest IAEA report of 8 November 2011, contrary to the Western media's frenzied chorus about the evidence of "nuclear weapons research" (Jullian Borger, Guardian 07/11/2011), once again confirmed the non-diversion of all declared material to nuclear weaponisation. This is the only mandate of the Agency in relation to the Safeguard Agreements with Iran. The report, however, expressed concern, for the first time, under the new head of the Agency, Yukiya Amano--exposed in Wiki-leaks documents (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/julian-borger-global-security-blog/2010/nov/30/iaea-wikileaks ) as a staunch ally of the US against Iran--that Iran may have experimented with military research before 2004 and that these may have continued since. These allegations, however, are not new but are based on the old discredited "documents" from the "alleged studies" obtained from the alleged "stolen laptop" referred to above.

                There is only one new alleged evidence in the report. There is a reference to a "former Soviet nuclear weapons scientist" who allegedly assisted Iran in building the cylindrical explosion chamber. But was subsequently revealed that "Vyacheslav Danilenko" was not a nuclear scientist at all but a Ukrainian world specialist in nano-diamonds, who had assisted Iran with work on nanotechnology. Furthermore, Robert Kelly, who was the UNSC Chief Nuclear Inspector in Iraq, rejects this claim as "highly misleading." Kelly, a nuclear engineer, states that the cylindrical chamber referred to by the IAEA "could not possibly have been used for hydrodynamic testing of a nuclear weapon design, contrary to the IAEA claim". (Gareth Porter, Counterpunch 21 November 11).

                4. Nuclear power plants and atomic weapons both require enriched uranium, but whereas weapons-grade uranium must be enriched to 90% or above, low enriched uranium (LEU) suitable for power plants requires enrichment up to 5%, or for medical applications up to 19.75%. According to Dr Frank Barnaby of the Oxford Research Group, because of contamination of Iranian uranium with heavy metals, Iran cannot (http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk/publications/briefings/IranNuclear.htm ) possibly enrich beyond even 20% without support from Russia or China (http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Focus/IaeaIran/statement_iran21102003.shtml ).  The US Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta's remarks in December 2010 are a clear indication of the manufactured nature of this crisis. In an interview with CBS, Panetta, raising the specter of war, said, "It would probably be about a year before they could do it [build the bomb]. Perhaps a little less. But one proviso, ... if they have a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel." This total absence of "intelligence" was also reiterated by Pentagon Press Secretary, George Little, "The Secretary [Panetta] was clear that we have no indication that the Iranians have made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon."  The Pentagon spokesman confirmed that any attempt at diverting low-enriched uranium to a hidden facility and its conversion to weapons grade, would be instantly detected by the UN inspectors. These admissions sharply contradict and belie the conclusions of the International Atomic Energy Agency's report of November 2011, that Iran "has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear device." According to the IAEA, this intelligence was given to it by "some member states." As Pat Buchanan (Anti-War.Com) questions, "Did the IAEA discover clandestine bomb-building that our own intelligence community failed to detect?" And if so, why the US National Intelligence Estimate, which in line with Pentagon's statement above, states that there is no evidence of a weaponisation programme in Iran, not been modified accordingly?

                JE comments:  Anyone want to address these questions?  I'm particularly interested in Tor Guimaraes's point 4 above.  Is Iran by itself incapable of enriching uranium to weapons-grade levels?

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                • Iran and IAEA; Vyacheslav Danilenko (Randy Black, USA 05/19/12 4:01 AM)
                  A number of sites address the questions raised by Tor Guimaraes (17 May) about the Soviet scientist, Vyacheslav Danilenko, a renowned expert in explosive and gas dynamics as it relates to miniature nuclear detonators.

                  Tor defends the Russian scientist as nothing more than an expert in nanodiamond technology. From my research, the nanodiamond process is strikingly similar to the process that leads to the miniaturization of nuclear weapons detonators. That Dr. Danilenko worked for three decades at a super secret nuclear weapons institute in a closed Soviet city in the Urals speaks legions.

                  From The Washington Post: The IAEA verified "through three separate routes, including the expert himself," the extensive cooperation with Iranian scientists from 1996 to 2002, the report states. While in the country ostensibly to share his techniques for nanodiamonds, the expert "also lectured on explosion physics and its applications," the IAEA report said.

                  From the IAEA: IAEA officials eventually interviewed Danilenko after his return to Russia and sought his help in clarifying what the Iranians were seeking to do with the technology. His response then was similar to his explanation last week to a Russian journalist: His work was restricted to nanodiamonds, and he had no knowledge of Iran's weapons ambitions. "I am not a nuclear physicist," he told the Russian newspaper Kommersant.

                  RB: This Nixonian "I am not a nuclear physicist" claim seems odd considering that from the late 1950s, he (was) a member of the gas dynamics research group where gas dynamics refers to "the entire range of research pertaining to explosion physics, shock and detonation waves and non-standard gas dynamic flows." Explosion physics deals primarily with the compressibility of a substance and has important applications to the design of nuclear explosives and weapons.

                  Dr. Danilenko's scientific papers in the 1960s to the 1980s verify his expertise in detonation technology as it relates to nanodiamond production and the close relationship to nuclear weapons detonators.

                  Conclusion: Based on an open source review, Danilenko, born 1935 in Ukraine, as a member of the gas dynamics group at VNIITF, would have been exposed to or involved in a number of nuclear weapons relevant areas of research and development. His experiments on the detonation synthesis of nanodiamonds would have been of direct importance to understanding the detonation properties of condensed explosives. His research would have also directly exposed him to the design of shock compression experiments and the techniques and methods of measuring experimental results. That knowledge would have been invaluable to researchers in the field. That Danilenko was hired by Dr. Seyed Abbas Shahmoradi, then leader of Iran's Physics Research Center, responsible for its nuclear weaponization program, demonstrates just how relevant Danilenko's expertise was to Iran's weaponization efforts. From: http://nsspi.tamu.edu/pauloscornerarticles/2011-11/vyacheslav-danilenko-%E2%80%93-background,-research,-and-proliferation-concerns

                  Among many scientific papers: V.V. Danilenko and Y.M. Pachurin (1987). "Effects of Nonideal Detonation of Impelled Plate Energy, Combustion, Explosion and Shock Waves," 23(1), 46-49.

                  Source: http://isis-online.org/isis-reports/detail/vyacheslav-danilenko-background-research-and-proliferation-concerns/

                  In private conversations, however, the scientist allowed that he "could not exclude that his information was used for other purposes," the ISIS report said. In that sense, the institute said, Danilenko's experience is similar to that of numerous other former weapons scientists who ended up traveling abroad to work in a country with nuclear aspirations. Of the dozens of similar cases studied by the institute, each began with an offer of "more benign assistance that provided a plausible cover for their secret assistance."

                  "Synthetic diamond production is unlikely to have been a priority" for Iran, ISIS said. "Although it has obvious value as a cover story."

                  From Wiki: During the Soviet era, [Danilenko] was employed at the nuclear installation known as NII-1011 located in the closed city of Chelyabinsk-70. There he worked on miniaturizing detonations, which led to discoveries in nanodiamonds. RB: That closed Russian nuclear installation is today known as All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Technical Physics.

                  From Wired.com: Danilenko, a former Soviet weapons scientist, was reportedly found by the International Atomic Energy Agency to have tutored the Iranians "on building high-precision detonators of the kind used to trigger a nuclear chain reaction."

                  From Nucleardiner.com: According to the intelligence provided to the IAEA, key assistance in both areas was provided by Vyacheslav Danilenko, a former Soviet nuclear scientist who was contracted in the mid-1990s by Iran's Physics Research Center, a facility linked to the country's nuclear program. Documents provided to the UN officials showed that Danilenko offered assistance to the Iranians over at least five years, giving lectures and sharing research papers on developing and testing an explosives package that the Iranians apparently incorporated into their warhead design, according to two officials with access to the IAEA's confidential files.



                  JE comments:  I'm curious about the kind of stipends offered to these moonlighting scientists.  Dr. Danilenko certainly never made much money in Soviet times.

                  It's shaping up to be another day focused on Iran.  Next in line:  Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich.

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      • On Declarations of War (Robert Whealey, USA 05/12/12 4:46 AM)
        Under the American Constitution, the Congress of the US declares war. President Truman in June 1950 had the UN General Assembly declare North Korea an aggressor. The Soviet Union quickly saw its mistake and rushed its delegate back to the UN Security Council and declared that the US GA Resolution as illegal and that only the Security Council can approve a UN war. Under the UN Charter each nation pledged to refrain from unilateral attacks on another member nation. If all nations followed Art 1 Sec 2 of the Charter, international war would be illegal.

        The US refused to sign the UN Resolution and French-Soviet Geneva Treaty of 1954 creating a temporary zone in South Vietnam south of the 17th parallel. The Eisenhower administration in 1954-1956 sent advisers to Saigon, hoping to create a South Vietnamese Republic as a sovereign state south of the 17th parallel. Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon unilaterally went to war against the Hanoi government. By 1973-75, the American taxpayer and Congress woke up from their long sleep and decided the they were not going to continue fighting in a unwinnable quagmire. The American people need to re-read the US Constitution, and more law students should take an international law course, which is usually not taken very seriously by the top 10-20 law schools in the US.

        JE comments: I would presume that international law is a specialization available at all major US law schools. Am I mistaken?

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        • International Law in US (John Heelan, -UK 05/12/12 3:18 PM)
          Robert Whealey wrote on 12 May: "The American people need to re-read the US Constitution, and more law students should take an international law course, which is usually not taken very seriously by the top 10-20 law schools in the US."

          Given that history shows the US tends not to recognise the mandates of international law when they conflict with its own interests (e.g. Congress still has not ratified the International Criminal Court), it is not surprising that potential lawyers do not see that field as a path to riches compared with others.

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        • UN Charter and Declarations of War (Francisco Ramirez, USA 05/13/12 5:00 AM)

          In response to Robert Whealey (12 May), my recollection is that the UN Charter also contains Article 51 Section 1, and this is often seized to justify war on self-defense grounds.

          JE comments:  Here's the famous "self-defense" clause, in Chapter VII of the UN Charter:


          I wonder how many world leaders have actually read the UN Charter?

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