Analysts Dispute Photos of Alleged Syrian Nuclear Facility
If it turns out that the Bush administration is faking evidence of WMD in order to justify a war, it won't be for the first time.
Ever since Israel bombed a site they claimed was a nuclear reactor inside Syria, the Bush administration cited the facility as evidence that Syria is pursuing nuclear weapons, and that North Korea is providing the necessary technology (link). We're told that recently-declassified photos prove that if Israel had not destroyed the facility, it would soon be making bomb-grade nuclear material. Now, North Korea's own nuclear device didn't work, so it's hard to see how they could provide Syria with a usable weapon. But forget the details-- we've got sabers to rattle!
Unfortunately for the warmongers in the Bush administration, it looks like the their smoking gun is a fake:
The CIA published three aerial photographs last week purporting to show a Syrian nuclear reactor, bombed by Israel last September. But are the pictures all that they seem? Doubts about their authenticity have been raised by Professor William Beeman, head of anthropology at the University of Minnesota, who has had a long involvement with the Middle East.
He posted on a Los Angeles Times website a note received from a "colleague with US security clearance" pointing out "irregularities". The unnamed colleague said a picture taken before the bombing looked as if it had been digitally enhanced, noting that the lower part of the building, the annexe and the windows pointing south appeared much sharper than the rest.
He also questioned why the alleged reactor had no air defences, no military checkpoints and no powerlines. Turning to two shots of the bombed building, he noted that the first showed a rectangular building and the second a square one. Were they the same building?
In fact, one of the photos looks so unreal that it's hard to believe that the administration tried to pass if off as genuine:
Here's what the LA Times' blogger has to say about it:
The lower part of the building, the annex, and the windows pointing south appear much sharper than the rest of the photo, suggesting that they were digitally improved.
The author points to more questions about the photographs of the Syrian site.
1. Satellite photos of the alleged reactor building show no air defenses or anti-aircraft batteries such as the ones found around the Natanz nuclear site in central Iran.
2. The satellite images do not show any military checkpoints on roads near the building.
3. Where are the power lines? The photos show neither electricity lines or substations.
4. Here is a link to a photo of the North Korean facility that the Syrian site was based on. Look at all the buildings surrounding it. The Syrian site was just one building.
So it looks like Bush is trying to lie us into a war yet again. And at the same time, the administration is pursuing a policy that will ensure that one day an unfriendly Middle Eastern nation will have nuclear weapons. Because in the end, it matters little whether Syria, Iran, or any other country in the region is currently pursuing nuclear weapons. As long as Israel remains the only nuclear power in the region, Israel's neighbors will periodically embark on programs to manufacture nuclear weapons of their own. And one of these days, despite our efforts, they will succeed.
The first step toward ensuring that Syria and Iran don't develop nuclear weapons, then, is to persuade Israel to disarm. Naturally, Barack Obama is the only candidate with a foreign policy adviser who's honest enough to state the obvious:
Israel should give up its nuclear weapons to ensure Iran halts its illicit nuclear program, argues an adviser on nuclear issues to Sen. Barack Obama.
Joseph Cirincione, director of nuclear policy at the Center for American Progress, also previously dismissed reports Israel's Sept. 6 airstrike targeted a Syrian nuclear reactor as "nonsense" and called Damascus' nuclear program "miniscule."
Immediately following Israel's air raid, Cirincione listed "Israelis [who] want to thwart any dialogue between the U.S. and Syria" as among those spreading rumors Syria was constructing a nuclear facility.
Cirincione was commenting on a Sept. 13 Washington Post story about possible links between Syria and North Korea.
(cross posted at Liberal Avenger and appletree)