David Albright: Still trying to gin up
another neocon war
Albright's version of a UF4
For those of you who donít know David
Albright, believe me, donít bother. He was one of the neocons who were
feeding the public a bunch of rubbish in the run up to Iraq II. Later, when it
became obvious to everyone the public had been lied to, Albright suddenly
switched from hawk to dove, claiming Bush had been wrong to invade Iraq. Then he
switched back to hawk and he began pulling the same
misinformation-breeds-contempt-breeds-war stunt with Iran. Now heís back at
it, this time with Syria. This dude is every neoconís best buddy, and although
he claims not to be one himself, actions speak louder than words.
I got on to Albrightís latest tricks
from an article
by Mark Hibbs at The Nuclear Arms Control Wonk. Hibbs, it seems, got a
call from "someone" telling him we should be worried about Syriaís
50 metric tons of uranium. Hibbs took the bait and linked to Albrightís
article as proof that there are three nuke sites in Syria and the one near
Damascus, Marj as Sultan, is a problem.
If you go to Albrightís report on Marj
as Sultan you will soon get the feeling youíve fallen down the rabbit hole and
there to greet you is Colin Powell with a Power Point presentation on why
the US should bomb Syria. Before the US gets sucked into another Colin Powell
Kodak-moment, we need to apply some good old scientific objectivity to this Marj
as Sultan story.
That this whole Marj as-Sultan thing is
being pushed by Albright should set off deafening alarms, particularly in
another deja-vu-all-over-again situation in which the US is considering military
intervention. As I say, Albright has history as part of the misinformation
machine prior to Iraq. He has been relentless in splattering the media with
satellite "evidence" pushing for an attack on Iran. He is either in
cahoots with or feeding from the same "confidential diplomatic source"
that is putting dumb CAD
drawings of "reaction chambers" and sophomoric
bell-shaped curves in the hands of the IAEA, which then distributes them
to the press. So what is the evidence of a problem at Marj as Sultan?
article says that Marj as Sultan is a "facility . . . reportedly
intended for processing uranium yellowcake into uranium tetrafluoride
(UF4)." Albright doesnít source this allegation, which is pretty scary. I
mean itís a pretty heavy-duty allegation to make without some sort of
evidence. But what passes for "evidence" in Albrightís mind is his
own goofy interpretation of satellite photos. That is his specialty. Letís
see. . .
Albrightís article launches into
interpretations of satellite photos of Marj as Sultan. He picks out a random
building, much like he did with respect to the Parchin site in Iran, and he
interprets the most banal activity as being suspicious. Whatís his evidence
that this particular building in Marg as Sultan has anything to do with
First note that he doesnít even provide
the coordinates of the building so readers can check his assertions for
themselves. Marj as Sultan is a helicopter base about 8 km SE of Damascus. The
specific building Albright is talking about is in a populated area about 2.5 km
W of the airbase. Itís at: 33į29í41.99 N 36į26í26.05 E What one sees on GE is a standard old 2-story
building (picture above) near a residential area, and Albright is claiming that this is where
Assad is making UF4?? Probably not.
According to Albright, the "smoking
gun" that this building is a nuke site is that in one of his 2008 photos
he sees workers . . .
"pouring a material on the ground surrounding the
larger building. There also appear to be trucks and other vehicles present that may be
involved in this operation. This activity may represent an effort to lay down a
new concrete or asphalt foundation around the building."
The fact that asphalt was poured can
hardly be disputed. If you go to GE historical view, Jul24.2008, you can
actually see workers pouring the new asphalt. In earlier photos, the
ground is dirt. OK, so . . . yes, the parking lot has been paved. That
cannot reasonably be disputed.
What is in dispute is whether
laying asphalt in an indication of nefarious nuclear activity. Remember Powell?
He pointed at a sat-photo of an industrial complex that had a fence around it.
And at the gate there was a gatehouse. And Powell had the balls to actually tell
the UN and the whole world that the gatehouse was proof that Saddam was making
chemical and biological weapons inside that industrial complex because why else
would you have a gatehouse? In the same idiot line of "reasoning"
Albright is telling us, "Yep, them guys are making UF4 in that building for
sure. Why else would anyone lay asphalt in the parking lot?"
And this is the sum total of Albrightís
evidence linking Marj as Sultan to uranium storage or processing.
The other relevant point here is that even
if Assad really were making UF4 in an old building in a residential suburb of
Damascus, the stuff is long gone by now. The
rebels captured Marj as Sultan last November.
What Albright is passing around is
bullshit and we all have a duty to expose nonsense like this when it appears.
Maybe in some small way we can prevent Kerry, or whoever the next Secretary of
State is, from walking into the UN and pulling another Powell debacle followed
by a Bush debacle of blistering a Middle East country based on Albright-style