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Murder in the SunMorgue
by Denis O'Brien, PhD

Who killed hundreds of Syrian children in Ghouta, Aug21|2013? How, and why?

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Israel & the Middle East


David Albright: Still trying to gin up another neocon war

  Albright's version of a UF4 production site

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?

Albrightís ISIS 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 anything?

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 "satellite evidence."









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