Monthly Archives: April 2005

WMD Commission Gets This Right

Just noticed this gem in the WMD Commission report RE: Libya’s BW program:

bq. That being said, it should be noted that there are few distinguishing characteristics that enable the identification of chemical or biological facilities through imagery or other technical means. Moreover, much of the technology and expertise required for chemical and biological programs is dual-use, making it easier to acquire and more difficult for the Community to track. *It is also apparent that, at least with regard to biological weapons, the relatively low volume of information could be attributed to the fact that Libya may not have actually had an active biological warfare program.*

Note to Rumsfeld: absence of evidence is absence of evidence.

Libya and North Korean UF6/Missiles Revisited

“At the beginning of the month”: I wrote a post about a New York _Times_ article which detailed some of the intelligence reportedly indicating that North Korea sold UF6 to Libya.

Specifically, the _Times_ wrote:

More recently, United States officials have tried to follow the money trail. They argue that Libyan funds made it to companies or banks linked to North Korea. One foreign diplomat said I.A.E.A. investigators were digging through the same financial records that the United States had examined, and traced the money flow through money launderers to Khan front companies and “various bank accounts all over the world.”

But banking secrecy, he added, had impeded making firm links to North Korea despite “a couple places pointing to the D.P.R.K.,” or the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, but gave no further details.

I responded with what I thought was a reasonable observation:

Even if Libya was transferring cash to North Korea, the money may well have been for missile components, etc., rather than nuclear material.

However, upon further reflection, I realized that I commented without knowing enough about Libya’s method for buying North Korean missiles.

It may be that Libya paid for the North Korean missiles directly, rather than going through front companies. After all, there was nothing illegal about the transfers.

On the other hand, we can all think of reasons why both Libya and North Korea would want to keep their missile business a bit quiet.

Some information drawing the distinction (if there is one) between the Khan network’s front companies and any such companies that Libya or North Korea used for their missile deals would be helpful.

Thoughts, anyone?

Rice on North Korea: It’s All Good

Or something. Appearing on Fox News on 14 April, the SecState “said”:,2933,153546,00.html:

bq. Well, one of the problems with the 1994 agreement with North Korea is that North Korea really was already very developed on the nuclear side and it was a freeze of North Korean programs where the benefits were up front and the North Korean actions were later.

_All_ the benefits, Dr. Rice? We gave the North Koreans some heating oil, poured the foundation for one light water reactor, and eased some sanctions after several years. The “1994 Agreed Framework”: required us to do a bit more than that, eventually.

As for North Korea’s “actions,” Pyongyang froze its Yongbyon reactor and related facilities, per the agreement.

It is also true that Pyongyang was taking longer than it should have to alllow the IAEA to finish its initial inspection of the North Korean nuclear facilities. But the Agreed Framework did not technically require North Korea to do so until “a significant portion of the LWR project [was] completed, but before delivery of key nuclear components.” Those components have never been delivered.

But all is well now, according to Rice:

bq. We have a much better situation with North Korea now where we are, even though the North Koreans continue to develop, apparently, their capability and continue to try to remind the world of that, they are now in a six-party framework in which they have to face not just the United States but also the Russians, the Japanese, the Chinese and the South Koreans.

Do we need to get into how silly this is?

* Agreed Framework: Frozen plutonium program
* Now: Unfrozen plutonium program

Thank heavens the Bush administration is around to save us all from serious diplomacy, as well as rampant buggery.

State Dept. Terrorism Report Begone!

Not really an arms control issue, but this is “just f*cking ridiculous”:, if true.

Jonathan Landay writes:

The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government’s top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.

Several U.S. officials defended the abrupt decision, saying the methodology the National Counterterrorism Center used to generate statistics for the report may have been faulty, such as the inclusion of incidents that may not have been terrorism.

Last year, the number of incidents in 2003 was undercounted, forcing a revision of the report, “Patterns of Global Terrorism.”
But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s office ordered “Patterns of Global Terrorism” eliminated several weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush’s administration’s frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.

Which of those explanations sounds more compelling to you?

Wait, there’s more:

bq. A senior State Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue, confirmed that the publication was being eliminated, but said the allegation that it was being done for political reasons was “categorically untrue.”



_Late Update_: Boucher says they will publish the report by 30 April, “sans statistical annexes”:

Bolton and BW Inspections

ACT editor Miles Pomper has an “article”: coming out later today which (I think) addresses this issue in a bit more depth, but I thought I’d pass along the following tidbit.

Biden stated during Bolton’s hearing last week that the text of Bolton’s famous Cuba/BW speech that has been the subject of some controversy originally “called for international observers of Cuba’s biological facilities.”

Of course, it would help if there were any such observers. But there aren’t because J-Bolt saved us all from global tyranny by putting the kibosh on the BWC verification protocol.

Strong work.


1. “Here’s the article”:

2. Previous ACW coverage from “18 September 2004”:, “20 September 2004”:, and “19 October 2004”:

Bolton and Niger Uranium

I “wrote”: about this around a month ago, but thought I’d raise the issue again.

Why didn’t the SFRC ask about Bolton’s role in composing the December 2002 State Department “fact sheet”: that stated — for the first time — that Iraq had tried to obtain uranium from Niger?

Bushehr Fuel Delivery Delay?

Reuters “reports”:

Russia is likely to delay shipments of enriched uranium fuel to Iran to start up a Russian-built atomic power plant there until the autumn, a source in the Russian nuclear authority said on Monday.


At the time officials said fuel shipments to the Bushehr plant may start as soon as April.

It would be helpful to know a little more about the “source.” And who are these “officials” whose claims differ from Russia’s official statements regarding Bushehr fuel delivery?

Although the fuel delivery schedule is — as far as I know — still secret, Atomic Energy Minister Alexander Rumyantsev “said”: in February that the first shipment will occur “some six months” before the reactor begins operation in late 2006. How does the claim that Russia will “delay” shipments to Autumn 2005 jibe with Rumyantsev’s statement that such shipments won’t occur until mid-2006?

Now, if Moscow delayed the fresh-fuel shipment for Bushehr in order to presure Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA/EU3, _that_ would be news. Indeed, a State Department official “told me”: that Washington thinks Moscow may do something along those lines.

But nothing like that seems to be going on, at least according to he Reuters story. So what’s going on?

Bolton Misleads about UN Inspections

One of the Senators (Hegel, I think) asked Bolton a few minutes ago during the SFRC hearing why the United States didn’t listen to UNMOVIC and the IAEA when they said Iraq didn’t have WMD. During the course of his answer, Bolton said that the Bush administration had not disputed the IAEA’s claim that Iraq did not have a uranium enrichment program.

Right. This is what Cheney “told”: _Meet the Press_ a few days before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq:

MR. RUSSERT: And even though the International Atomic Energy Agency said he does not have a nuclear program, we disagree?

VICE PRES. CHENEY: *I disagree, yes.* And you’ll find the CIA, for example, and other key parts of our intelligence community disagree. Let’s talk about the nuclear proposition for a minute. We’ve got, again, a long record here. It’s not as though this is a fresh issue. In the late ’70s, Saddam Hussein acquired nuclear reactors from the French. 1981, the Israelis took out the Osirak reactor and stopped his nuclear weapons development at the time. Throughout the ’80s, he mounted a new effort. I was told when I was defense secretary before the Gulf War that he was eight to 10 years away from a nuclear weapon. And we found out after the Gulf War that he was within one or two years of having a nuclear weapon because *he had a massive effort under way that involved four or five different technologies for enriching uranium to produce fissile material.*

We know that based on intelligence that he has been very, very good at hiding these kinds of efforts. He’s had years to get good at it and we know he has been absolutely devoted to trying to acquire nuclear weapons. *And we believe he has, in fact, reconstituted [his] nuclear weapons [program]. I think Mr. ElBaradei frankly is wrong.* [Emphasis, Lewis]

SSCI Iraq Investigation in Process…

The Senate Intel Committee’s “Iraq investigation”: came up “today”: on Meet the Press. It seems that Roberts has now said publicly that he will do as he promised a while back – investigate the Exec. Branch’s use of the intel it received:

bq. SEN. ROBERTS: Tim, we’re going to do that. I will bring it here. We’ll have the 50 statements. We’ll have the intelligence. We can match it up and you can do it with members of Congress, who are very, very critical, who made the same things, and you can say, “OK,” and you’ll say “Well, Pat, it just looks to me that the intelligence was wrong and that’s exactly why they said what they said.”

Unless, of course, Mr. Russert even kind of knows WTF he’s talking about…