Monthly Archives: September 2007

ElBaradei Reads Blogs

While discussing his previous life in NYC, the IAEA DG “disclosed”: to the _NYT_ that he reads blogs:

Q: New York is home for me: I spent 15 years in New York. New York is still home. I have lots of friends, memories. I love New York not because what it represents, an effort to look at the big picture, integrate and learn how all of us need to work together, succeed together. It’s a merit system. It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from. And you are rewarded on your merit and tolerate each other. That’s to me, still an elusive goal we haven’t reached. *You see sometimes the comments on the blogs saying, “His name is Mohamed and that says it all”.* That makes you feel that there is still a lot of work to do.

Q: Meaning?

A: Meaning that I’m inherently biased, because of my background, my identity, religious origin… It just shows how much we still have stereotyping. How much we cannot come to understand that we can rise above all these petty allegiances and identify, simply with each other as human beings.

If this one is in his bookmarks, I’d like to know.

Department of Unintended Consequences

The “entire _NYT_ profile”: of ElBaradei is pretty good, but one part is just outstanding.

The article talks about US efforts to keep ElBaradei from obtaining another term as IAEA DG. Apparently, he didn’t want the job until he heard that J Bolton was trying to oust him:

He said *he had been “99 percent decided” against running until he learned that John R. Bolton,* then Washington’s United Nations ambassador, *was determined to block him.*

Dr. ElBaradei recalled “a sense of revulsion” that such a personal decision should be made “by anybody else.”

*His wife said she had told him, “Mohamed, you run — tomorrow!”*

Strong work.

Excerpts from two _NYT_ interviews with ElBaradei can be found “here”: and “here.”:

Neocons and Black Metal

FoKerr _LH_ sent along “this piece”: by Mark Ames which makes the case that there are a number of similarities between neoconservatism and black metal.

This part is hilarious:

Then there’s [Richard] Perle, who…has his own infamous Black Metal nom de roque: The Prince of Darkness. Arrrggghhh! *Launch fireworks and pyrotechnics from front of stage, set off explosions, lower giant skull as The Prince of Darkness and David “Axis of Evil” Frum take to the stage in their End to Evil monsters of hardline ideology tour!*

The similarities don’t stop there. Whereas Vikernes and other Black Metalists saw heathen Norway in a life-or-death struggle for existence with the Semitic tribes’ Judeo-Christianity, Perle and Frum see Judeo-Christian America under threat from Islam. And both have the same solution: War, dude!

Speaking of metal (OK, grindcore) and hilarious, this is Napalm Death doing what is perhaps the shortest song ever recorded:

Yet More on Iran and IAEA Work Plan

UNSG Ban Ki-moon provided further evidence that people shouldn’t be sweating the Iran-IAEA cooperation “agreement”: quite so much. [Previous post “here.”: ]

According to “Reuters,”: Ban said that Iran has to sack up and comply with all of the UNSC’s requirements:

“I know that there was an agreement between the IAEA and Iran on the future work plans on this,” Ban said in his first reaction to the agreement. “I know that there are some different understandings or expectations.”

“What is important at this time is that, *in addition to what IAEA has been negotiating and discussing with the Iranian government, the Iranian government should fully comply with the Security Council resolutions* — that is the core,” Ban said.

OK, maybe I paraphrased a little.

Iran and the 3K Centrifuges

Andreas Persbo “posted”: on a subject I was thinking of blogging about: Ahmadinejad’s “recently-reported”: claim that Iran has 3,000 centrifuges.

Andreas seems to conclude what I was thinking: the assertion could be technically sorta true if you massage the numbers a bit.

He says:

bq. According to an article by Mark Heinrich, Agency inspectors visited the Natanz facility on 3 September 2007 and found two more modules “being hooked up”, which would *bring the total number of centrifuges operating with hexafluoride gas, under vacuum, or being in various stages of construction to 2,952.*

More on Iran and the IAEA

Following up on “this post”: from the other day, it looks as if the IAEA is making efforts to defend the recent work program between the agency and Tehran.

For example, “the AP,”:;_ylt=AthoT36TNB7zstPpTRYZR6FSw60A “Reuters,”:;_ylt=Ahvyt6_9QsLUz74Xd3hyRXRSw60A and “AFP”:;_ylt=AtkMVCvBLhwMDbMD1dTQxpRSw60A are reporting about a briefing that IAEA DG ElBaradei gave to reporters about the arrangement.

I found this section of the Reuters story especially noteworthy:

*He [ElBaradei] said critics had misread the pact in suggesting it ruled out future IAEA inquiries if new suspicions about Iranian activity arose, and lifted pressure on Iran to grant wider inspections or heed U.N. resolutions demanding it stop uranium enrichment,* a process that can be used to make atom bombs.

“There have been back-seat drivers putting in their five cents saying this is not a good working arrangement,” he told reporters invited into his Vienna office for a briefing.

*”Iran can never get a pass (on their nuclear behavior) until we decide to give them a pass. They may say (in public statements) that their file is now closed, but that is up to us.*

Similarly, he said, according to AFP, that

bq. the IAEA has made clear “privately and publicly that *we will continue and have the right to give any questions in the future*.”

These strike me as reasonable answers to the criticisms about the arrangement, but we’ll see what happens.

In any case, I’ve never really understood what the “the IAEA should be tougher” crowd really wants ElBaradei to do. At this point, the action RE: consequences for Iran’s noncompliance with its IAEA obligations is at the UNSC.

Wine and Nuclear Testing

The _New Yorker_ has “an article”: in which Patrick Radden Keefe explains several methods by which experts determine the age of a given bottle of wine.

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Now, whatever else you want to say about nuclear-weapons testing, it apparently has given the world a couple of different ways to figure out if you got your money’s worth by dropping several grand on that bottle of whatever.

According to Keefe, a gentleman had the contents of a particular bottle carbon-dated in an effort to figure out whether he had been swindled. That’s where nuclear-testing came into play:

bq. All organic material contains the radioactive isotope carbon 14, which exhibits a predictable rate of decay; scientists can thus analyze the amount of the isotope in a bottle of wine in order to approximate its age. Carbon 14 has a long half-life, and carbon dating is relatively imprecise for evaluating objects that are several centuries old. But *nuclear atmospheric tests in the nineteen-fifties and sixties offer a benchmark of sorts, since levels of carbon 14 rise sharply during that period. In this case, the amounts of carbon 14 and of another isotope, tritium, were much higher than one would expect for two-hundred-year-old wine*, and the scientists concluded that the bottle contained a mixture of wines, nearly half of which dated to 1962 or later.

Similarly, Philippe Hubert, a French physicist, developed a method of determining the age of wine which also is related to nuke testing. Keefe writes that Hubert

bq. had devised a method of testing the age of wine without opening the bottle. Hubert uses low-frequency gamma rays to *detect the presence of the radioactive isotope cesium 137. Unlike carbon 14, cesium 137 is not naturally occurring; it is a direct result of nuclear fallout. A wine bottled before the advent of atmospheric nuclear testing contains no cesium 137,* so the test yields no results for older wines. But *if a wine does contain cesium 137 the short half-life of the isotope—thirty years—allows Hubert to make a more precise estimate of its age.*

More trivia to fill your head…

Yet Another IAEA Report on Iran

Now that I have no reliable internet access at home, I am an even worse blogger.

Anyhow, I’m late to the party, but both “Andreas Persbo”: and “ISIS”: (not “this”: ISIS) have copies of the latest IAEA report about Iran. [ISIS also has an “issue brief”: about the report.]

In addition to the latest news about Tehran’s enrichment escapades, the report also describes the “recent deal”: between the agency and Iran. I was suspicious that the document relased a few days before might have contained a bit of Iranian spin on the arrangement. But apparently not.

Speaking of that deal, I have a ton of respect for David Albright and Jackie Shire who, along with various others, have “described”: the arrangement as “flawed.” But I don’t see what the fuss is about.

It’s true that the arrangement has its problems, but I don’t see anything in it that precludes the IAEA from fully pursuing its investigation of Iran’s nuclear programs. For one thing, the relevant UNSC resolutions, which require Tehran to resolve the outstanding nuclear issues, ratify its additional protocol, and suspend enrichment, remain in force. For another, the sanctions that have already been imposed won’t be lifted without Iran’s compliance.

Additionally, the language in ElBaradei’s report suggests that the IAEA intends to be pretty serious about its investigation:

bq. Naturally, the *key to successful implementation of the agreed work plan is Iran’s full and active cooperation with the Agency, and its provision to the Agency of all relevant information and access to all relevant documentation and individuals to enable the Agency to resolve all outstanding issues.* To this end, the Agency considers it essential that Iran adheres to the time line defined therein and implements all the necessary safeguards and transparency measures, including the measures provided for in the Additional Protocol.

I’m inclined to give the agency a chance.

How’d Those Nukes Get There?

Imagined conversation between pilot and ground crew, after a B-52 took off from Minot Air Base and landed in Louisiana with “six cruise missiles carrying W-80 nuclear warheads:”:

CREW MEMBER: What are those?

PILOT: New boots.

CM: No, _those_.

P: Fuck…

From what Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said, it sounds like the Air Force is enforcing some discipline:

“The munitions squadron commander has been *relieved of his duties,* and final action is pending the outcome of the investigation,” he said.

“In addition, *other airmen were decertified from their duties involving munitions.*

Hans K has much more “over at his place.”:

And “this _ACT_ piece”: by Wade has a short discussion about the US decision to eliminate some of its nuclear-armed cruise missiles:

*Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld ordered the Air Force last Oct. 17 to decommission all AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles (ACMs) and shrink the force of AGM-86 Air-Launched Cruise Missiles (ALCMs) to 528.* Air Force fact sheets from early 2006 reported the service had approximately 460 ACMs and 1,142 ALCMs.

In March 28 prepared testimony to the Senate Armed Services Strategic Forces Subcommittee, *Air Force Major General Roger Burg said the service would not take “irreversible actions” to demilitarize and destroy retired cruise missiles until receiving “final congressional approval.”* No serious congressional opposition has emerged to the plan.


Big ups to Tristero for the “link.”: