Monthly Archives: October 2007

Even More Syria Images


Because this isn’t confusing enough already.

The _NYT_ has “published”: a 2003 image of the suspected Syrian reactor site which shows that the square building was under construction even back then. This begs a host of obvious questions.

And congrats to Mr. ACW for the _NYT_ quote.

Lastly, here’s one of my favorite scenes from The Wire, which also happens to include one of the best Pogues songs ever:

More Syria Images

I realize that anyone who cares already knows, but ISIS has images showing that Syria has “removed the building”: suspected of holding the nuclear reactor-to-be. In addition, the Syrians have “buried the building’s foundation.”:

On another note, the _NYT_ had some information “the other day”: about the Google Earth images that I “blogged about:”:

bq. The SPOT Image Corporation, a commercial satellite company in Chantilly, Va., said Wednesday that its spacecraft took this picture of the site in August 2006 — a year before the newly released images.

Speaking of Square Reactor Buildings…

…I’d like to know how the ISIS images that I blogged “here”: square with the photos described in this “ABC News story”: from a few days ago.

According to that story:

bq. The official described the pictures as showing a big *cylindrical structure,* with very thick walls all well-reinforced. The photos show rebar hanging out of the cement used to reinforce the structure, which was still under construction.

I can think of a few things, but this apparent discrepancy strikes me as a bit odd.

Syria [Alleged] Reactor Images

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“ISIS”: has them.

According to the “_WP_,”:

bq. U.S. and international experts and officials familiar with the site… said there was a strong and credible possibility that they depict the remote compound that was attacked.

I think the ISIS report is appropriately qualified. What we know is that the Syrians had a building similar to the one housing the Yongbyon reactor.

I was also pleased to note that ISIS pointed out something that should be pretty damn obvious, but is frequently overlooked:

bq. If Syria wanted to build nuclear weapons, it would need a specialized facility to chemically separate the plutonium from the irradiated fuel discharged from the reactor. It is unknown whether Syria has such a facility under construction or planned.

The report also notes that “On October 23, 2007, Google Earth posted imagery that covers a wide swath of eastern Syria and includes” the reactor site, though the images seem to be considerably older than the ones ISIS posted.

The relevant Google Earth placemark can be downloaded “here.”:
[Original link to the file is “here.”: ]

*Update:* is “here.”:

Bernard Baruch Bench


When I was walking through the redwoods this summer, I ran across the bench pictured above.

It’s hard to see in the photo (tricky light, cheap camera, and I am just learning iPhoto), but the plaque praises Bernard Baruch (of “Baruch plan”: fame), stating that “his stature is that of the redwoods.”

You can download a larger version “here.”: You still might have to enlarge it.

Indian Embassy Statement on the Nuclear Deal

You’ve likely seen it, but “here is”: the Indian embassy’s statement about the 123 agreement:

bq. The Prime Minister also explained to President Bush that certain difficulties have arisen with respect to the operationalisation of the India – US civil nuclear cooperation agreement.

The Press Trust of India reported a bit more detail on 16 October. Apparently US Ambassador to India David Mulford got some more information from External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee during a meeting the previous evening:

During the 45-minute meeting, *Mukherjee is understood to have conveyed to Mulford the political compulsions the UPA [United Progressive Alliance] government have in not going ahead with the deal for now, but expressed the determination to push it through at later stage.*

The US envoy articulated his country’s main concern about the future of the deal in the wake of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s remark at the Hindustan Times Leadership summit here that non-implementation of the agreement was not the end of life.

Not sure how much determination the Indians are conveying, but there it is.

Saudi FM on Nukes

Speaking of countries in the Middle East without nuclear weapons, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal was on the Charlie Rose show recently and discussed the likelihood that Riyadh would go nuclear.

In response to Rose’s assertion/question: “So if Iran has nuclear weapons, then Saudi Arabia will have nuclear weapons,” Saud al-Faisal replied

bq. No, Saudi Arabia has decided, out of a national — its own national policy consideration not to go through that route. But this does not say — mean that no other countries in the Middle East will do so.

This is, of course, what the Saudis would likely say whether or not they were thinking about nukes, but still…

Dana P Talks About Israel’s Nukes

Or, you know, doesn’t.

During a “recent press briefing,”: Helen Thomas asked about nuclear weapons in the Middle East. WH Press Secretary Dana Perino tiptoed around the elephant in the room:

Q (Off mike) — the White House has a driving interest in keeping nuclear arms out of Iran, I’d like to ask you, *does any country in the Middle East have nuclear arms?*

MS. PERINO: Well, *I would leave it to those countries to announce whether they do or not. I think that there’s public information about that, Helen.*

Q No, no, no. I want to know if White House knows if there — what do you mean they’re going to announce it?

MS. PERINO: I’m not prepared to say anything beyond what has been publicly stated.

Q So you don’t know whether any other country in the Middle East has nuclear arms?

MS. PERINO: Helen, *I will let those countries speak for themselves.*

Q Or you refuse to say?

MS. PERINO: *I’ll just refuse to say it.*