How Syrian-Nuke Evidence Was Faked

Exclusive: In joining Israel and the White House selling military intervention in Syria, the CIA and international inspectors hid key evidence that would undermine the case, says Gareth Porter in a second part of a two-part series.

By Gareth Porter

When Yousry Abushady studied the highly unusual May 2008 CIA video on a Syrian nuclear reactor that was allegedly under construction when Israeli jet destroyed it seven months earlier, the senior specialist on North Korean nuclear reactors on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s staff knew that something was very wrong.

Abushady quickly determined that the CIA had been seriously misled by Israeli intelligence and immediately informed the two highest officials of the Vienna-based IAEA, Director General Mohamed ElBaradei and Deputy Director for Safeguards, Olli Heinonen, that the CIA’s conclusions were not consistent with the most basic technical requirements for such a reactor.

But it did not take long for Abushady to realize that the top IAEA officials were not interested in drawing on his expertise in regard to the alleged Syrian reactor. In fact, the IAEA cited nonexistent evidence linking the site to a Syrian nuclear program while covering up real evidence that would have clearly refuted such a claim, according to Abushady and other former senior IAEA officials.

When Abudhsady met with Heinonen to discuss his analysis of the CIA’s case in May 2008, Abushady asked to be included on the team for the anticipated inspection of the al-Kibar site because of his unique knowledge of that type reactor.

But Heinonen refused his request, citing an unwritten IAEA rule that inspectors are not allowed to carry out inspections in their countries of origin. Abushady objected, pointing out that he is Egyptian, not Syrian, to which Heinonen responded, “But you are an Arab and a Muslim!” according to Abushady. Heinonen declined a request for his comment on Abushady’s account of the conversation.

A Curious Inspection

In June 2008, an IAEA team consisting of Heinonen and two other inspectors took environmental samples at the al-Kibar site. In November 2008, the IAEA issued a report saying that laboratory analysis of a number of natural uranium particles collected at the site “indicates that the uranium is anthropogenic,” meaning that it had been processed by humans.

The implication was clearly that this was a reason to believe that the site had been connected with a nuclear program. But former IAEA officials have raised serious questions about Heinonen’s handling of the physical evidence gathered from the Syrian site as well as his characterization of the evidence in that and other IAEA reports.

Olli Heinonen, former IAEA inspector

Tariq Rauf who headed the IAEA’s Verification and Security Policy Coordination Office until 2011, has pointed out that one of the IAEA protocols applicable to these environmental samples is that “the results from all three or four labs to have analyzed the sample must match to give a positive or negative finding on the presence and isotopics or uranium and/or plutonium.”

However, in the Syrian case the laboratories to which the samples had been sent had found no evidence of such man-made uranium in the samples they had tested. ElBaradei himself had announced in late September, three months after the samples had originally been taken but weeks before the report was issued, “So far, we have found no indication of any nuclear material.” So the November 2008 IAEA report claiming a positive finding was not consistent with its protocols.

But the samples had been sent to yet another laboratory, which had come up with a positive test result for a sample, which had then touted as evidence that the site had held a nuclear reactor. That in itself is an indication that a fundamental IAEA protocol had been violated in the handling of the samples from Syria.

One of the inspectors involved in the IAEA inspection at al-Kibar later revealed to a fellow IAEA inspector what actually happened in the sample collection there. Former senior IAEA inspector Robert Kelley recalled in an interview that, after the last results of the samples from the al-Kibar inspection had come back from all the laboratories, the inspector, Mongolian national Orlokh Dorjkhaidav, came to see him because he was troubled by the results and wanted to tell someone he trusted.

Negative Results

Dorjkhaidav told Kelley that all the samples taken from the ground in the vicinity of the bombed building had tested negative for man-made uranium and that the only sample that had tested positive had been taken in the toilet of the support building.

Dorjkhaidav later left the IAEA and returned to Mongolia, where he died in December 2015. A video obituary for Dorjkhaidav confirmed his participation in the inspection in Syria. Kelley revealed the former inspector’s account to this writer only after Dorjkhaidav’s death.

David Albright, former weapons inspector and founder of the Institute for Science and International Security.

In an e-mail response to a request for his comment on Kelley’s account of the Syrian environmental samples, Heinonen would neither confirm nor deny that the swipe sample described by Dorjkhaidav had been taken inside the support building. But in January 2013, David Albright, Director of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C., who has co-authored several articles with Heinonen, acknowledged in a commentary on his think tank’s website that the al-Kibar uranium particles had been “found in a changing room in a building associated with the reactor.”

Given the dispersal of any nuclear material around the site by the Israeli bombing, if man-made uranium was present at the site, it should not have shown up only inside the support facility but should have been present in the samples taken from the ground outside.

Former IAEA senior inspector Kelley said in an e-mail that a “very likely explanation” for this anomaly is that it was a case of “cross contamination’ from the inspector’s own clothing. Such cross contamination had occurred in IAEA inspections on a number of occasions, according to both Kelley and Rauf.

Kelley, who had been in charge of inspections in Iraq in the early 1990s, recalled that a set of environmental swipes taken from nuclear facilities that the United States had bombed in Iraq had appeared to show that that Iraq had enriched uranium to 90 percent. But it turned out that they had been taken with swipe paper that had been contaminated accidentally by particles from the IAEA laboratory.

But what bothered Abushady the most was that the IAEA report on Syria had remained silent on the crucial fact that none of the sample results had shown any trace of nuclear-grade graphite.

Abushady recalled that when he challenged Heinonen on the absence of any mention of the nuclear graphite issue in the draft report in a Nov. 13, 2008 meeting, Heinonen said the inspectors had found evidence of graphite but added, “We haven’t confirmed that it was nuclear-grade.”

Abushady retorted, “Do you know what nuclear-grade graphite is? If you found it you would know it immediately.”

Heinonen was invited to comment on Abushady’s account of that meeting for this article but declined to do so.

After learning that the report scheduled to be released in November would be silent on the absence of nuclear graphite, Abushady sent a letter to ElBaradei asking him not to release the report on Syria as it was currently written. Abushady protested the report’s presentation of the environmental sampling results, especially in regard to nuclear-grade graphite.

“In my technical view,” Abushady wrote, “these results are the basis to confirm the contrary, that the site cannot [have been] actually a nuclear reactor.”

But the report was published anyway, and a few days later, ElBaradei’s Special Assistant Graham Andrew responded to Abushady’s message by ordering him to “stop sending e-mails on this subject” and to “respect established lines of responsibility, management and communication.”

A Clear Message

The message was clear: the agency was not interested in his information despite the fact that he knew more about the issue than anyone else in the organization.

Satellite photos of the supposed Syrian nuclear site before and after the Israeli airstrike.

At a briefing for Member States on the Syria reactor issue on Feb. 26, 2009, the Egyptian representative to the IAEA confronted Heinonen on the absence of nuclear-grade graphite in the environmental samples. This time, Heinonen had a different explanation for the failure to find any such graphite. He responded that it was “not known whether the graphite was in the building at the time of the destruction,” according to the diplomatic cable reporting on the briefing that was later released by WikiLeaks.

But that response, too, was disingenuous, according to Abushady. “Graphite is a structural part of the reactor core in the gas-cooled reactor,” he explained. “It is not something you add at the end.”

The IAEA remained silent on the question of graphite in nine more reports issued over more than two years. When the IAEA finally mentioned the issue for the first time officially in a May 2011 report, it claimed that the graphite particles were “too small to permit an analysis of the purity compared to that normally required for use in a reactor.”

But American nuclear engineer Behrad Nakhai, who worked at Oak National Laboratories for many years, said an interview that the laboratories definitely have the ability to determine whether the particles were nuclear grade or not, so the claim “doesn’t make sense.”

News outlets have never reported on the IAEA’s role in helping to cover up the false CIA claim of a North-Korean-style nuclear reactor in the desert by a misleading portrayal of the physical evidence collected in Syria and suppressing the evidence that would have made that role clear.

Heinonen, who was directly responsible for the IAEA’s role in the Syria cover-up, left the IAEA in August 2010 and within a month was given a position at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has continued to take positions on the Iran nuclear negotiations that were indistinguishable from those of the Netanyahu government. And he is now senior adviser on science and non-proliferation at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank whose positions on the Iran nuclear issues have closely followed those of the Likud governments in Israel.

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist and historian on U.S. national security policy and the recipient of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. His most recent book is Manufactured Crisis: the Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare, published in 2014. [For a previous segment of this two-part series, see]

52 comments for “How Syrian-Nuke Evidence Was Faked

  1. Chris Chuba
    November 21, 2017 at 18:17

    Thank you Gareth Porter for an excellent article, I’ve been looking for an analysis of this subject because a google / Wikipedia search only has the U.S. / Israeli friendly version of events.

    The other side routinely throws in … 1. ‘several N. Korean technicians were killed in the raid’, and 2. ‘The Syrian reactor was financed by Iran’. Are these just total fabrications? It does play into the ‘axis of evil’ meme and Neocons are shameless liars but I’ve wondered if they had any foundation or if this just makes for a good story.

    Is there an explanation as to what type of facility this really was since it was not a plutonium reactor, was it a chemical or pharmaceutical plant, or run of the mill military facility?

    • Anon
      November 22, 2017 at 19:16

      I would guess that Israel would have no evidence of financing of a specific facility, and probably no evidence of specific casualties. To have either they would need inside information or ground sources, unlikely to be accurate.

  2. Mild - ly Facetious
    November 21, 2017 at 17:51

    He, the interminably insistent one/vs.
    me, the trained obedient facilitator of

    Insidiously Enhanced Interrogation
    adopted from past human tortures

  3. Mild - ly Facetious
    November 20, 2017 at 15:31

    The Talmud-ist faction/Zionist Hebrews,
    whose dominion doth control Wealth,

    And therefore, all communication as
    thoughts in our heads, communicated

    By Talmud recognitions/interpretations
    re-formalized by Sigmund Freud/isms

    He, the interminably insistent one/vs.
    me, the trained obedient facilitator of

    Insidiously Enhanced Interrogation
    adopted from past human tortures

    Their fears/ horrors from wild beasts
    and new found land where u’might

    Come to the end of wandering
    and find the place of your own.

    “Now, Faith is the
    of things

    hoped for
    the evidence of
    things not (yet) seen”

  4. Mark Thomason
    November 20, 2017 at 09:52

    This story by rights ought to be all over the mainstream media. It is a major failing, taking us to war and killing people.

    Instead, it is disappeared by that media. Unmentioned. Never happened.

    That is as much a story as the underlying story. In some ways it has further reach, explaining more of our troubles.

  5. fuster
    November 20, 2017 at 05:50

    ” The facts about al-Kibar were soon clear, and about those facts there was no debate: It was a nuclear reactor that was almost an exact copy of the Yongbyon reactor in North Korea, and North Koreans had been involved with Syria’s development of the site. Given its location and its lack of connection to any electrical grid, this reactor was part of a nuclear-weapons program rather than intended to produce electric power.”

    that the reactor was bombed before it was brought on-line and therefore didn’t scatter radioactive material is precisely why the reactor was bombed before it was brought on-line

    and NOT evidence that it wasn’t a nuclear reactor as this ashhole Porter would have you believe.

    there is no end to this creepy lunatics lies and nonsense.

    only by dying will this febrile disgrace of a man by silenced

    • Anon
      November 20, 2017 at 07:50

      Please take your own advice and begone.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 20, 2017 at 12:17

      The fusters of Holy Israel are outraged that their schemes aren’t working as well as the like.

      November 3, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Abe, you’re a nasshole.

      I’m neither a zionist nor a fan of the lousy Netanyahu administration.

      you are too stupid and jejeune to understand that the piffle and agitprop that you naively spout is not truth and too much of a nasshole to believe that wiser heads sincerely reject your ignorant views and twittish cant

      Pitiful and laughable, except for the damage the unventilated outhouse of a nation is causing.

      • fuster
        November 20, 2017 at 16:58

        you’re a nashole, Smiff

    • Seer
      November 20, 2017 at 17:42

      “that the reactor was bombed before it was brought on-line and therefore didn’t scatter radioactive material is precisely why the reactor was bombed before it was brought on-line”

      And even before it has any approximation to being a nuclear facility!

      “before it was brought on-line” would seem to make it sounds like the key was in the switch and the line of trucks with the feedstock were rolling down the road.

      At what point would there have been detectable radiation taking place there? IF, as you note, and I think it’s an “interesting” note, this was known to be well before being able to be put on-line, why the bother to send people there to check for radiation?

      Seems a wide enough intelligence gap (or gaff) to give pause to the official claims being accurate.

      Lastly, message, not messenger. I recognize that because today you have shown yourself to be a d*ck doesn’t meant that tomorrow you will be one. It also doesn’t change the content of your claims/words (though, as sprinkled with cloaked expletives, tends to show a less-than stellar mind for engaging in pure analytics), which are in better need of support.

    • Ghostship
      November 26, 2017 at 20:10

      Four points:
      1. The site of the alleged reactor has been under the full control of the SDF for about a year. If it really was a reactor don’t you think the CIA would have investigated the site to establish if any evidence remains that would be useful to understand any proliferation issues. Have there been any reports of such an investigation?
      2. The North Korean reactors are all based on the British-designed Magnox reactors and use natural(unenriched) uranium as fuel and graphite as the moderator. The graphite moderator is installed during the construction process before the reactor is fuelled. At the stage at which the alleged attack occurred, the detonation of a bomb would have reduced the graphite to duct and thrown large quantities into the atmosphere that would have covered the ground around the site. Looking on the latest satellite imagery of the site, there is no evidence of a clean up of graphite so where did all the graphite go, fuckwit?
      3. The lack of connection to an electrical grid is actually evidence that it’s not a reactor. I’ll leave it to you to find out why so that you can demonstrate your knowledge of nuclear reactors.
      4. The moderator in Magnox reactors, graphite, oxidises rapidly in air so the core has to be cooled using a relatively inert gas such as CO2. To remove heat from the core this gas is passed through heat exchangers to generate steam which would typically drive turbines to generate electricity. Even if the alleged reactor was used purely for creating plutonium it would be outputting massive amounts of waste heat. Where are the heat exchangers and where is the cooling system to remove excess heat.

      BTW, this is what a small Magnox reactor (60MWe/268MWt) looks like.

  6. fuster
    November 20, 2017 at 04:44

    Gareth Porter is a disgraced lunatic who should have had the decency never to have written another word after being exposed as a vile piece of scum who denied that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were genocidal maniacs.

    instead this disgusting old fool continues to spew unhinged nonsense and lies despite his disgrace and inability to find employment by any reputable organization.,204,203,200_.jpg

    when my son was a young journalist in DC, a dozen years ago, Porter begged my son to share his sources, telling him that no one in town would take any of his calls

    • Anon
      November 20, 2017 at 07:49

      Your posts here have uniformly shown that you fit your own description as a “disgraced lunatic.”
      No doubt you are seeking to divert, as well as to cover up the US sponsorship of Pol Pot.
      Anyone who wants the facts can read the Australian government sponsored study Brother Number One: a political biography of Pol Pot.

      • Zachary Smith
        November 20, 2017 at 12:59

        A final thought about this post by “fuster”. Years ago when I first encountered the internet tubes, I noticed that the standard group of Israel propagandists at the Indystar site had some odd quirks. The content of their posts varied wildly at times. Grammar, vocabulary, and even content were different for the same user name! The only conclusion which made sense to me was that there was a tag-team of workers involved. If somebody got sick, or needed a vacation, or needed to address a topic which was completely out of reach for him, somebody else took over and made the post in his name.

        With that in mind, examine fuster’s post again. It has some capitalized letters. It has some punctuation. It has elements of standard English grammar. It even makes a little bit of sense!!

        Methinks there a few reasons to believe “fuster” uses an “assistant” or “reliever” some of the time, for this particular post doesn’t have the ‘feel’ of something a not-too-bright teenager has written.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 20, 2017 at 12:41

      I just realized that fuster had provided a link! Maybe he has done this before, but it’s surely an uncommon happening.

      Gareth Porter is a disgraced lunatic who should have had the decency never to have written another word after being exposed as a vile piece of scum who denied that Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge were genocidal maniacs.

      And even more amazing is that there is a kernel of truth involved. Truth from a fuster-type propgandist is rare! My head is swimming as I type this.

      Garath Porter did indeed have a major brain fart back in 1976 when he had a stint as Cambodian Genocide Denier.

      Shawcross responded, “I was glad to acknowledge in my article that Mr. Porter had changed his views on the Khmer Rouge and it is a tribute to his own integrity that he now agrees that the Khmer Rouge have imposed ‘unnecessary costs’ on the Cambodian people. He should, however, be a little more careful before he accuses others of deliberately falsifying evidence and of intellectual dishonesty.”[27]

      In 2010, Porter said he had been waiting many years for someone to ask him about his earlier views of the Khmer Rouge. He described how the climate of distrust of the government generated during the Vietnam war carried over to Cambodia. “I uncovered a series of instances when government officials were propagandizing [about the Vietnam war]. They were lying,” he explained. “I’ve been well aware for many years that I was guilty of intellectual arrogance. I was right about the bloodbath in Vietnam, so I assumed I would be right about Cambodia.”[28]

      “Young” and “stupid” and “arrogant” are a bad mix. Add a big dollop of “rage” about Vietnam and a very out-of-line conclusion emerged. Presumably Mr. Porter has learned and profited from that gross error of 40 years ago.

      The pair of essays published here look mighty good to people who don’t have their noses planted squarely in Holy Israel’s heiney. Also, it took some substantial courage to row against the prevailing current of Imperial US and Imperial Israel propaganda.

      • David Smith
        November 22, 2017 at 09:35

        Z.S. Mr Porter did not have a brain fart. The Kmer Rouge killed approx. 200,000(source,a survivor of S Camp) The 1969-1973 USAF bombing of Cambodia killed approx 1,000,000 with 2.8 million TONS of bombs, that’s 2.8 TONS of bombs to kill one Cambodian farmer. Either the USAF is one inconpetant outfit, or a Cambodian farmer is way tougher than a US Marine.

  7. David G
    November 19, 2017 at 23:42

    Devastating stuff. Thanks again, Gareth Porter.

    Having read Part 2, I still feel as I did in my comment to Part 1: it’s disappointing that ElBaradei apparently didn’t try to stop this snow job.

    Having shown himself to be not entirely in the bag during the Iraq/WMD fiasco, here he seems to have gone along without any visible fuss.

    I guess we take what we can get; under his successor at the IAEA, U.S.-approved Yukiya Amano, we know there won’t be any squawking when Washington wants silence.

  8. John
    November 19, 2017 at 20:18


    My understanding of the theory positing the BoE as an unfinished nuclear reactor maintained that all the Syrians had constructed by the time the Israelis bombed it was the foundation for the reactor core. Thus the completed reactor would have been far larger that the bombed building which just served to keep out rainwater and disguise the purpose of the construction. There should not have been any uranium or graphite at the site at this early stage of construction unless the Syrians were doing small-scale experiments on site with these materials. Jeffrey Lewis posted a photograph supposedly taken of the reactor foundation online at Arms Control Wonk here:
    I think the jury is still out on this mystery.

    • Zachary Smith
      November 19, 2017 at 22:52

      From your link:

      I confess I am a little surprised. An agent inside with a video camera is a littler more 24 or Alias than typical clandestine operations. I am not sure how or why the Syrians let a video camera into the facility in the first place.

      I’m a little surprised Lewis took the bait and created his title: First Evidence BoE Was a Reactor

      First word which comes to mind is “gullible”. Another possibility is “huge monetary contribution”.

      Back in 2007 he had written this conclusion to a piece:

      In short, we don’t know what the site was, what (or who) survived the strike, and where it is now.

      All it took was some mysterious photographs appearing out of thin air to change the situation entirely.


      (While rummaging through the Lewis archives, I saw that he believes Edward Snowden is a Russian spy.)

      More from another site:

      An indigenous nuclear program is probably beyond Syria’s financial means. Syria’s 2006 GDP is estimated at $78 Billion[17]. In 1993, the U.S. Congressional Office of Technology Assessment estimated the cost of a nuclear weapons program in the hundreds of millions of dollars[18]. However, an indigenous clandestine program can cost from 10 to 50 times more[19]. Syria would have to dedicate a prohibitively large portion of its GDP to fund a nuclear weapons program, and most analysts concur that they do not have the economic base to do that. Syria suffers from poor infrastructure, antiquated technology, and declining oil revenues. An aging population, a command economy, and the restrictions on political freedoms which deter foreign investment also contribute to a weak Syrian economy[20].

      Even if Syria wanted to dedicate its resources to a nuclear weapons program, it would still require “at least a modest technological infrastructure[21].” Syria’s scientific base is very weak, and insufficient to develop a nuclear program. Syria has very little participation in international science publications databases, even relative to neighbors in the region. Syrian papers are not frequently published in international journals. As the Swedish Defense Research Agency reports, “A survey of the major scientific databases from the 1960s to 2003 only produced approximately 280 “hits” for Syria compared to much higher numbers for Jordan (8,000), Egypt (60,000) and Israel (100,000)[22].” Perusing the AECS website[23] yields very few reports that the commission has published. Most articles on the site are not published by the AECS. Although it is possible that Syria is keeping its research private, to conceal a clandestine program, it is more likely that Syria has a very low technical base. My assessment is further supported by the fact that one of the main inhibiting factors to Syria’s economic infrastructure is antiquated technology. Joseph Cirincione from the Center for American Progress concurs with my assessment: “This is an extremely demanding technology, and I don’t think Syria has the technical, engineering or financial base to really support such a reactor[24].”

      Assume – against all the evidence presented in Mr. Porter’s essay above – that the thing was in fact a reactor. As the quote above states, Syria was too poor to build the surrounding infrastructure. That nation didn’t have the scientists. Nor the necessary skills. You don’t point a magic wand at used nuclear fuel and the elements magically separate into neat piles.

      It seems to me that if the building had been crammed full of “reactor” materials, US satellites would have a genuine slide show of the Syrians furiously cutting up the mangled debris so as to cart it off. Where are those pictures? Where is the enormous trash pile?

      Perhaps the big building was simply a “roof” to keep prying eyes away from a way station on Hezbollah’s missile highway from Iran. Presumably lots of trucks were coming and going, and the inventory went up and down according to the shipping schedules.


  9. jaycee
    November 19, 2017 at 18:48

    The politicization of Intelligence is the essence of fake news. Dissemination of fake news to support already determined policies serves as an affront not only to democratic informed-voter political systems, but also to the so-called Enlightenment values which are supposedly the foundation of our societies. Clearly, purveyors of fake news are assured position within a fake news diaspora embedded in the academic/think tank system. A quick look at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies website reveals numerous dubious “facts”, including Heinonen blandly mis-interpreting a recent statement by the Iranian Foreign Minister (see footnote 2).

  10. ranney
    November 19, 2017 at 17:27

    These two articles are very depressing but informative. They demonstrate how easy it is for UN or US (or whoever) agencies to simply change the out come of an investigation if one or two highly placed members of any agency in question wishes to do so. Continuing the depressing news, we find that our blue ribbon universities like Harvard may now be staffed by liars and sycophants who have moved on from doing the dirty work of mult-nationals to getting paid prestigious amounts to also continue lie about it. And, since they are now proven liars, will probably also be given other things their secret employers want them to lie about. In other words, nothing that they attest to henceforth can be counted on as true or honest.

    • Seer
      November 19, 2017 at 19:59

      To some degree it’s always been the case. In today’s world where it’s a bit harder to cover up from those who wish to know we’re just more aware of it happening. I do believe, however, that it’s all picking up steam: stakes are getting larger; onward toward Armageddon!

      • zendeviant
        November 20, 2017 at 07:02

        “Armageddon” is a battle mindset, howsabout apocalypse? “Lifting of the veil,” seems healthier to me.


  11. Lois Gagnon
    November 19, 2017 at 16:45

    It is certainly no secret to those who pay attention that the world is being run by a criminal cabal. Unfortunately, most consumers of “news” in the west prefer the bald face lies to the truth because they prefer not to be upset by frightening reality. The truth being too disturbing to continue with normal life if confronted is not welcome by an infantlized public.

    • David Hamilton
      November 20, 2017 at 13:24


  12. November 19, 2017 at 15:42

    The ruins of the supposed nuclear facility at the Dair Alzour/Al Kibar site is currently in the hand of the Kurds so one assumes it can be visted and re-inspected.

  13. exiled off mainstreet
    November 19, 2017 at 15:37

    This reveals that false reports on Syria, whether involving nuclear reactors or claims of chemical warfare, are a pattern of behaviour with UN officials under the thumb of the Israelis and the powerful US regime which they dominate.

  14. mike k
    November 19, 2017 at 15:24

    “History” is mostly a bundled of lies told by those profit from them. To find out what has really happened, even as recently as yesterday, requires dedicated and clear headed work and research. And yet the ordinary citizen feels fully informed and in the know by the propaganda put out by the establishment and the media it controls. This consequent ignorance of world affairs is the basis of the masses’ enslavement.

    The truth would indeed serve to make us free, but most of us don’t even know that we are being systematically lied to. Hence the real value of CN and other investigative outlets. Let’s make the most of them, while we still have them. The corporate thugs are working hard to shut them down. I urge everyone I know to visit these sites…..

  15. Jonathan Marshall
    November 19, 2017 at 15:20
    • Zachary Smith
      November 19, 2017 at 16:24

      Your link says the Heinonen is comfortable at Harvard, much as torture enabler has a fine job as the Emanuel S. Heller Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley.

      Never prison, nor even disgrace. Promote them, and that legitimizes the lying and other crimes.

    • Anon
      November 19, 2017 at 17:22

      It does appear in these articles that Heinonen opposes certification regardless, and then accepts emoluments from zionists. Add that to the existence of substantial Israeli nuclear weapons supplied by the US, the 1953 US overthrow of democracy in Iran, and the persistent efforts of Israel and the US to overthrow governments that agree to reduce or give up WMD. All US policies in the Mideast are utterly corrupt and treasonous, serving no one in the US but corrupt politicians taking bribes from the zionists et al. Whatever the USG opposes is almost certainly good for the people of the US and everyone else. The politicians are traitors, and deserve prosecution for war crimes, at least imprisonment for life, and in many cases the firing squad.

      At this point nuclear weapons in Iran would likely stabilize the Mideast.

  16. November 19, 2017 at 15:05

    Good Article.
    I believe the War Criminals and supporters of terrorism in positions of power are capable of anything and can get away with anything. See link below:
    November 18, 2017
    Is There Hypocrisy and Hypocrites at Halifax Security Forum in Canada?
    “Representatives from more than 70 countries are attending the three-day forum in Halifax, which bills itself as an annual gathering of democratic leaders committed to global security and prosperity.” November 17, 2017….
    [read more at link below]

    • Virginia
      November 19, 2017 at 19:03

      Are your links getting through, Stephen? Do something so they will, like separate by a space the first and last letters.

      • November 19, 2017 at 20:36

        Hi Virginia, (re “links to info.) Thanks for input. I find the links are working okay,
        Cheers Stephen.

        • Virginia
          November 20, 2017 at 11:32

          OK. Here’s why I asked. You often have blank lines in your posts. I wasn’t sure if they represented redacted content.

  17. john wilson
    November 19, 2017 at 14:41

    The IAEA is not much different to the OPCW, they are both in the pocket of the US deep state and other nefarious actors. Anyway, it wasn’t fake, it was just a bare faced lie as usual. The Neocons can’t bear the fact of the successful inspection so far of Iran’s Nuclear facilities,so that’s why they have withdrawn from the deal. We can be sure that the American war machine will find some excuse to attack Iran and I very much doubt the Yanks have finished with Syria just yet.

  18. Anna
    November 19, 2017 at 13:32

    yes, Heinonen is something: He is a honorary whore.
    “Heinonen, who was directly responsible for the IAEA’s role in the Syria cover-up, left the IAEA in August 2010 and within a month was given a position at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He has continued to take positions on the Iran nuclear negotiations that were indistinguishable from those of the Netanyahu government. And he is now senior adviser on science and non-proliferation at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a think tank whose positions on the Iran nuclear issues have closely followed those of the Likud governments in Israel.”
    Let’a Heinonen enjoy the infamy of being an eager opportunist and material support for war criminals.

  19. Seer
    November 19, 2017 at 13:16

    In the first part of this report I’d commented that the IAEA doesn’t have a military means. The CIA and MOSSAD, however, can call in airstrikes etc to make damaging evidence disappear (which is what they effectively did, with followed continued “observance” of the official story).

  20. geeyp
    November 19, 2017 at 13:11

    Nuclear grade graphite and other information makes these two articles very informative, to put it mildly. An historic piece of work Mr. Porter. Closer to current affairs, I would like to see this kind of effort put into investigation of the illustrious Mr. Mueller. His carrying in a carry-on a Uranium sample to show purity in the sale to the Russians when he was head of the Hoover would make great reading, since we learn of it after the fact.

  21. Seer
    November 19, 2017 at 13:07

    Gareth, in your previous article it was stated:

    “Abushady also found the observable characteristics of the al-Kibar site inconsistent with the most basic technical requirements for a GCGM reactor. He pointed out that the Yongbyon reactor had no less than 20 supporting buildings on the site, whereas the satellite imagery shows that the Syrian site did not have a single significant supporting structure.”

    In this current article there is this:

    “Dorjkhaidav told Kelley that all the samples taken from the ground in the vicinity of the bombed building had tested negative for man-made uranium and that the only sample that had tested positive had been taken in the toilet of the support building.”

    I’m assuming that “significant supporting structure” has to do with serving the functions of a nuclear operation. In the case of the later info the use of ‘support,” building with the toilet, what was that building?

    • cbrown
      November 20, 2017 at 14:26

      “A single significant support building”. My guess it was the one absolutely necessary for the model to work and it may well be characterized by size or form. The support building mentioned later isn’t categorized as significant or particularly important.

      • cbrown
        November 20, 2017 at 14:34

        The support building mentioned may well be just one of the many smaller structure around the alleged ‘main’ building housing the reactor. Just slightly misworded to misled the public. Something they can elaborate later if it’s questioned.

  22. Sam F
    November 19, 2017 at 13:01

    Thank you, Gareth Porter, for exposing the UN/CIA coverup of the Israeli attack via US or other zionist operatives.

  23. Zachary Smith
    November 19, 2017 at 12:58

    News outlets have never reported on the IAEA’s role in helping to cover up the false CIA claim of a North-Korean-style nuclear reactor in the desert by a misleading portrayal of the physical evidence collected in Syria and suppressing the evidence that would have made that role clear.

    They sure didn’t! This is the very first I’ve heard that the “Syrian Reactor” story was of Dick Cheney quality.

    Many thanks to Mr. Porter for the two essays.

  24. ToivoS
    November 19, 2017 at 12:35

    This Olie Heinonen is quite a character. This latest story is news to me but I do remember him carrying water for the US in UN last decade. He helps put to bed the myth that Finns are these progressive social democrats that pursue policies of neutrality between the world’s great power. We often forget that during WWII Finland was allied with the Nazis and Finnish nationalists still revere the openly fascist Mannerheim. I will acknowledge that Finland has had good governments since the end of WWII but we should know that it also has a toxic right-wing forces that have been waiting for their turn to rule these many long decades.

    • Lawrence Magnuson
      November 19, 2017 at 21:18

      What’s your point? You offer a gross simplification of the historical evidence available to you concerning Finland’s man-in-the middle position in the mid-century war. Your cloudy epiphany that “This latest story is news to me but I do remember him carrying water for the US in UN last decade” seems to be there to somehow then by inference include this man as a retrograde Nazi sympathizer or follower, something “toxic.” Here’s more news for you: bring something other than this spurious reasoning to a serious discussion.

      • ToivoS
        November 19, 2017 at 22:06

        If you want to be an apologist for Finland’s alliance with Hitler and Mannerheim’s obvious fascism then so be it. I need not recapitulate that history. Heinonen comes from a political tradition that helps explain his actions supporting US neocon policies. This is a history that few in the US are aware of.

  25. Abe
    November 19, 2017 at 12:27

    In The Iran “Threat” in a Kafkaesque World (2012), Edward S. Herman and David Peterson examined the “extreme application of the double standard” by the United States in the Middle East:

    “U.S. ally and client Israel had from the start received active assistance developing its nuclear capability, and with the help of the United States, France, and Germany, it has built up a substantial arsenal since. This includes some 150-250 nuclear warheads (the exact number is unknown) plus delivery systems by land, sea, air, and ballistic missile. And throughout more than forty years of such unparalleled help, Israel refused to sign the NPT and subject itself to IAEA inspections and was never pressed to do so. A secret agreement was even struck between U.S. President Richard Nixon and Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in 1969 under which the United States agreed to accept – and remain silent about – Israel’s nuclear weapons program. This agreement, often referred to as the “U.S.-Israeli nuclear understanding,” was reaffirmed by U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in May 2009. Netanyahu boasted about it in September that same year after the UN General Assembly (UNGA) summit, telling Israel’s Channel 2 television station that at his meeting with Obama in May, he ‘asked to receive from him an itemized list of the strategic understandings that have existed for many years between Israel and the United States on that issue.’ Obama had obliged. In effect, ‘The president gave Israel an NPT treaty get out of jail free card,’ one Senate staffer told the Washington Times.

    “So thoroughly built-in is this double standard that when the IAEA’s General Conference in Vienna in September 2009 voted forty-nine to forty-five to adopt a binding resolution that ‘calls upon Israel to accede to the NPT and place all its nuclear facilities under comprehensive IAEA safeguards’ – in other words, that Israel’s nuclear weapons program was to be treated the same as Iran’s civilian nuclear program – the English-language media observed near total silence about the event. The only major newspaper that reported it was the next-day’s Irish Times, and nothing showed up in any major U.S. print media.

    “Similarly unmentioned is the fact that the United States is itself in violation of the NPT (as is every member of the Founding Five states – the United States, Russia, Britain, France, and China – that tested a nuclear weapon prior to 1 January 1967). Article VI of the NPT requires that all parties to the treaty ‘pursue negotiations in good faith on effective measures relating to the cessation of the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament, and on a treaty on general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control.’ But the Founding Five have not done this. The United States has openly striven to upgrade its nuclear weapons to make their use more practicable in conventional warfare settings, and both the United States and NATO have publicly declared the importance that the Alliance attaches to a ‘credible’ nuclear posture ‘to preserve peace and prevent coercion and any kind of war.’ Nevertheless, in a Kafkaesque moment, UNSC Resolution 1887, adopted with much fanfare during the opening week of the UNGA’s 2009 session in September, called upon the ‘Parties to the NPT’ to live up to the treaty’s ‘nuclear arms reduction and disarmament’ demands. Indicative of the depth of the institutionalized reality-denial was the fact that the rampant violations and double standards in no way tempered the indignation of the United States and its allies concerning Iran’s alleged NPT violations.”

    The late professor Herman (died 11 November 2017) was a distinguished scholar, political economist, and media analyst/critic.

    Herman is probably best known for developing the propaganda model of media criticism (co-authored with Noam Chomsky) in Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (1988).

    The propaganda model is a conceptual model in political economy advanced by Herman and Chomsky to explain how propaganda and systemic biases function in mass media. The model explains how populations are manipulated and how consent for economic, social, and political policies is “manufactured” in the public mind due to this propaganda.

    According to the propaganda model, the way in which news is structured (e.g. through advertising, concentration of media ownership, government sourcing) creates an inherent conflict of interest that acts as propaganda for undemocratic forces.

    The propaganda model postulates five general classes of “filters” that determine the type of news that is presented in news media. These five classes are: Ownership of the medium, Medium’s funding sources, Sourcing, Flak, and Fear Ideology.

    The Flak filter is conspicuous in the recent Washington Post / PropOrNot imbroglio and Russia-gate hysteria. The term “flak” describes efforts to discredit organizations or individuals who disagree with or cast doubt on prevailing assumptions that are favorable to established power. Flak is characterized by concerted efforts to manage public information in support of the political and economic Establishment, culminating in outright censorship.

    The propaganda model views private media as businesses interested in the sale of a product—readers and audiences—to other businesses (advertisers) rather than that of quality news to the public.

    In The Politics of Genocide (co-authored with Peterson, foreword from Chomsky, 2010), Herman has argued that some genocides have been heavily publicized in the West to advance a specific economic agenda, often leading to a minority controlled governments of pro-Western and pro-business factions, while other genocides, such as in East Timor, have been largely ignored for the same reason.

    • Daniel
      November 19, 2017 at 18:39

      Great information, Abe. It appears Edward Herman’s last published article was this one on the Russia/Fake News propaganda.

    • Abe
      November 21, 2017 at 20:54

      British journalist Jonathan Cook observes:

      “The promotion of the bogus story of a Syrian nuclear reactor by Israel and key figures in the Bush administration was designed to provide the pretext for an attack on Assad. That, it was hoped, would bring an end to his presidency and drag into the fray the main target – Iran. The Syrian “nuclear reactor” was supposed to be a re-run of the WMD deception, used in 2003 to oust another enemy of the US and Israel’s – Saddam Hussein of Iraq.

      “It is noteworthy that the fabricated evidence for a nuclear reactor occurred in 2007, a year after Israel’s failure to defeat Hizbullah in Lebanon. The 2006 Lebanon war was itself intended to spread to Syria and lead to Assad’s overthrow, as I explained in my book Israel and the Clash of Civilisations.

      “It is important to remember that this Israeli-neocon plot against Syria long predated – in fact, in many ways prefigured – the civil war in 2011 that quickly morphed into a proxy war in which the US became a key, if mostly covert, actor. […]

      “the IAEA knowingly conspired in a fictitious, entirely non-scientific assessment of the Syrian “nuclear reactor” story, one that neatly served US-Israeli geopolitical interests. […]

      “The Bush administration wanted to find a way to unseat Assad, crush Hizbullah in Lebanon, and isolate and weaken Iran as a way to destroy the so-called “Shia crescent”.

      “That goal is being actively pursued again by the US today, with Israel and Saudi Arabia leading the way. A former US ambassador to Israel, Dan Shapiro, recently warned that, after their failure to bring down Assad, the Saudis have been trying to switch battlefields to Lebanon, hoping to foment a confrontation between Israel and Hizbullah that would drag in Iran.

      “Abandoning science

      “Back in 2007, the IAEA, an agency of scientists, did its bit to assist – or at least not obstruct – US efforts to foster a political case, an entirely unjustified one, for military action against Syria and, very possibly by extension, Iran.

      “If the IAEA could so abandon its remit and the cause of science to help play politics on behalf of the US, what leads [recent commentators] to assume that the OPCW, an even more politicised body, is doing any better today?

      “That is not to say Assad, or at least sections of the Syrian government, could not have carried out the attack on Khan Sheikhoun. But it is to argue that in a matter like this one, where so much is at stake, the evidence must be subjected to rigorous scrutiny, and that critics, especially experts who offer counter-evidence, must be given a fair hearing by the left. It is to argue that, when the case against Assad fits so neatly a long-standing and self-serving western narrative, a default position of scepticism is fully justified. It is to argue that facts, strong as they may seem, can be manipulated even by expert bodies, and therefore due weight needs also to be given to context – including an assessment of motives.

      “This is not ‘denialism’, as [a recent commentator] claims. It is a rational strategy adopted by those who object to being railroaded once again – as they were in Iraq and Libya – into catastrophic regime change operations.

      “Meanwhile, the decision by [recent commentators] to bury their heads in the sands of an official narrative, all the while denouncing anyone who seeks to lift theirs out for a better view, should be understood for what it is: an abnegation of intellectual and moral responsibility for those around the globe who continue to be the victims of western military supremacism.”

    • Peter Loeb
      November 22, 2017 at 08:24


      I am getting sick and tired of thanking you for your contributions.
      I have, of course, forwarded the link (to Ed Hermanson)
      to those I know.


      —Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Abe
        November 22, 2017 at 14:02

        Thank you, Peter, for sharing the link to the research of Herman and Peterson. Their characterization of a Kafkaesque” is certainly accurate.

        In Franz Kafka: Representative Man (1991), literary biographer and critic Frederick R. Karl described “Kafkaesque” as a “representative adjective of our times”.

        Interviewed for the New York Times , Karl described the essence of “Kafkaesque” as “when you enter a surreal world in which all your control patterns, all your plans, the whole way in which you have configured your own behavior, begins to fall to pieces, when you find yourself against a force that does not lend itself to the way you perceive the world.”

        “You don’t give up, you don’t lie down and die. What you do is struggle against this with all of your equipment, with whatever you have.”

        Karl includes the the key factor: “But of course you don’t stand a chance.”

        Contrary to the feverishly “exceptional” Zionist delusions that govern Israel and the United States, “Jewish life” has been universalized.

        None of us stand a chance, so let’s keep struggling with all we have.

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