Laptop of Death

Albright Drops Pretense of Neutrality, Goes All In With MEK Terrorists

I have long criticized David Albright for his behavior in helping those who have tried to fan the flames over the years for a war with Iran. His role usually consists of providing technical “analysis” that somehow always works to support the latest allegations from sources (most often identified as diplomats) who selectively feed information to either AP reporter George Jahn or Reuters reporter Fredrik Dahl. As the P5+1 group of countries and Iran have moved closer and closer to achieving a final deal on Iran’s nuclear program, the Iran war hawks are growing more and more desperate. That desperation this week has resulted in David Albright dropping all pretense of being a neutral technical analyst and joining forces with the terrorist group MEK in slinging new, unsubstantiated allegations about Iran’s nuclear program.

On Tuesday, Albright published a strange document (pdf) on Iran’s nuclear program at his Institute for Science and International Security website. Also on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal published an editorial that included a quote from Albright.

The reason I say that Albright’s document at the ISIS website is strange is that the document is simply titled “Spin, Spin, Spin” and, after the author list (Andrea Stricker joins him in the byline), the document puts a very strange quotation right after the dateline:

“The bigger the lie…”

The “Spin, Spin, Spin” title could be excused as a clever pun if the article’s topic were the centrifuges that Iran uses for enrichment of uranium. Instead, the topic is exploding bridge wire detonators. The title is a complete dismissal of everything that Iran has to say about the detonators, ascribing it to spin rather than fact. But then Albright and Stricker move beyond the mere spin accusation all the way to accusing Iran of lying–before they lay out a single bit evidence to support their allegation.

The document opens by attacking press coverage of Iran beginning to discuss EBW’s with the IAEA:

Media reporting immediately following the release of the IAEA’s safeguards report focused on Iran’s willingness to discuss the exploding bridge wire (EBW) detonators. That is certainly good news, but did Iran resolve the IAEA’s concern? The answer has to be no or probably not. This fact was only lightly covered in the media over the weekend. Some misinterpreted Iran’s willingness to discuss the issue with making progress on it. One group at least even went so far as to declare that Iran had “halted nuclear activities in the areas of greatest proliferation concern and rolled back its program in other key areas.” But if Iran continues to work on aspects of nuclear weapons, as the IAEA worries, then it is necessary to reserve judgment on that question.

After a while, the document moves on to the accusation that Iran is lying:

So, while it is significant that Iran has been willing to talk about this issue for the first time since 2008 when it unilaterally ended cooperation over the matter, the key consideration is whether Iran is actually addressing the IAEA’s concerns. More plainly, is it telling the truth? The EBW issue must be taken in the context of the large amount of evidence collected by Western intelligence agencies and the IAEA over many years, detailed in the annex to the November 2011 safeguards report, indicating EBWs were part of a nuclear weapon design effort and military nuclear program. From that perspective, Iran has not answered this issue adequately and appears to have simply elevated the level of its effort to dissemble.

Ah, so Albright is basing the accusation of lying on the “evidence…detailed in the annex to the November 2011 safeguards report”. Okay then. Never mind that the annex, based almost exclusively on the “laptop of death” has been pretty thoroughly debunked and seems likely to be a product of forgery. About seven and a half years ago, some dirty hippie figured out that the most likely source of this forgery was the MEK. One can only wonder how Albright has gone from being enough of a scientist to seeing the holes in the forgery to even be quoted by Gareth Porter in a 2010 debunking of the data to now throwing his entire weight (while apparently deciding to throw away his entire reputation) behind the allegations.

The full extent of Albright’s loss of intellectual honesty becomes clear when we look at the Wall Street Journal editorial. At least the Journal is open about its latest round of accusations coming directly from the MEK: Continue reading

Colin Powell’s Last Vial of Anthrax

Dammit, I gave away half the game, the “who” said these words.

I have seen some information that would suggest that they have been actively working on delivery systems.

[snip]

I’m not talking about uranium or fissile material or the warhead; I’m talking about what one does with a warhead.

[snip]

There is no doubt in my mind — and it’s fairly straightforward from what we’ve been saying for years — that they have been interested in a nuclear weapon that has utility, meaning that it is something they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there

But when? And about which country?

Contrary to what you might think, these words come not from Colin Powell’s famous UN speech, but from the speech where he rolled out the Laptop of Death in 2004, in the days just after Bush’s re-election when Dick Cheney was shoving Powell out the door.

The Laptop of Death, you’ll recall, amounted to war in a box, all the evidence you’d need to justify a war against Iran based on claims it was developing not just nukes, but nukes “they would be able to deliver, not just something that sits there.” It included the adaptation plans to Iran’s Shahab-3 missiles, the plans for a tunnel that bore no signs it’d be used for testing nukes but got included anyway, and evidence that a defunct firm had once produced a material–green salt–used in uranium processing. It was logically impossible all those things would be on one laptop, available for the taking, but that didn’t stop the usual suspects from selling the Laptop of Death as credible intelligence.

As the years went on, evidence grew the laptop had come from MEK–the same terrorists we’ve outsourced our Iranian scientist assassination to, perhaps by way of Mossad. And once the Iranians were given a copy of some of the documents, they were able to show they were forgeries.

It seems like a good time to remind everyone that even after Colin Powell ruined his reputation with the UN presentation, he still agreed to lend his diminished credibility to yet more transparent propaganda to start what might have been (and may yet still be) the next war. As Tiny Revolution and Digby note, Powell’s latest book attempts to refute bloggers who call him a liar for the UN presentation. Well, if he didn’t know, then why did he step up willingly to sell Cheney’s propaganda a second time, at a time when he owed the Bush Administration nothing?

Here’s an even better reason to remind people how long the Iran warmongers have been trying to sow war with transparent propaganda. As I joked and Moon of Alabama mocked at more length, they appear to have given the guy who drew the crappy illustration of the Mobile Bioweapons Labs based on admitted exile warmonger Curveball’s lies his job back, this time to draw the detonation tank Jim White already threw water on.

For whatever reason, even at the moment Colin Powell tries to pretend that the last time this hack illustrator sowed his wares everything was done in good faith, they’re rolling out similarly laughable illustrations again.

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz Since when did "trolling" become synonymous w/ANY questioning credibility of author which @TheNation intellectually is selling? #JustStop
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bmaz @riversidesam Uh, no. I was not "trolling" Zirin in least. I asked him pertinent questions, in multiple ways, because he never answered them
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emptywheel RT @Caissie: So @gofundme removed racist comments made by donors to Darren Wilson's campaign, but will let campaign continue? No more GoFun…
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bmaz .@riversidesam Well, when you see Zirin "clarify his position" about execution of black men by citizens versus a cop, let me know.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @SunSportsRays: A beautiful first career complete-game shutout by @SmylyD 👏👏👏 Masterful. 105 pitches. A gem. Rays win 8-0. #AllSmyles
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bmaz .@riversidesam I posed it in different form because he neglected to answer any. If you, or he, call that "trolling" that is total bullshit.
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bmaz @riversidesam I hope I did, because, intellectually, I think he was full of shit in portions, certainly not all, but portions of that post.
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bmaz So Zirin accused me of "trolling" b/c I questioned him on one post. After years of mostly plaudits+deep respect. What kind of cheap is that?
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emptywheel @ncardozo Don't stop short of perfection, is all I'm saying.
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emptywheel RT @FalguniSheth: Historical, profound piece by @prisonculture in WaPo: For blacks, America is dangerous by default http://t.co/NlY6TVK1Z8
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emptywheel @benwilliams9999 Imagine 2 black men putting the Masters of Universe in prison.
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emptywheel @ncardozo Also why are you getting bored suing the USG before you've perfected winning?
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