Saturday, March 11, 2006



Proliferation

At the moment, the US is beating the war drums and ramping up its propaganda to justify attacking Iran in order to prevent it from building nuclear weapons. At the same time, it's busy proliferating nuclear technology to Israel India, in violation of both the NPT and US law. But worse was revealed on BBC last night: the UK helped Israel get the bomb. Not only did they sell them a small amount of plutonium (believed by officials to have "significant military value" and to allow them to "carry out important experimental work to speed up its nuclear weapons programme"); they also sold them the heavy water required to make their own, as well as uranium, lithium, beryllium and tritium (used both for research and to produce hydrogen bombs). All told, there were hundreds of shipments. Some were conducted by the government itself, using front companies to hide the deal from the Americans (who ironically at the time opposed Israel's nuclear ambitions). More worryingly, some seem to have been pushed through by civil servants against the wishes of their Ministers. But that was the exception rather than the rule; overall, there was a deliberate British policy of selling nuclear material to Israel, in the full knowledge that it not just could, but could only be used for the development of nuclear weapons.

You can just imagine how this is going to go down in the Middle East...

Correction: Corrected typo.

7 comments:

very naughty, maybe they should have a witch hunt on Harold Wilson's Labour government. Are any of them still alive? A public trial followed by a swift guilty verdict could go down well.
How else could you disown the behaviour?

> from the Americans (who ironically at the time opposed Israel's nuclear ambitions).

Not sure that is ironic. It is fairly consistant.
The theory is that you oppose people becoming part of the club but when they are they are jsut like "you" and you can't do anything about it anyway so you might as well be friendly.

Posted by Genius : 3/11/2006 11:40:00 AM

On closer examination - isn't your post here grossly misleading?
Im looking for people who should be executed and all I seem to have so far is Mr Michaels and possibly some "jews in the wood work" and possibly Donald Cape.
Still it would be well worth an investigation and a good show trial. Like appologizing for the mohammad cartoons but much better.

Posted by Genius : 3/11/2006 05:43:00 PM

thanks NRT - it is interesting to see how this story is developing.

one thing - the slate.com article does not mention the US proliferating nuclear tech to Israel - did you link to the article you intended?

Posted by Joe Hendren : 3/12/2006 01:22:00 AM

All of the events described occurred prior to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so it's a bit hard to see what relevance this has to the situation with Iran which is about compliance with that treaty. But it seems whenever Iran comes up so many on the left want to start talking about Israel.

The Slate article is about the US and India, not Israel. So it's hard to so what you are getting at Idiot. If you are critical of the US policy towards India than say why. I would have thought that bringing India more into the international nuclear oversight system was something to be commended. The deal gets the IAEA into many of India's nuclear facilities, not all, but it's an improvement.

But the general common view on the left that there is a double standard going on regarding Iran is interesting. No doubt the clerics agree. One issue overlooked is that the NNPT was a two way street - get peaceful nuclear technology in exchange for not developing nuclear weapons. Iran signed up to this deal, was given the technology and now wants to renege on the deal. It's not a double standard for the West to now say keep to the deal or face consequences.

Also interestingis how the Left see this is the US beating the drums of war. It ignores the fact that this process is being carried out through the UN with the blessing of such countries as France.

Posted by neil morrison : 3/12/2006 09:21:00 AM

Neil: I'm quite aware that this predated the NPT. That's why I very carefully don't accuse the UK of breaking it. But it does make their position on Iran deeply hypocritical. Having supported an Israeli nuclear weapons program, how the hell can they consistently object to an Iranian one? It makes it absolutely explicit that this is not so much about the evils of proliferation as which team you're on (a conclusion backed by the US's transfer of technology and support for plutonium reprocessing - an explicit proliferation risk - to pre-Revolutionary Iran; a policy which Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were all deeply involved in)

As for the Slate article, it was a typo, and it has been corrected (this is what happens when I post in a hurry).

Yes, the NNPT contains a bargain not to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for an absolute right to develop nuclear power, which includes the right to enrich uranium fuel. So far, the Iranians are working on the latter, and while there are suspicions of a weapons development program, the evidence is far from conclusive. What the situation needs is inspections, and an acceptance that Iran is entitled to use nuclear power. Unfortunately, the US's saber-rattling and refusal to acknowledge that right is sending a clear message that Iran better get nukes, and fast, to avoid being bombed. And that isn't good for anybody.

Oh, and the NNPT has another bargain in it as well: Non-proliferation and peaceful use stand or fall with nuclear-armed countries disarming. Strangely, we don't see the US talking about that a lot. Instead, they're talking about "bunker busters" and using nuclear weapons on non-nuclear states. Which really does set an incentive for states to get the only thing which can deter such an attack: nuclear weapons.

I think nuclear weapons are abhorrent, and their use a crime against humanity, and I don't support nuclear proliferation. But neither do I support policies which encourage it. And the US's policies at the moment are so deeply counterproductive that that is all they can be said to do.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 3/12/2006 12:43:00 PM

> It does make their position on Iran deeply hypocritical.

One should not accuse someone of being hypocritical if you don’t like their only option to resolve that issue.

The UK cannot go back in time and undo giving Israel weapons its only option then to avoid your attack would be to help EVERYONE get weapons. Since you oppose proliferation one must wonder what you want to achieve....

Some would say there is a relevant difference (i.e. it was before the treaty) others might say the UK DID oppose Israel getting weapons it was just monumentally stupid.

Anyway surely proliferation is a much greater crime than hypocrisy?

> Non-proliferation and peaceful use stand or fall with nuclear-armed countries disarming.

Still Im not convinced about the idea of total disarmament...

When only one country had the nukes they used the bomb - as soon as more than one country had them they stopped (two will do just fine no need for 9). If all the countries in the world gave up nukes someone would eventually build them again. And if the only country with nukes was nth Korea we would all be in some serious trouble.

Posted by Genius : 3/12/2006 09:58:00 PM

I think that the country who has the most culpability here is Iran. They have had a secret nuclear programme that goes back to the 90s (ie before Bush). By Hassan Rowhani's own admission they have not been negotiating with Europe in good faith. And the IAEA is not amused - http://www.iaea.org/NewsCenter/Transcripts/2006/transcr08032006.html

So inspectors yes, but that relies on an honest partner which Iran is not.

Idiot, you clam that the US does not accept Iran's right to develop peaceful nuclear technology - that is just not true. The US along with France etc want Iran to abide by the NNPT which explicitly allows for this. And allows for the transfer of technology - ie allowing Iran to reap the rewards, at no cost, of very expensive research done and paid for by others.

Posted by neil morrison : 3/13/2006 03:41:00 PM