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Note: this is my first diary here in four years so I'm kinda out of practice. My last effort was written a week before Barack Obama's 1st inauguration. Not that that has any relevance. But I digress.

I'm writing this as kind of an unofficial post script to (though in no way in conjunction with) Rachel Maddow's upcoming special documentary, "Hubris: Selling the Iraq War" due to be broadcast on Monday evening, February 18th, 2013 @ 9:00pm est.

I urge everyone to tune in. Rachel promises that it's gonna ShAkE things up!

That said:

Back in 2001, aluminum tubes purchased by Iraq were intercepted in Jordan. Subsequently, in September 2002, those particular tubes were cited in public by the Bush administration as clear evidence of Saddam Hussein's quest for nuclear weapons. The New York Times reported at the time that:

In the last 14 months, Iraq has sought to buy thousands of specially designed aluminum tubes, which American officials believe were intended as components of centrifuges to enrich uranium. American officials said several efforts to arrange the shipment of the aluminum tubes were blocked or intercepted but declined to say, citing the sensitivity of the intelligence, where they came from or how they were stopped.
 

Many [rightly] questioned the validity of those claims during the run up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, citing other possible uses for the tubes. (albeit; most likely for more conventional types of weaponry) Those who did the questioning of the administration's claims were instantly and consistently met with equal doses of vehemence and marginalization.

Unfortunately, we know all too well who won that argument. And, as they say... the rest was history.

As it turned out, after the invasion, the Iraq Survey Group determined that the best explanation for the tubes' use was to produce conventional 81-mm rockets; no evidence was found of a program to design or develop an 81-mm aluminum rotor uranium centrifuge.

Fast forward to today... er, um, yesterday.

Yesterday's front page of The Washington Post contained an article written by Post reporter Joby Warrick entitled: Iran’s bid to buy banned magnets stokes fears about major expansion of nuclear capacity  

The article emphasized that recent reports of the purchases could be tantamount to:

"... according to experts and diplomats, a sign that the country may be planning a major expansion of its nuclear program that could shorten the path to an atomic weapons capability.
Of course, predictably, due to the "sensitivity of the matter" the experts and diplomats cited by Warrick chose to stay anonymous.

Warrick went on to say:

Purchase orders obtained by nuclear researchers show an attempt by Iranian agents to buy 100,000 of the ring-shaped magnets–which are banned from export to Iran under U.N. resolutions–from China about a year ago, those familiar with the effort said.
Those "ring magnets" are made of a unique alloy known as barium strontium ferrite -- both reasonably-priced and available in large quantities -- and according to experts cited by Warrick as having a singular purpose. Centrifuges.

However, Wikipedia says differently:

Ferrites are chemical compounds consisting of ceramic materials with iron(III) oxide (Fe2O3) as their principal component.[1] Many of them are magnetic materials and they are used to make permanent magnets, ferrite cores for transformers, and in various other applications.
Beyond a foreboding sense of déjà vu, a clear determination of what's real in this particular article and what's plainly propaganda for pursuance of war with Iran is above my scope of cognitive capabilities. But it's undeniable that the similarities are uncanny if not disturbing.

It is interesting to note though, that;  an article on the website, F.A.I.R: (Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting) adds a bit more mystery to the equation...

Back in 2002 there was one newspaper that poured cold water on the Iraq tubes story. It was the Washington Post. The reporter? The same Joby Warrick who wrote this story about Iranian magnets. And whose expertise did he rely on? David Albright of ISIS–the very same person pushing the Iran story now
I don't know what it all means. But I do know that we can't allow history to repeat itself.

We should listen to this guy...

"There's an old saying in Tennessee — I know it's in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can't get fooled again." — President George W. Bush, Nashville, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2002
Perhaps our media will decide to ferret out the truth... this time.
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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (9+ / 0-)

    "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

    by markthshark on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 05:47:24 AM PST

  •  It's propaganda for public consumption (9+ / 0-)

    to keep on with the demonize Iran narrative, an attempt to fix the facts in the public's mind around the neocon-neolib agenda.

    The lines set in bold are simply lies which Albright planted with Warrick:
    Barium strontium ferrite magnets are of NOT "unusual  alloy"

    The magnets in question are NOT "highly specialized magnets"

    The dimensions of the magnets do NOT "match precisely — to a fraction of a millimeter — those of the powerful magnets used in the IR-1"

    There was NO "purchase order" only an inquiry aka a request for a quote made by who-knows

    Barium strontium ferrite magnets are standardized parts used in many industrial products

    Many more details and background info on this weak attempt at misinformation at MOA here.

    Orwell - "Political language ... is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable"

    by truong son traveler on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:22:35 AM PST

    •  Thanks for the link... (6+ / 0-)

      Been trying to keep an open mind about this. But it seems the more I learn about it the more difficult it becomes.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:30:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Or, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joe from Lowell

      It's an attempt to buy some restricted ferrites.

    •  Your barfly blog analysis has holes itself (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      AaronInSanDiego

      My comments added in bold

      Barium strontium ferrite magnets are of NOT "unusual  alloy"

      Again, this cites a general description not the specific formulation in these ferrites. We do not know the specific formulation to know how specialized this formula might be. The category might be common but the individual rare

      The magnets in question are NOT "highly specialized magnets"

      First, the ferrites are not magnets they are components. But the point is, the blogger is in no position to make this statement. We do not have the specs, pure and simple.

      The dimensions of the magnets do NOT "match precisely — to a fraction of a millimeter — those of the powerful magnets used in the IR-1"

      The story says differently. Your blogger does not dispute this either. He uses a different measurement of tolerance, +/- percentage. Your blogger does not dispute that the differences are less than a millimeter. Your statement here has no basis in fact.

      As an engineer who has used ferrites it is my experience that core widings are themselves far less precision-made than the ferrites. Some units might be rejected in initial manufacture, but most designs should well accept differences of less than a hald-percent.

      Since this is a critical project, it would be feasable to cherry pick windings to match individual ferrites. More labor but so what?

      Finally, if I am an engineer drawing on a global supply network I might be very choosy about my tolerances (or not depending on cost). But if I am an Iranian centrifuge engineer working off whatever items can be smuggled to me, I just might find a design workaround for a slightly slightly different-sized ferrite..

      There was NO "purchase order" only an inquiry aka a request for a quote made by who-knows

      Looks to be correct in that the effort fell shy of an actual PO (from a skim at least.) However this still speaks to intent. That seems to be a difference w/o much distinction.

      Barium strontium ferrite magnets are standardized parts used in many industrial products

      Again, this substitutes a category description for teh specific material. It's like saying, "Plastics are used in many applications so there is no such thing as rarely-used specialized types of plastic."

      Just because Iran and America are at loggerheads does not mean Iran is not trying to source centrifuge parts.
      •  After reading some more background (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AaronInSanDiego

        I was wrong in point 2. These ferrites were magnitized. I'd assumed they were to be used as winding cores.

        Which in turn makes obsolete my 2nd and 3rd paragraphs in my reply to #3. However the 4th paragrpah is the important one. Iranian centrifuge designers are presumably pursuing any number of workarounds brought on my embargo shortages. Redesigning existing equipment around a very similar component is entirely plausible, when the original component cannot be had.

        The gist of my objection remains. There is not enough technical information available to us to declare these components in common use. There is no obvious technical mistake made in the Post article to suggest this is a fabrication.

  •  Doesn't matter it could be flying carpets (3+ / 0-)

    USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA!...

    "Til you're so fucking crazy you can't follow their rules" John Lennon - Working Class Hero

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:40:55 AM PST

  •  I'm really looking forward to it. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    markthshark

    I'm sure she'll knock it out of the park. Question is whether the center will have the intelligence to acknowledge the truth and the value of promoting it, and then find the integrity and/or balls to confront the Right with it. I'm guessing they won't. Like Harry Reid, they will concede without a fight.

    The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries. -WiA "When you triangulate everything, you can't even roll downhill..." - PhilJD

    by Words In Action on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 06:57:59 AM PST

  •  No, because the Bush management team is gone (0+ / 0-)
  •  As an former engineer who has used ferrites (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell, Kingsmeg

    Let me just say that substituting a general description for ferrites (your Wiki blurb) for a description of a specifically formulated material, is completely dishonest.

    This is sorts of like saying it is OK to drink hydroflouric acid because citrus fruits are delicious. All acids and all ferrites are not created alike.

    I know nothing about the specific ferrites you mention, but I do know your justification offered here is utter bunk.

    •  I don't know what the hell you read... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sandino

      But the only thing I'm justifying here is more and better scrutiny by the media, and not allowing them to get away with essentially collaborating with those who would take us down the path of an ill-conceived war.

      "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

      by markthshark on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:48:13 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I read your diary (0+ / 0-)

        The Post article you linked to

        And the blog which supposedly debunked this story.

        And my conclusion is, they information which purportedly debunks this story has no basis in fact. It is wrong. There has been no information offered to contradict this story.

        and not allowing them to get away with essentially collaborating with those who would take us down the path of an ill-conceived war.
        What collaboration and who is taking us to war? You are rusty; it is not 2002 any more.

        Unless you have a, I dunno, a CASE TO MAKE, then this is just the latest CT to come down the pike.

        •  Are your reading comprehension skills rusty? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AaronInSanDiego

          Better media scrutiny would ensure we don't go down that path AGAIN. You know that path. The one where the freakin' media collaborated with the White House to take us to war.

          I did NOT say there is collaboration going on NOW. I did NOT say THIS administration is taking us to war. And I did NOT post the link that attempts to debunk the Post story in this diary. That link was posted in one of the comments, and it was NOT MY comment.

          Therefore, YOU calling this diary a CT is well... kinda stupid and pointless.

          Bottom line is: we canNOT allow that to happen AGAIN. No matter who is in office. A non-complicit media will make sure we don't. That's it. Period.

          That was the ONLY point of this diary.

          Get it now??

          "That men do not learn very much from the lessons of history is the most important of all the lessons of history." ~ Aldous Huxley

          by markthshark on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 03:43:50 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Maybe the media is ferreting out the truth. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund

    Starting with the iron-clad assumption that nothing Iran does could be part of a nuclear weapons program, and then assuming that any evidence that contradicts the assumption is a lie, is not a valid way to approach the question, any more than doing the opposite, and trying to fit all evidence around the theory that Iran is developing nukes.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:16:59 AM PST

  •  Iran has been enriching Uranium far beyond (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Quicklund

    what is needed for making electricity. The Iranian government readily admits to enriching beyond 20% which has little use, other than as a point to reach when making highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons.  Most all Uranium enrichment used in nuclear power is under 4%.

    Enriching uranium is difficult and extremely expensive, and no country has ever had high production of 20% enriched uranium without producing weapons.

    I fully expect to see Iran with nuclear weapons in the next few years.

    I don't believe the US should take any military action against Iran to stop them from having this capability.

    The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

    by nextstep on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:08:23 AM PST

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