Daily Archives: November 21, 2008

why does state dept defend scientology?

Germany Drops Scientology Ban Attempt
Michael Fischer, AP, Nov 21 2008

Germany is dropping its pursuit of a ban on Scientology after finding insufficient evidence of illegal activity, but domestic intelligence services will continue to monitor the group, security officials said Friday. The German branch of Scientology has been under observation by domestic intelligence services for more than a decade. Top security officials asked state governments in December to begin gathering information on whether they had sufficient grounds to seek a ban. Germany has said it considers Scientology to be in conflict with the principles of the nation’s constitution, calling it less a church than a business that uses coercion to take advantage of vulnerable people. According to the 2007 annual report of the German agency that tracks extremism:

Scientology seeks to reduce or deny basic constitutional and human rights, such as the right to human dignity, the right to self-fulfillment and the right to equal treatment.

Erhart Koerting, Berlin’s top security official, told reporters:

This organization pursues goals, through its writings, its concept and its disrespect for minorities, that we cannot tolerate and that we consider in violation of the constitution. But they put very little of this into practice. The appraisal of the government at the moment is that it is a lousy organization, but it is not an organization that we have to take a hammer to.

Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his counterparts from Germany’s 16 states agreed Friday that there was not enough proof to justify opening proceedings for such a ban but domestic intelligence services will continue to monitor Scientology’s activities. August Hanning, a Schaeuble deputy, said:

Before we open preliminary proceedings, we need concrete evidence of unconstitutional activity. The security agencies are predominantly of the opinion that there is not sufficient evidence of this.

Scientology has long battled to end the surveillance, saying it is an abuse of freedom of religion, and the US State Department regularly criticizes Germany for the practice in its annual Human Rights Report. It first set up in Germany in 1970 and officials estimate it counts some 5,000 to 6,000 members here. It welcomed the ministers’ decision to stop seeking a ban as the “only one possible.” “There never was a legal basis to open such proceedings,” said Sabine Weber, a spokeswoman for Scientology in Germany. It further called on officials to end the observation, and what it called “the discrimination and the harassment that go along with it.”

iaea syria report

Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic (download pdf)

1. On 2 June 2008, the Director General informed the Board of Governors that, in April of this year, the Agency had been provided with information alleging that an installation destroyed by Israel in the Syrian Arab Republic (Syria) last September was a nuclear reactor. According to this information, the reactor was not yet operational and no nuclear material had been introduced into it. The Director General also informed the Board of Governors that Agency inspectors were scheduled to visit the site of the installation (Dair Alzour), in order to verify, to the extent possible, the veracity of the available information. Syria has stated that the Dair Alzour site was a military site and was not involved in any nuclear activities. On 22 September 2008, the Director General provided an update on the events in his introductory statement to the Board of Governors.
2. The purpose of this report is to inform the Board of Governors of developments related to the Agency’s ongoing inquiry into the allegation.

A. Chronology of Events
In a letter dated 2 May 2008, the Agency informed Syria that, in accordance with the Agency’s safeguards responsibilities and Syria’s safeguards obligations, the Agency intended to send a team of inspectors to Syria to review all available information and to visit the Dair Alzour site and three other locations alleged by some Member States to be of relevance. In a letter dated 31 May 2008, Syria agreed to a visit by the Agency to the Dair Alzour site and to the taking of environmental samples at that site. The Agency’s visit to Syria, which took place between 22 and 24 June 2008, involved meetings with Syrian authorities in Damascus on 22 and 24 June 2008, and a visit to the Dair Alzour site on 23 June 2008.
4. During the Agency’s 23 June 2008 visit to the Dair Alzour site, Syria provided unrestricted access to all of the buildings on the site, as a transparency measure, and reiterated that the site was a military installation which had not been, and was not, related to any nuclear applications. Syria has not yet acceded to the Agency’s request to provide any documentation relevant to the destroyed building, or any of the other buildings, to support its statements.
5. During the meeting on 24 June 2008, the Agency reiterated its request for supporting documentation concerning the past and current use of the buildings at the Dair Alzour site and at the three other locations. The Agency also requested clarification about certain procurement activities by Syrian entities. During the meeting, Syria stated that the destroyed building could not have been a nuclear facility because of, inter alia, the unreliable and insufficient electricity supplies in the area, the limited availability of human resources in Syria and the unavailability of large quantities of treated water.
6. In a follow up letter to Syria dated 3 July 2008, the Agency reiterated its request for the information and documentation referred to in previous correspondence and discussions, and proposed dates for another Agency visit to Syria. In its reply of 21 July 2008, Syria responded that the visit should be postponed until “the necessary arrangements have been made with the bodies concerned in Syria”. The Agency wrote to Syria on 15 August 2008, again reiterating its request, in response to which Syria, in a letter dated 24 August 2008, replied that any further developments must be based on the results of the sample analyses.
7. On 22 October 2008, the Agency provided the results of the environmental sample analyses to Syria, and requested a meeting with Syria with a view to discussing the results, obtaining the requested information and securing a visit to the three other locations. The Agency has not received a response to this request.
8. In a letter dated 11 November 2008, Syria confirmed its compliance with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (the NPT) and provided the following clarifications:

  • “The American allegation presented to the Agency for verification referred to a building under construction and not in operation;”
  • “The analysis results of the samples taken from the destroyed site do not show any materials belonging to the construction of a nuclear reactor, confirming that the site which was under construction was for military purposes;”
  • “We find it strange that there are a very limited number of humanly modified uranium particles in the analysis results of some samples, taking into consideration that the site was destroyed by Israeli missiles, the component parts of which are not known;”
  • “It is necessary to draw attention also to the fact that the result of the analysis of one sample points to three uranium particles, whereas the results of four other samples taken from the same place within a 30 metre range contained no uranium particles;”
  • “The only explanation for the presence of these modified uranium particles is that they were contained in the missiles that were dropped from the Israeli planes onto the building to increase the destructive power. Based on this, we hope that the Agency will verify the nature of the materials used in these missiles.”
  • B. Agency’s Verification
    The Agency has conducted a thorough analysis of all information available to it as a result of the visit to the Dair Alzour site as well as information from other sources, including commercially available and other satellite imagery, open source photographs said to have been taken at the Dair Alzour site before the building was destroyed, information regarding procurement and the results of environmental sampling analyses.
    10. Analysis of the available satellite imagery shows that construction activities were started at the Dair Alzour site between 26 April 2001 and 4 August 2001. The images show ongoing construction until August 2007. Imagery taken prior to and immediately after the bombing indicates that the destroyed box-shaped building may have had underground levels. Its containment structure appears to have been similar in dimension and layout to that required for a biological shield for nuclear reactors, and the overall size of the building was sufficient to house the equipment needed for a nuclear reactor of the type alleged.
    11. As part of its assessment, the Agency has conducted an evaluation of the water pumping infrastructure observed by it during the June 2008 visit to Dair Alzour. The results of that evaluation indicate that the pumping capacity is adequate for a reactor of the size referred to in the allegation (25 MWth). During its visit to the site, the Agency observed sufficient electrical capacity to operate the pumping system.
    12. Analysis of the environmental samples taken from the Dair Alzour site carried out by a number of the Agency’s Network of Analytical Laboratories revealed a significant number of natural uranium particles. The analysis of these particles indicates that the uranium is anthropogenic, i.e. that the material was produced as a result of chemical processing. As indicated above, Syria stated that the only explanation for these particles was that they were contained in the missiles used to destroy the building.
    13. The Agency continues to assess the information related to efforts by Syrian entities to procure materials and equipment which could support the construction and operation of a nuclear reactor. It should be noted that it is possible that the procurement of such items was for non-nuclear use. The Agency has not yet received the requested information from Syria.
    14. Satellite imagery and other information available to the Agency concerning installations at the three other locations in Syria referred to above suggest that those locations may be of relevance to the activities at the Dair Alzour site. As indicated above, the Agency requested access to the three locations on 2 May 2008. Analysis of satellite imagery taken of these locations indicates that landscaping activities and the removal of large containers took place shortly after the Agency’s request for access. While these activities may be unrelated to the Dair Alzour site, it would be helpful if Syria were to provide an explanation for these activities and to permit the Agency to visit the three locations.

    C. Current Assessment
    The Director General emphasizes that the Agency was severely hampered in discharging its responsibilities under the NPT and under Syria’s Safeguards Agreement by the unilateral use of force and by the late provision of information concerning the building at the Dair Alzour site. In light of the destruction of the building and the subsequent removal of the remains, the Agency’s verification of the situation has been made more difficult and complex, as well as more time and resource consuming.
    16. The information provided by some Member States to the Agency includes satellite imagery of the Dair Alzour site and the three other locations. For its assessment of the site immediately after the bombing, the Agency used satellite imagery provided by Member States, as there was no high resolution imagery for that period available to the Agency from commercial vendors. The first commercial images that the Agency was able to obtain after the bombing on 6 September 2007 were taken on 24 October 2007; these images indicate large scale clearing and levelling operations had taken place at the Dair Alzour site after the bombing. To the extent it has been recently authorized by the providers to do so, the Agency intends, during its next meeting with Syria, to share with Syria that satellite imagery which is of relevance to the Agency’s assessment.
    17. While it cannot be excluded that the building in question was intended for non-nuclear use, the features of the building, as described above, along with the connectivity of the site to adequate pumping capacity of cooling water, are similar to what may be found in connection with a reactor site. Syria has not yet provided the requested documentation in support of its declarations concerning the nature or function of the destroyed building, nor agreed to a visit to the three other locations which the Agency has requested to visit.
    18. The Agency is assessing Syria’s explanation of the origin of the uranium particles found at the Dair Alzour site and intends to request Syria to permit the Agency to, inter alia, visit the locations where the debris from the building and any equipment removed from the Dair Alzour site are, for the purpose of taking samples. The Agency also intends to request Israel to provide information pertaining to Syria’s claims regarding the origin of the uranium particles.
    19. The Director General has called on Syria to provide the necessary transparency, including allowing visits to the requested locations and access to all available information, for the Agency to complete its assessment. The Director General also calls on other States that may possess relevant information, including satellite imagery, to make this available to the Agency and to authorize the Agency to share the information with Syria.
    20. The Director General will continue to report as appropriate.

    2. GOV/OR.1206, paras 26 and 28.
    3. Also referred to in open sources as “Al Kibar”.
    4. The locations are alleged to have been functionally related to the Dair Alzour site.
    5 In the letter, Syria also expressed dissatisfaction with the leaking of the environmental sampling results to the media and concern that this was an indication of other parties attempting to use the Agency’s activities for political purposes.

    iaea iran report

    Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Islamic Republic of Iran (download pdf)

    1. On 15 September 2008, the Director General reported to the Board of Governors on the implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement and relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1737 (2006), 1747 (2007) and 1803 (2008) in the Islamic Republic of Iran (Iran) (GOV/2008/38). On 27 September 2008, the Security Council adopted resolution 1835 (2008) on the same matter. This report covers relevant developments since September 2008.

    A. Current Enrichment Related Activities
    2. Since the Director General’s previous report, Iran has continued to feed UF6 into the 3000-machine IR-1 unit (Unit A24), and five cascades of Unit A26, at the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP).1 Installation and testing of the 13 remaining cascades of Unit A26 is continuing. Preparatory installation work at Units A25, A27 and A28 continues. As of 7 November 2008, the total amount of UF6 fed into the cascades since the beginning of operations in February 2007 was 9750 kg, and based on the operator’s daily accounting records, Iran had produced approximately 630 kg of low enriched UF6. All nuclear material at FEP, as well as all installed cascades, remain under Agency containment and surveillance.
    3. On 29 September 2008, the Agency conducted a physical inventory verification (PIV) at the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant (PFEP), the results of which are still pending. Between 25 August and 28 October 2008, Iran fed a total of approximately 31 kg of UF6 into the 10-machine IR-2 cascade and the single IR-1, IR-2 and IR-3 centrifuges. All nuclear material at PFEP, as well as the cascade area, remains under Agency containment and surveillance.
    4. To date, the results of the environmental samples taken at FEP and PFEP2, and the operating records for FEP3, indicate that the plants have been operating as declared (i.e. less than 5.0% U-235 enrichment). Since March 2007, twenty unannounced inspections have been conducted at FEP.
    5. On 26 October 2008, Iran provided updated Design Information Questionnaires (DIQs) for FEP and PFEP. Iran informed the Agency that it plans to commence the installation of IR-1 centrifuges at Unit A28 at FEP at the beginning of 2009.

    B. Reprocessing Activities
    6. The Agency has continued to monitor the use and construction of hot cells at the Tehran Research Reactor (TRR) and the Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production (MIX) Facility through inspections and design information verification (DIV). There have been no indications of ongoing reprocessing related activities at those facilities. While Iran has stated that there have been no reprocessing related research and development (R&D) activities in Iran, the Agency can confirm this only with respect to these two facilities as the measures of the Additional Protocol are not available.

    C. Heavy Water Reactor Related Projects

    7. On 13 August 2008, the Agency conducted a PIV at the Fuel Manufacturing Plant (FMP), the results of which are consistent with the declaration made by Iran. On 18 October 2008, the Agency conducted an inspection; no major changes in the construction status of FMP have been noted since the Agency’s visit to FMP in May 2008.
    8. Using satellite imagery, the Agency has continued to monitor the status of the Heavy Water Production Plant, which appears to be in operational condition.
    9. Invoking its decision in March 2007 to “suspend” the implementation of the modified text of Code 3.1 of the Subsidiary Arrangements General Part concerning the early provision of design information (GOV/2007/22, paras 12–14), Iran continues to object to the Agency’s carrying out of DIVs at the Iran Nuclear Research Reactor (IR-40). The Agency has reiterated that Code 3.1 concerns the submission of design information, not the frequency or timing of verification by the Agency of such information, and that the Agency’s right to carry out DIV is a continuing right. Notwithstanding, the Agency was not permitted to carry out the DIV scheduled for 26 October 2008.4 As a result, the Agency’s information on the status of the construction of the reactor is also limited to that available through satellite imagery. From a review of such imagery, the Agency can confirm that construction of the reactor is continuing.

    D. Other Implementation Issues
    D.1. Uranium Conversion
    As of 3 November 2008, approximately 33 tonnes of uranium in the form of UF6 had been produced at the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) since 8 March 2008, the date of the last PIV carried out by the Agency at UCF. This brings the total amount of uranium in the form of UF6 produced at UCF since March 2004 to 348 tonnes, all of which remains under Agency containment and surveillance. The UCF was shut down in August 2008 for a routine maintenance and restarted operation in October 2008.
    D.2. Design Information
    As previously reported to the Board of Governors (GOV/2007/22, paras 12–14), on 30 March 2007, the Agency requested Iran to reconsider its decision to suspend the implementation of the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1. There has been no progress on this issue. On 16 October 2008, the Agency reiterated its request that Iran reconsider its decision on the issue.
    12. The Agency requested in December 2007, but has not yet received, preliminary design information for the nuclear power plant that is to be built in Darkhovin (GOV/2008/38, para. 11).
    D.3. Other Matters
    On 2 April 2008, the Agency requested Iran to provide, as a transparency measure, access to additional locations related, inter alia, to the manufacturing of centrifuges, R&D on uranium enrichment, and uranium mining and milling (GOV/2008/15, para. 13). Iran has not yet agreed to the Agency’s request.
    14. The fuel assemblies imported from the Russian Federation for use at the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant have remained under Agency seal (GOV/2008/38, para. 13). A PIV is planned in December 2008.

    E. Possible Military Dimensions
    There remain a number of outstanding issues, identified in the Director General’s last report to the Board (GOV/2008/38, para. 14), which give rise to concerns and need to be clarified to exclude the existence of possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. As indicated in the Director General’s report, for the Agency to be able to address these concerns and make progress in its efforts to provide assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, it is essential that Iran, inter alia, provide the information and access necessary to: resolve questions related to the alleged studies; provide more information on the circumstances of the acquisition of the uranium metal document; clarify procurement and R&D activities of military related institutes and companies that could be nuclear related; and clarify the production of nuclear equipment and components by companies belonging to defence industries.
    16. Since the Director General’s last report, the Agency has continued to assess the information previously provided to it, both by Iran (including INFCIRCs/737 and 739) and by Member States, in respect of these issues. The Agency believes that Iran could, as a matter of transparency, assist the Agency in its assessment of these issues by providing it with access to documents, information and personnel to demonstrate, as Iran asserts, that these activities were not nuclear related. Unfortunately, Iran has not offered any cooperation with the Agency since that report and has not yet provided the requested information, or access to the requested documentation, locations or individuals.
    17. As indicated in the Director General’s previous report, the Agency currently has no information — apart from the uranium metal document — on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components of a nuclear weapon or of certain other key components, such as initiators, or on related nuclear physics studies (GOV/2008/38, para. 21). Nor has the Agency detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies.

    F. Summary
    The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accounting reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities. However, Iran has not implemented the modified text of its Subsidiary Arrangements General Part, Code 3.1 on the early provision of design information. Nor has Iran implemented the Additional Protocol, which is essential for the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities.
    19. Regrettably, as a result of the lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the alleged studies and other associated key remaining issues of serious concern, the Agency has not been able to make substantive progress on these issues. For the Agency to make progress, an important first step, in connection with the alleged studies, is for Iran to clarify the extent to which information contained in the relevant documentation is factually correct and where, in its view, such information may have been modified or relates to non-nuclear purposes. Iran needs to provide the Agency with substantive information to support its statements and provide access to relevant documentation and individuals in this regard. Unless Iran provides such transparency, and implements the Additional Protocol, the Agency will not be able to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran.
    20. Contrary to the decisions of the Security Council, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, having continued the operation of PFEP and FEP and the installation of new cascades and the operation of new generation centrifuges for test purposes. Iran has not provided access to the IR-40, and, therefore, the Agency is not able to verify the current status of its construction.
    21. The Director General continues to urge Iran to implement all measures required to build confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear programme at the earliest possible date.
    22. The Director General will continue to report as appropriate.

    1. For more detail on the configuration of FEP, see GOV/2008/38, para. 2.
    2. Results are available for samples taken up to 1 July 2008 for FEP and up to 20 April 2008 for PFEP. These results have shown particles of low enriched uranium (with up to 4.0% U-235), natural uranium and depleted uranium (down to 0.4% U-235 enrichment).
    3. Which show enrichment levels at FEP of up to 4.9% U-235.
    4.The Agency last visited the IR-40 on 28 August 2008.

    zero : an investigation into 9/11 (105 mins)

    replenishing cia’s black funds

    Afghanistan drug production up 150% since 2001
    RIA Novosti, Nov 20 2008

    Opium production in Afghanistan has increased by 150% since a NATO-led security and development mission entered the country in 2001, Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service said on Thursday. “Afghanistan has become the absolute leader in narcotics production, producing 93% of the world’s entire opiates … Afghan drug dealers have in two years set up the successful production of cannabis with over 70,000 hectares of land being cultivated, taking Afghanistan into second place in the world behind Morocco in terms of the cultivation of such drugs,” the service said in a statement. Since the Taliban regime was overthrown in the 2001 US-led campaign, Afghanistan, with almost all its arable land being used to grow opium poppies, remains the world’s leading producer of heroin. According to the UN, Afghanistan’s opium production increased from 6,100 tons in 2006 to 8,200 tons in 2007. The narcotics trade has become an acute problem for the Central Asian republics due to a continual flow of illegal drugs from Afghanistan.