IAEA Is a Sock Puppet for U.S. Propaganda On Iran
As we noted in January:
State Department cables released by Wikileaks reveal that the new IAEA head was heavily backed by the U.S., based upon his promises of fealty to the U.S. Indeed, as we’ve seen in the nuclear energy arena, the IAEA is not a neutral, fact-based organization, but a wholly-captured, political agency.
The Guardian largely confirmed this yesterday:
The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.
Yukiya Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, took command of the IAEA in July 2009. Since then, the west’s confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme has deepened and threats of military action by Israel and the US have become more frequent.
Some former IAEA officials are saying that the agency has gone too far. Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientists who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the west’s mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA’s assessment of Iran now.
“Amano is falling into the Cheney trap. What we learned back in 2002 and 2003, when we were in the runup to the war, was that peer review was very important, and that the analysis should not be left to a small group of people,” Kelley said.
“So what have we learned since then? Absolutely nothing. Just like [former US vice-president] Dick Cheney, Amano is relying on a very small group of people and those opinions are not being checked.“
Other former officials have also raised concern that the current IAEA is becoming an echo chamber, focused on suspicions over Iran’s programme, without the vigorous debate that characterised the era of Amano’s predecessor Mohamed ElBaradei.
They point to Amano’s decision, in March last year, to dissolve the agency’s office of external relations and policy co-ordination (Expo), which under ElBaradei had second-guessed some of the judgments made by the safeguards department inspectors.
Expo cautioned against the publication of IAEA reports that the Bush administration might use to justify military action. Some inspectors believed that amounted to censorship and western governments said it was not the agency’s job to make political judgments.
“There has been a concentration of power, with less diversity of viewpoints,” a former agency official said, adding that Amano has surrounded himself with advisors who have the same approach to Iran.
Hans Blix, a former IAEA director general, also raised concerns over the agency’s credibility. “There is a distinction between information and evidence, and if you are a responsible agency you have to make sure that you ask questions and do not base conclusions on information that has not been verified,” he said.
Criticism over the agency’s outspoken comments on Iran has also focused on the director-general. Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, a Washington-based non-proliferation organisation, said: “The main beneficiaries of the Amano reign have been US policy and the Japanese nuclear power industry. There has been no space between Amano and Barack Obama, and he withheld serious criticism of the industry during the Fukushima crisis.” [IAEA is a shameless cheerleader for the nuclear industry.]
“Amano and ElBaradei were looking at the same allegations. They have both said to their people: please pursue this. All that is the same. The other thing that is the same is that so far the most substantial allegations have not been verified. What has changed is the willingness to publish those allegations that have not been verified as a tool to pressure the Iranians to come to the table.“
Robert Kelley – the former US weapons scientists who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion – is right. IAEA head Amano has used discredited intelligence against Iran (and see this) in the exact same way that Cheney used the Office of Special Plans to focus on fake intelligence about Iraq to the exclusion of accurate intelligence showing that there was not a giant threat.
The U.S. has simply outsourced its warmongering propaganda effort to the wholly-captured IAEA.