≡ Menu

IAEA Iran Report Unravels: Tainted Mossad Evidence Alleges Russian Scientist Aided Nuclear Weapons Research

Gareth Porter has chased down a story that’s been bruited in the progressive web for the past 24 hours or so (his report is based in part on the stellar research of Moon of Alabama).  It begins the process of unraveling at least one major element of the IAEA report.  The UN document claims the Iranian race for nuclear weapons has been helped by a number of foreign scientists recruited by the regime for this purpose.  Everyone already knows about the role played by the Pakistani Khan network in Iran’s and North Korea’s efforts.  But a mysterious Russian scientist surfaced in a private briefing offered to the media by David Albright, a former U.S. nuclear inspector.

Albright claimed that Vyacheslav Danilenko was a Ukrainian (not Russian) nuclear scientist employed for five years by the Iranians to work on refining their nuclear designs.  The only problem?  Danilenko isn’t a nuclear scientist at all.  In fact, he’s one of the world’s leading experts on producing industrial (nano) diamonds using sophisticated explosives technology.  The reason why researchers or intelligence agencies may’ve thought the Russian was a nuclear scientist is that he trained at a Russian institute which does do research on nuclear warheads.

It is possible that Danilenko did help the Iranians with his own professional expertise because the country has a budding nanotechnology focus which includes an interest in nanodiamonds.  That would explain why the Russian was in Iran.  But it doesn’t in any way connect him specifically to Iran’s nuclear program.  The IAEA report does note the expert who helped the Iranians was using a cover as a nanodiamonds expert, but that his real purpose was to help with designing nukes:

The report states that the “foreign expert” was in Iran from 1996 to about 2002, “ostensibly to assist in the development of a facility and techniques for making ultra dispersed diamonds (UDDs) or nanodiamonds…” That wording suggests that nanodiamonds were merely a cover for his real purpose in Iran.

The report says the expert “also lectured on explosive physics and its applications”, without providing any further detail about what applications were involved.

Now, who might’ve offered this intelligence to the IAEA?  I’ll hazard a guess based on a very similar error committed in the case of Dirar Abusisi.  The Mossad offered the name of the alleged Ukrainian engineering professor who trained Abusisi in rocket technology.  The only problem was the name Israeli intelligence offered was a full name as it didn’t include the professor’s last name.  The actual faculty member Abusisi studied with had a different name and swore he never trained the Gazan in any other field than civil engineering (power plant technology).  I’d wager that an intelligence agency which can’t keep the names straight of various culprits who it’s trying to implicate in skullduggery would make the same mistake twice.

Further, the Mossad argued that Abusisi’s civil engineering studies were a cover for his real missile research carried out at a military institute in Kharkov (does that sound familiar?).  The only problem is that the military institute no longer existed by the time Abusisi arrived to study there.  The Mossad was never able to prove Abusisi took any courses in any field other than power plant operations.

The Danilenko misidentification also reminds me a bit of Gholam Shukari, the alleged Iranian Revolutionary Guard figure who supposedly conspired with Arbabsiar to kill the Saudi ambassador.  Former senior MEK officials have in fact identified Shukari as an MEK leader and not affiliated with the IRG.  Oops.

So I’m going to put my money on this information being offered by the Mossad.  If I’m right, then this would be at least the second similar error of its kind by the agency.  Which should, if there’s any justice in the world, torpedo their credibility along with the credibility of those in the IAEA who included such shoddy research in the final document.

An addendum: a few years ago the Mossad leaked a fraudulent Iranian research memo to the Times of London claiming to detail a nuclear trigger technology that would allow the Iranians to set off a nuclear device.  The only problem was Israel received the purported memo from its friends in the MEK, who passed it off as authentic.  It wasn’t.  Now the IAEA report talks about the same development of nuclear trigger technology, though it no longer relies on the patent fraud offered by the Mossad.

If Israeli intelligence offered the world fraudulent documents about Iran then, why wouldn’t it do so again?

Porter confirms my hunch about the Mossad’s involvement:

The unnamed member state that informed the agency about Danilenko’s alleged experience as a Soviet nuclear weapons scientist is almost certainly Israel, which has been the source of virtually all the purported intelligence on Iranian work on nuclear weapons over the past decade.

Israel has made no secret of its determination to influence world opinion on the Iranian nuclear programme by disseminating information to governments and news media, including purported Iran government documents. Israeli foreign ministry and intelligence officials told journalists Douglas Frantz and Catherine Collins about the special unit of Mossad dedicated to that task at the very time the fraudulent documents were being produced.

One thing I like about the Jerusalem Post compared to Haaretz is that the former can’t help but brag about Israeli initiatives which Haaretz would be sensible enough to realize are embarrassing to Israel.  So, for example, Haaretz reporting noted Israeli contributions to the IAEA final document but didn’t single it out for special attention.  The Post is proud of Israel’s role in cooking the books so to speak and Porter quotes Yaakov Katz, it’s security correspondent spilling the beans:

The Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz reported Wednesday that Israeli intelligence agencies had “provided critical information used in the report“, the purpose of which was to “push through a new regime of sanctions against Tehran….”

While I’m not a fan of the Iranian regime by any stretch, their claims that the report is based on fraud and fabrications is bolstered by Porter’s important story.  And by God, no one should allow Israel or anyone else to go to war on account of flagrant deception such as the Mossad has offered.  In fact, we’ve seen this all before: anyone remember Niger yellowcake and the Iraqi mobile chemical warfare units Colin Powell displayed for all the world to see during his speech before the UN?  All fake.  And we went to war at least in part due to our credulousness about these lies.  Let’s not let the Mossad’s lies lead us down the same road again.

H/t to Facebook friend David Trimmel.

Bufferfacebooktwittergoogle_plusredditlinkedintumblrmail
youtube
{ 21 comments… add one }
  • JONDS November 10, 2011, 12:20 AM

    I can’t understand where are the facts showing the Mossad is behind all of this? Or maybe this article based on your hearts’ wish? Really, I can’t get it.

    How can you tell me not attach any link that contradict your POV, but in the same time you write an article that based on IPS report that only guess that “The unnamed member state that informed the agency about Danilenko’s alleged experience as a Soviet nuclear weapons scientist is ALMOSTcertainly Israel, which has been the source of virtually all the purported intelligence on Iranian work on nuclear weapons over the past decade” and “Albright said the state was ‘PROBABLY Israel’ Again, where are the facts showing the Mossad is behind this report?

    So, it’s nice that you’re “going to put my money on this information being offered by the Mossad”. How can we know if it’s true or false? At the end, it’s all about specualtuions, so don’t worry, your money will be safe.

    Furthermore, The story about Danilenko is a minor issue in this report. I think that it’s very convenient for you (and other progressives) to fucos on Danilenko’s issue and to ignore the rest of the report which indicates that Iran does anything that it can to achieve some nuke bombs (which is not based only on the findingsand documents that the member states called Israel and the US provided to the IAEA).

    • Richard Silverstein November 10, 2011, 12:50 AM

      You’re making the same hollow arguments hasbarists made about Stuxnet, the Al Mabouh assassination, etc. YOu argue it wasn’t Mossad because I can’t give you a photo of the forged document. Well, sorry Porter’s article is convincing & offers evidence though you may not like it. And btw, if it wasn’t Israel can you point to which intelligence agency it was? Just so we can blame the right one. Till then, I feel comfortable laying the finger on Mossad.

      Danilenko is NOT a minor issue. Every media rpt throughout the world trumpeted the false “fact” that foreign scientists were engaged in making an Iranian bomb.

      “Iran does anything it can to achieve nuke bombs.” Did you see that in the rpt.? Cause I sure didn’t. Is that an example of how free & easy you are w facts & evidence??

      • David November 10, 2011, 4:26 PM

        My money is on “Jonds” as the source of the misinformation. He seems to have trouble understanding that your story is speculative but compelling given history etc. I don’t expect Jonds to own up.

        • Richard Silverstein November 10, 2011, 9:41 PM

          Yes, the hasbara class seems to have trouble with anything that’s less than black & white, unless of course it involves defending Israel, in which case anything goes.

    • Rod Brown November 10, 2011, 1:28 AM

      A minor issue? not according to the unrelenting barrage of unfounded “news” reports from a veritable smorgasbord of news outlets, blogs and comments there on since David Albright started pushing the story nearly a week before the report was due. Having read the new IAEA report three times now, it was the only new “claim” offered, the rest of the appendix is a rehash of the “Laptop of Death” and any real alleged “journalist” or “expert” covering this worth their “green salt” should have been able to identify that from simply reading it. The IAEA in this have simply become a “publishing house” for “unnamed member states” to disseminate uncorroborated/unfounded/unproven (old and rejected) claims under what was a respectable label with the help of its new “Editor in Chief”. Dodgy Dossier 2: The return of …

      • Anonymous November 10, 2011, 2:25 AM

        IAEA has indeed become a impartial organ since the lackey amano took over the office – it has made a mockery of itself – relaying of israeli intelligence that may be fabricated.
        At the same time IAEA’s highest ‘organ’ is the UN security council and who runs that is no news which proves once again its non-objectivity.

        People like to think that IAEA and UN have nothing with each other to do but its basically runned by the same nation running UNSC. At the same time its also runned by westerners, which obviously then have a pro-western agenda, or should I say a pro-US(Israel) agenda.

        Former IAEA leader – Mohammed El’Baradei got more or less kicked out due US and israeli interests. For example was El’Baradei threatened with impeachment by the israelis.
        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7085213.stm

        It also be worth noting what Mohammed El’Baradei wrote in his memoirs about the Iran case and israel’s refusal to present the evidence they claimed about Iran.
        Here is a link to some excerpt from his book:

        http://www.iranaffairs.com/iran_affairs/2011/11/those-alleged-studies-or-possible-military-dimensions-in-iran.html

        IAEA is like UNSC just a mere front for the national interest of United States and its allies, evidently especially Israel. If not, where are the sanctions, isolation on israeli secret nuclear weapons program?

        • Richard Silverstein November 10, 2011, 2:32 AM

          I think you meant the IAEA has “stopped being” an impartial organ since Amano took over.

          • Anonymous November 10, 2011, 2:36 AM

            oh thats right, my bad, thats what I meant of course.

  • Dana November 10, 2011, 1:04 AM

    Richard, this is excellent trail blazing summary. It seems completely plausible to me that one – somewhat hapless – Mossad department would supply similar more or less erroneous bits of information about the Ukranian connection. Which can be rather easily debunked.

    I have also liked your theory about Abusisi and the possibility he was offered by Hamas for their own political reasons. You are thinking like a proper counterintelligence (or is it counter-propagaqnda) operative….(it’s a compliment, BTW).

    As an aside, here’s another thought to brighten your day(s): if you – and your sources – are even partly right, then the Mossad is falling on hard times. It has been relying for way too long on the apathy and ignorance of the masses, which may have been justified in the pre-internet days. But its complacency is ill-suited for the new times. I bring as another exhibit the botched operation in Dubai. They may have gotten the “hit” (ie, dead man, probably also sacrificed by Hamas – for their own reasons) but at the expense of a huge black eye and an enduring whiff of organizational incompetence. The entire MO laid bare. What can be worse for an intelligence organization?

    That’s what will get israel in the end – the complacency that comes with too much hubris. They don’t even bother to cover their tell-tale- tracks any more.

    • Richard Silverstein November 10, 2011, 2:29 AM

      You are thinking like a proper counterintelligence (or is it counter-propagaqnda) operative

      Thanks for the big chuckle this gave me. A high compliment as well.

  • Jonathon November 10, 2011, 1:25 AM

    I think your assumptions based on what evidence is available seem perfectly believable. Thanks for saying what is all to clear, that Israel & US are the main suppliers of the ‘so-called’ evidence for the IAEA report, which I have read.

  • Rain November 10, 2011, 2:10 AM

    Too funny. For years IAEA reports have been held up as reliable counter for Israel’s claims of weapon ambitions in the Iran nuclear program.

    Suddenly IAEA info is unreliable and tainted by possible Mossad connections.

    I don’t recall any analysis pulling apart past IAEA reports, or even any major doubts expressed about their content (except by the hasbarists of course)

    • Richard Silverstein November 10, 2011, 2:16 AM

      Not “suddenly.” Mohammed el Baradei was director till 2 yrs ago. He resisted including much of the nonsense included in this report. That’s why IAEA reports were considered careful & cautious. The new director is a U.S. poodle. Hence much skepticism.

  • JONDS November 10, 2011, 2:11 AM

    “YOu argue it wasn’t Mossad because I can’t give you a photo of the forged document.” I don’t argue it wasn’t the mossad as I don’t argue that maybe it was the CIA or maybe MI6. I’m just showing you the other side. When you say my links aren’t convincing but yours are, I find it dubious. Especially when those were based on convincing articles and academic reviews.

    “And btw, if it wasn’t Israel can you point to which intelligence agency it was” – I have to say that after I read the report carefully, Iv’e concluded that the alleged studies documents were provided by 10 member states and by the IAEA itself. In contrary to you, I can’t point which intelligence agency it was on the basis of published articles without any facts.

    “Porter’s article is convincing & offers evidence” – There isn’t any evidence in his article. Instead, it offers lots of speculations.

    ““Iran does anything it can to achieve nuke bombs.” Did you see that in the rpt.? Cause I sure didn’t. Is that an example of how free & easy you are w facts & evidence??” – You should read article C6-C10 to this report. Read also section 53. I urge you to read section 65 and its attachment 2. Richard, It seems that you’re putting your head in the sand like an ostrich. But hey, I’m sure that as long as it serves your POV it’s ok. nope?

    “Iran does anything it can to achieve nuke bombs.” Did you see that in the rpt.? Cause I sure didn’t. Is that an example of how free & easy you are w facts & evidence??

    “Danilenko is NOT a minor issue” – If you read the report you should have known that the issue of Danilenko is minor issue when compared with the other parts of the report. You really should read it from the beginning to the end.

    “Every media rpt throughout the world trumpeted the FALSE “fact” that foreign scientists were engaged in making an Iranian bomb” – Do you have any evidence that this report about foreign scientists is false? Can you provide them to all of us? Otherwise, we will learn your articles in the apporpriate context.

    Oh, and one more thing about FALSE facts – It is well-known fact that Abdul Qadeer Khan (who is known for being the creator of the Pakistani nuclear bomb) and his stuff sold centrifuges to the Iranian regime. I understand that you would say it was for uranium enrichment for civilian purposes. I would say that it wasn’t as they were sold while breaching the UN sanctions. Everyone of us will conclude the conclusions that he should, but afterwards please don’t tell “we didn’t know”.

    SEE ATTACHMENT 2

    • Richard Silverstein November 10, 2011, 2:25 AM

      When you offer an AEI analyst publishing in the Weekly Standard as evidence no one will take you seriously. Period. You can bellow all you want but that’s just the way it is. Neither is credible in any sense of the word.

      the alleged studies documents were provided by 10 member state

      Nonsense. Sorry fella, but even Yaakov Katz a stout Israeli hawk admits that Mossad evidence is the lion’s share of what is offered in the rpt & he proudly says it was offered to manipulate the international debate in Israel’s favor. That’s a smoking gun & hard to argue with though you might try.

      I repeat there is NOTHING in this report that indicates “Iran does anything it can to achieve nuke bombs,” as you speciously claimed. There are claims that there is evidence that Iran is pursuing research that would have intent to create a weapon. That’s a far cry fr. yr claim. You’d be a lot more credible if you were more cautious & careful in yr language & claims.

      Do you have any evidence that this report about foreign scientists is false?

      Do you have any evidence of specific foreign scientists other than Khan (& his help happened long ago) & Danilenko (whose assistance ended in 2002 if he provided any, which he didn’t) helping the Iranians? I don’t see any. So what foreign scientists are helping? Who are they? When & how did they help? I’m waiting for some real evidence.

      • JONDS November 10, 2011, 4:31 AM

        “the alleged studies documents were provided by 10 member state. Nonsense.” Ye, you right. I mislead you. It says that “in addition to the alleged studies documentdion, the Agency has received information from more
        than ten Member States. This has included procurement information, information on international travel
        by individuals said to have been involved in the alleged activities, financial records, documents reflecting
        health and safety arrangements, and other documents demonstrating manufacturing techniques for certain
        high explosive components. This information reinforces and tends to corroborate the information reflected
        in the alleged studies documentation, and relates to activities substantially beyond those identified in that
        documentation”. All in paragraph 13 of the report.

        “Yaakov Katz a stout Israeli hawk admits that Mossad evidence is the lion’s share of what is offered in the rpt & he proudly says it was offered to manipulate the international debate in Israel’s favor.” – I guess that Katz, a Journalist, is the credible source. Are you kidding me?

        “When you offer an AEI analyst publishing in the Weekly Standard as evidence” – This analize was based on few sources that were quoted in the article. Again, it seems that you didn’t read it. Maybe because it was inconvinent to do so.

        “Danilenko” – I have just read about Danilenko denial of the allegations against him. Maybe it was other scientist? Maybe the report of Porter who said Danilenko is the scientist doesn’t have any basis? I don’t know. Do you?

        “Do you have any evidence of specific foreign scientists other than Khan & Danilenko helping the Iranians” – So I guess that your sentence “Every media rpt throughout the world trumpeted the false “fact” that foreign SCIENTISTS…” isn’t quite true. All I have to do after I read it again and again is to quote you “You’d be a lot more credible if you were more cautious & careful in yr language & claims”

        • hass November 10, 2011, 10:02 AM

          The name of the allegded “Soviet nuclear scientist” was provided Joby Warrick of the Washington Post, who obtained it from a deliberate leak of David Albright’s powerpoint presention regarding the IAEA report, pre-release. Gareth Porter did not make it up.

          • hass November 10, 2011, 10:04 AM

            Oh and sadly for Joby, he passed it on in his article, apparently without taking the least bit of trouble to actually check out the claims, like a good little trained parrot aka “journalist”. Apparently he either didn’t bother even Googling the fellow’s name, or did so and didn’t think it worthwhile to mention that this guy was not in fact a nuclear scientist etc.

          • JONDS November 10, 2011, 11:19 AM

            I didn’t asy he did make it up. I say that the Soviet nuclear scientist deny that he is the man who we all talk about here – Danilenko. So maybe it’s someone else?

          • hass November 10, 2011, 1:29 PM

            So, maybe the someone else just doesnt exist?

  • rfjk November 10, 2011, 6:12 AM

    http://www.truthdig.com/report/page3/20080626_the_nuclear_expert_who_never_was/

    Ah yes, David Albright.

    “…The nuclear expert who never was…”

    The infamous media darling on all things nuclear and agent provocateur of the Iraqi blunder, who has played:

    “…the role of a patsy, the middleman peddling misinformation to a media too lazy to conduct their own due diligence before running with a story.”

    Israelis have to be totally scared out of their wits to be traveling the same worn out & used up paths of disinformation a blogger can so easily trace down.

Leave a Comment