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PV Vivekanand: Israel readying ground for action
March 07, 2012
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An Israeli “intelligence” report that at least one of North Korea’s covert nuclear tests in 2010 was carried out on an Iranian radioactive bomb or nuclear warhead has been picked by two German publications, which say they have confirmed and qualified.

The report said that Western intelligence had known of the test for 11 months. According to the report, some of the facts of the affair are known. These include confirmations that North Korea carried out two covert underground nuclear explosions in mid-April and around May 11 of 2010 equivalent to 50 to 200 tonnes of TNT.

Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organisation monitoring stations in South Korea, Japan and Russia had detected two “highly lethal” heavy hydrogen isotopes, deuterium and tritium, typical of a nuclear fission explosion and producing long-term contamination of the atmosphere.

Intelligence agencies watching North Korea’s nuclear programme and its possible links with Iran and Syria were reportedly alerted by the presence of tritium in one of the tests into examining the possibility that Pyongyang had tested the internal mechanism of a nuclear warhead on Iran’s behalf.

“This strongly indicated to German and Japanese intelligence that Iran had already developed the nuclear warhead’s outer shell and attained its weaponisation,” said the report.

Experts also suspected that North Korea had tested an Iranian “dirty bomb,” which is described as a conventionally detonated device containing nuclear substances. Tritium would boost its range, force and lethality, say experts.

This conclusion was attributed to atmospheric scientist Larsk-Erik De Geer of the Swedish Defence Research Agency in Stockholm, who is said to have spent a year studying the data collected by various monitoring stations tracking the North Korean tests.

De Greer published some of his findings and conclusions in Nature Magazine in March and his research paper is scheduled to appear in the April/May issue of the Science and Global Security Journal.

Further evidence reportedly unearthed by German and Japanese intelligence include the visit to North Korea after the first explosion that could have been aimed at setting up the second test in May.

In late April, Iran is believed to have shipped to North Korea a large quantity of uranium enriched to 20+ per cent – apparently for use in the May test.

After the May test, the Central Bank of Iran transferred $55 million to the account of the North Korean Atomic Energy Commission.

“The size of the sum suggests that it covered the fee to North Korea not just of one but the two tests – the first a pilot and the second, a full-stage test,” said the report.

If accurate, the report indicates that Western intelligence has known about the North Korean tests for Iran for 11 months. Therefore, argues the Israeli “intelligence” report, it is too late for US President Barack Obama to try and persuade Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that there is still time for diplomatic means and sanctions to work and dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

Now the Israelis blame Obama for not only having failed to check Iran’s nuclear activities but also for remaining firm on his rejection of early military action against Iran.

That is why Netanyahu declared in public this week in the US that Israel alone will decide what action to take to fend off the Iranian “nuclear threat.”

Contrary to reports, Netanyahu did not assure Obama that Israel has not yet decided to attack Iran’s nuclear sites – thus offering the US time for diplomacy and sanctions to work – and told the president that Israel is “operating on a shorter timeline than the United States,” according to another source quoted in a report.

“While publicly reiterating that there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution of the issue, Obama admitted privately to Netanyahu that the Fordow underground uranium enrichment plant (near Qom) can no longer be destroyed by bombs and missiles; American commanders say all that can be done is to block the vents of this underground facility and slowly stifle the personnel inside. Time and several strikes would be needed to accomplish this.”

Netanyahu responded: “Iran is building not one Fordow but ten. We can’t wait much longer.

In other words, the talk of open windows and more time is moot.”

When Obama pointed out that “there is no intelligence that Iran has made a final decision to pursue a nuclear weapon,” the Israeli premier responded: “Time is growing short.”

The absence of a joint communique after the Obama-Netanyahu meeting was interpreted as an “agreement to disagree.”

In a speech on Monday at the annual conference of the American-Israeli Public Affairs Committee, Netanyahu declared that Israel could not afford to “wait much longer” and praised Obama for affirming Israel was entitled to “defend itself, by itself.”

Netanyahu produced two papers of 1944 to support his argument that the Jews could not depend on others to protect them and rejected the argument that military action against Iran would cause disastrous consequences for the region and the world.

One paper was a request by the World Jewish Congress (WJC) to the US to bomb the Auschwitz concentration camp and other was a rejection of the appeal. The US explained that diverting large-scale air power from America’s primary front would bring forth “even more vindictive action from the Germans.”

The reported North Korean nuclear test allegedly on behalf of Iran raises another question: if Pyongyang could accept Iranian money for conducting the test, what prevents it from “selling” a whole nuclear weapon to Iran?

Another question is: How “much longer” is Israel is willing to “wait” before military action against Iran?

Some suggest that it would not come before the US presidential elections in November, but others say, given the alleged Iranian-North Korean link, it could come much earlier. Well, the ground appears to be being built for it.

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