Saturday, February 19, 2011

Airbrushing Mohamed ElBaradei

In the same biographical piece on Mohamed ElBaradei discussed below, Reuters correspondent Louis Charbonneau explains why Western powers, particularly Israel, were frequently at odds with the former IAEA chief:
One of those disagreements concerned the Israeli bombing in September 2007 of what U.S. and Israeli officials said was a nascent nuclear reactor in Syria built with the help of North Korea. One former IAEA official said ElBaradei "went through the roof" when he found out about the Israeli strike against the facility, which Syria says was not a nuclear reactor.
Another diplomat said ElBaradei took the Israeli action as a "personal attack against him" and a "vote of no-confidence" because the Israelis decided to bomb the facility rather than ask the IAEA to confront Syria and inspect the site.
"The Israelis decided that ElBaradei could not be trusted to do anything about it so they chose to act pre-emptively and solve the problem," the diplomat said.
Two years later, in September 2009, Israel and France suggested that ElBaradei was sitting on IAEA findings that pointed more concretely to a covert Iranian nuclear weapons program. ElBaradei angrily denied any such cover-up. The Israeli ambassador to the IAEA made clear his disapproval of the outgoing IAEA chief and conspicuously left his seat empty during a closed-door gathering of agency member states who took turns heaping praise on ElBaradei for his 12 years at the nuclear watchdog.
Charbonneau assumes a disinterested stance on the contention between ElBaradei and Israel and fails to inform readers that Syria is still stonewalling the United Nations and new IAEA chief, Yukiya Amano, in their efforts to investigate the site bombed by Israel -- at which significant traces of man-made uranium had been detected.

Charbonneau also fails to disclose to his audience that just weeks after the accusation by Israel and France that ElBaradei had covered-up evidence of Iran's nuclear weapons program, it was revealed publicly that ElBaradei and the IAEA had indeed known for many months that Iran had the data to build a nuclear bomb and had tested an advanced nuclear warhead design:
While the analysis represents the judgment of the nuclear agency’s senior staff, a struggle has erupted in recent months over whether to make it public. The dispute pits the agency’s departing director, Mohamed ElBaradei, against his own staff and against foreign governments eager to intensify pressure on Iran.
Apparently Charbonneau didn't feel that information would assist readers in their assessment of whether "Mohamed ElBaradei's time has arrived".

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