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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

'Innocent until proven guilty'?

Seeking IAEA support for funding a Syrian nuclear reactor, Mohamed ElBaradei, the chief of the feckless IAEA, leaped into action again Tuesday, urging his board members to reserve judgment of the Assad regime Syrian brothers' nuclear capability. According to ElBaradei, the 'Syrian brothers' are innocent until proven guilty.
Speaking at a closed meeting of the IAEA's board on Monday, ElBaradei did not mention the United States by name. But his reference to claims that Saddam had a secret chemical, nuclear and biological weapons program - assertions that helped form the US rationale for the invasion of Iraq - made it clear that his criticism was directed mostly at Washington.

"There are claims against Iraq, which proved to be bonkers, but only after a terrible war," ElBaradei said after the US and its allies questioned Syria's right to his agency's help in planning a power-producing atomic reactor.

"There is one thing called investigation, another called clear-cut proof of innocence or guilt ... and all of you, even if you are not lawyers, know that people and countries are innocent until proven guilty," he said.
I don't recall learning in law school about a legal presumption that countries are innocent until proven guilty. In fact, that presumption is used to protect citizens against the power of the state.

As you might imagine, those supporting and opposing granting the aid to Syria are lining up on an East-West divide.
The US also used the Vienna meeting to express its opposition and received backing from the European Union, France, Britain, Australia and Canada.

But ElBaradei disagreed, saying there was no legal basis to cancel or postpone the program.

Commenting on ElBaradei's scrappy stance, a senior diplomat with good connections to IAEA staff said the agency chief personally sent text messages to key aides telling them to stand tough on the Syria issue. He demanded anonymity because his information was privileged.

Supporting Syria are Iran - itself denied technical aid two years ago because it was under UN sanctions for defying Security Council demands to curtail nuclear activities - and other nonaligned nations. Russia and China also back Damascus.
Two more comments. First, imagine if it was Israel that was being accused of developing nuclear weapons. Does anyone think that Israel would be getting IAEA assistance for a nuclear reactor for 'civilian purposes'?

Second, note that ElBaradei has finally found an issue on which he wants to "stand tough." Too bad he's never done that on Iran. The IAEA first reported on Iran's non-compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty in 2003. What's happened since? Well, it took 980 days for them to even bring it to the Security Council. I guess they were waiting to determine whether Iran was truly guilty. And while Nero ElBaradei fiddled, Rome burned Iran developed nuclear weapons. Except that ElBaradei continues to fiddle and Iran continues to devleop its nuclear weapons. Now, ElBaradei wants to help the Syrians to develop them too.

Outrageous. Simply outrageous.


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