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The latest theory about what was bombed in the Syrian Desert two months ago was comes from Ha’artz. I guess the most interesting part of it is that Ha’artz which usually writes anti-Israel stories– didn’t come up with a theory that the IDF bombed Syria for the heck of it.According to Ha’retz Israel didn’t bomb a reactor…it bombed a nuclear bomb making factory

This assumption relies first and foremost on an analysis by scholar David Albright, director of the Institute for Science and International Security in Washington (ISIS).

Albright compared the structure in Syria to satellite images of a structure located at the Yongbyon nuclear site in North Korea. The dimensions of the two structures are similar – about 48 by 32 meters and lacking a dome. The structure in North Korea is a nuclear research reactor built on the basis of a 1980 Chinese archetype. As opposed to the Western countries, in the Communist bloc countries, reactors commonly have a flat roof and lack a dome. For example, the reactor in Chernobyl, Ukraine, where the radioactive leakage disaster occurred in 1985, had no dome…….

But Prof. Uzi Even of Tel Aviv University is challenging them here for the first time. On the basis of an analysis of the same satellite photos, which have been published in the media and on Web sites and are accessible to everyone, he believes that the structure that was attacked and destroyed was not a nuclear reactor. Even, a former Meretz MK, is a chemist who until 1968 worked at the nuclear reactor in Dimona (KAMAG – Hebrew for the Nuclear Research Center). For years he has been keeping track of, and writing about, Israel’s nuclear policy and the proliferation of nuclear weapons worldwide. Even’s questions relate to several substantive issues. First, in the reactor in Yongbyon, one can clearly see a chimney, which is necessary for the emission of the radioactive gases (incidentally, based on the emission of the gases experts can determine the capacity of the reactor). In the satellite photos of the structure in Syria there is no chimney. It could be claimed that the Syrians may not have had time to build it. This is a reasonable answer, but it is overshadowed by the fact that there is evidence that the structure was under construction already four years ago. There are satellite photos of the site from 2003. In these photos one can clearly see in one of the building walls openings, which disappeared in the 2007 photos. “We can assume that construction began even before 2003,” says Even. “In all those years, five years or even more, a chimney had still not been built? Very strange.” No less strange in his opinion is the fact that the “reactor” did not have cooling towers. The pumping station seen in the photos, 5 kilometers from the site, cannot, according to him, be a substitute for such towers. “A structure without cooling towers cannot be a reactor,” he says, pointing to the satellite photo from Yongbyon, in which one can clearly see the cooling tower, with steam rising from it. Another structure essential for a reactor is missing from the Syrian photos: a plutonium separation facility. As mentioned, the reactor is fueled by enriched uranium of fuel rods, which undergo a process of radiation. In order to turn them into plutonium, they have to be processed chemically in a plutonium separation facility.And there is an additional question. If this was, in fact, a nuclear reactor, whose construction was not completed…… would have taken the Syrians several years until they were able to operate it and produce plutonium. …..Was [Israel] willing to risk an all-out war with Syria because of a reactor in stages of construction? (A war Israel was afraid would erupt last summer, even without any connection to the nuclear issue.) This is very unlikely.

Well if it wasn’t a reactor what was it?:

Syria already had several kilograms of plutonium[from its Korean buddies or maybe from its late friend Sadaam], and it was involved in building a bomb factory (the assembling of one bomb requires about four kilograms of fissionable material). Processing the plutonium and assembling the bomb require utmost caution, because plutonium is one of the most toxic and radioactive materials. One microgram can kill one person, and a gram is capable of killing a million people. Handling it requires special lathes, but because of its lethal nature nobody is allowed to come into direct contact with plutonium or with the lathes. That is why there is a need to build labs containing dozens of glove boxes, which isolate and separate the worker from the material and the equipment.

Remember that little chemical weapons disaster in the Syrian Desert—maybe it wasn’t a nerve gas mistake but a plutonium mistake?

What reinforces Even’s suspicion that the structure attacked in Syria was in fact a bomb assembly plant is the fact that the satellite photos taken after the bombing clearly show that the Syrians made an effort to bury the entire site under piles of earth. “They did so because of the lethal nature of the material that was in the structure, and that can be plutonium,” he said. That may also be the reason they refused to allow IAEA inspectors to visit the site and take samples of the earth, which would give away their secret

……Another piece of information crucial for reinforcing Even’s assumption is the scant attention paid in the Israeli media to an op-ed published last month in The Wall Street Journal by two members of the U.S. Congress, Peter Hoekstra and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen. Hoekstra is the senior Republican member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and Ros-Lehtinen is the senior Republican member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. They expressed their anger at the fact that the Bush administration “has thrown an unprecedented veil of secrecy around the Israeli airstrike. “We are among the very few who were briefed, but we have been sworn to secrecy on this matter.” They write in the article that SyriaNorth Korea, and in the same breath they mention Iran, without explaining why. They claim that the administration leaks are intentionally vague: to justify the Israeli attack but also to blur North Korea’s part in the affair. received “nuclear expertise or material” from

…North Korea’s consent to shut down the Yongbyon reactor and to allow renewed international monitoring of it (although it is not clear what will happen to the fissionable material in its possession – enriched plutonium and uranium)….Hoekstra and Ros-Lehtinen are apparently aware that revealing the truth about North Korea’s role will lead to pressure on the U.S. administration to discontinue the contacts with the regime in Pyongyang.

And what about Israel? Wasn’t it in Israel’s interest to publicize what was bombed in Syria? Of course it was. Even more so if this was a plant for assembling a nuclear bomb based on information, technology and fissionable material that Syria re ceived from North Korea, perhaps with the knowledge and consent of Iran, or even more than that. Then why is Israel insisting on continuing to maintain total secrecy? The only logical explanation (except for the embarrassment of Syrian President Bashar Assad, which doesn’t particularly bother Israel), is the desire not to make things hard for the U.S. administration.

To read the entire Ha’aretz report click here Inside Intel / Not a reactor – something far more vicious

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