No, the U.S. Hasn’t Kept Satellite Imagery Classified Because of the “Occupation”

Sept. 14 2020

Last month, an article appeared in the magazine Foreign Policy under the headline “Israel Can’t Hide Evidence of Its Occupation Anymore,” celebrating a minor change in U.S. regulations concerning the availability of high-resolution satellite images as a victory over “censorship.” But the entire premise of the article is rooted in what might charitably be called a misunderstanding of the issue at hand. Gerald Steinberg, whose research contributed to the original piece of legislation, explains:

A very small country under threat of massive attack from conventional and unconventional forces (particularly Iraq and Syria, at the time), [Israel was] severely limited in deploying defensive and deterrent capabilities, making it vulnerable to a surprise first strike. With the addition of very high-resolution space images available for purchase by potential attackers, including Palestinian and other terror groups, and in real-time, the threat to Israel would have been much higher. . . . Understanding these concerns, the regulations were adopted [in 1996 to prevent highly detailed satellite imagery of Israel from being made public].

Now skip forward 24 years—to July 2020—when the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised the limitations regarding imaging of Israel (from a minimum two meters to 40 centimeters), based on the improvements in technology, new Middle East strategic realities, and greater availability from non-U.S. suppliers.

For those whose main objective in life is to measure Israeli, Palestinian, and (unauthorized) European government construction in the West Bank, there are numerous other and less costly sources.

But the author of the Foreign Policy article is an employee of an organization “dedicated to demonizing Israel,” as Steinberg puts it—and lavishly funded by European governments, as well as the Rockefeller Brothers Fund and the Open Society Foundation. And so she must find, or manufacture, subjects to keep up a steady output of “disinformation.”

Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Zionism, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, West Bank


The Assassination of a Nuclear Scientist Is a Reminder That Iran Has Been Breaking the Rules for Years

Nov. 30 2020

On Friday, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the chief scientist behind the Islamic Republic’s nuclear-weapons program, was killed in what appears to have been a carefully planned and executed operation—widely thought to have been Israel’s doing. In 2011, Fakhrizadeh was given a new position as head of the Organization for Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its Persian acronym SPND), which was a front for Tehran’s illegal nuclear activities. Richard Goldberg explains:

Last year, the State Department revealed that SPND has employed as many as 1,500 individuals, including nuclear-weapons scientists [who] “continue to carry out dual-use research and development activities, of which aspects are potentially useful for nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons-delivery systems.”

How could Fakhrizadeh and SPND continue to operate during the 2015 Iran nuclear deal when the deal was premised on Iran’s commitment to an exclusively peaceful nuclear program? Indeed, the existence of SPND and the discovery of Iran’s nuclear archive [by the Mossad in 2018] paints a picture of regime that never truly halted its nuclear-weapons program—but instead separated its pieces, keeping its personnel fresh and ready for a time of Iran’s choosing.

That reality was deliberately obfuscated to sell the Iran nuclear deal. Iran-deal supporters wanted the world to believe that the ayatollahs had left their nuclear ambitions in the past. . . . We now know Iran lied to the International Atomic Energy Agency, [which is charged with policing Tehran’s compliance], and to the participants of the nuclear deal. Today, the IAEA is again investigating Iran’s concealment of undeclared nuclear material, activities, and sites.

President-elect Joe Biden can no longer pretend that the Iran deal prevented the Islamic Republic’s nuclear advancement. It did not. Nor can Biden’s incoming secretary of state or national security adviser—both of whom were instrumental players in putting the deal together—pretend that Iran can return to compliance with that flawed deal without addressing all outstanding questions about the archive, SPND, and its undeclared activities.

Read more at New York Post

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Joseph Biden, U.S. Foreign policy