Tuesday, April 29, 2008


SCOTT RITTER: Well, first of all, we have to be concerned about the evidence. We have interior photographs and exterior shots and nothing that links the two. And so, on the surface, I would say that if you’re bringing this evidence to a court of law—it’s a strange dimension, the rule of law, when we speak of American foreign policy lately—you would have trouble having anybody say yes, this is definitive evidence that links the allegations to this specific site in question.

But let’s just assume for a second that the data is in fact accurate. I have to take exception with the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when he says that the alleged activities are against international conventions. Actually, they’re not. If Syria had in fact been constructing the reactor they’ve been accused of, they were in total conformity with international law. The nonproliferation treaty, Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Syria is a signatory, requires that facilities be declared to the IAEA only when nuclear materials are to be introduced to these facilities, that a facility under construction is not a declarable item. And so, it’s absurd to sit there and say that just because Syria and North Korea were pouring concrete that they are somehow breaking the law.

And this notion that the reactor was on the verge of becoming operational, again, is absurd. You know, there would have to be literally thousands of pounds of pure graphite that would have to be introduced to this facility, and there’s no evidence in the destruction. You know, there were a number of reporters who went to the site after it was blown up. If it had been bombed and there was graphite introduced, you would have a signature all over the area of destroyed graphite blocks. There would be graphite lying around, etc. This was not the case.

I don’t know what was going on at this site. If the images are accurate, it appears that Syria was producing a very, very small research reactor. But it is not a reactor usable in a nuclear weapons program. Syria was not violating the law.

And if there were concerns over this reactor, a simple referring of the material, these photographs, to the International Atomic Energy Agency would have produced an insistence on special inspections that would have had the inspectors on the site actually determining what was going on and a peaceful resolution of the problem. This shows that the United States and Israel have a wanton disregard for the rule of law. And this is especially critical when the United States is holding up the Non-Proliferation Treaty as a standard in which we hold Iran and North Korea accountable to.

AMY GOODMAN: Scott Ritter, the Washington Post reporting another senior official said US intelligence had formerly declared only “low confidence” that the site played in a Syrian nuclear program?

SCOTT RITTER: Well, I understand there’s people saying that. You know, we have John Bolton, who recently left the Bush administration, putting his marker on the table, saying that Syria was pursuing nuclear weapons. You have the Office of the Vice President carrying out a whispering campaign. But the bottom line is that it really doesn’t matter what the US government says was going on there or wasn’t going on there; the site was bombed. And the United States government has not condemned this bombing.

We are signatories to the Charter of the United Nations. We are a permanent member of the Security Council. And it is our responsibility to ensure that the sovereignty of member nations is protected. And what occurred in September of last year was that the sovereignty of Syria was violated by Israel in a preemptive, unprovoked attack against a site that was not in any way representative of a threat to Israel or a violation of international law. This is where people should be focused on, not, you know, the to-ing and fro-ing about what was or what wasn’t going on in Syria. What we’re talking about here is the violation of a nation’s sovereignty, an act of war, unprovoked, preemptive, by one nation against another. And the United States is remaining not only silent, but we’re actually siding with the aggressor.

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