The Associated Press‘ favorite conduit for pathetic Israeli propaganda on the Iranian nuclear program, George Jahn, came out with another doozy on Tuesday. Under a banner touting a “Big Story,” Jahn published an article headlined, “AP Exclusive: Graph suggests Iran working on bomb,” which purported to show proof that “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” Really.
So what evidence does Jahn provide to back up this oh-so-shocking claim? Why, a “diagram” that was “leaked by officials from a country critical of Iran’s atomic program,” of course! And why was it leaked directly to AP, you ask? In order to, as Jahn puts it, “bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted before it produces a weapon.” But don’t worry anonymous critical officials, your secret is safe with nobody. “The officials provided the diagram only on condition that they and their country not be named,” Jahn reveals. Whew.
Gee, where on Earth might they be from? Probably Palau. No, no, wait. Suriname? Maybe it’s Denmark. Or Nepal. Or Togo in collaboration with the covert, graphing wizards of Luxembourg.
Seriously, though, Israel, we get it, it’s you. And it’s embarrassing. Cool it.
By the way, here‘s the graph. And yes, to reiterate, this was actually published by a respected, mainstream news wire service.
Power! Energy! Kilotons! Microseconds! Time! (5)! Oh the horror!
Apparently, AP stands for Absurd Propaganda.
The graph is not only weirdly crude, but also undated, unsourced, and unexplained. The Persian text at the bottom, as translated by AP, mentions nothing about nuclear weapons or an atomic payload for a bomb. It just reads, “Changes in output and in energy released as a function of time through power pulse.” To call this graph “dubious” would be generous; to tout it as “proof” of anything is simply embarrassing. It literally means nothing, except perhaps that math exists. The graph shows nothing more than a probability density function, that is, an abstract visual aid depicting the theoretical behavior of a random variable to take on any given value.
Beyond that, theoretical physics professor Dr. M. Hossein Partovi, who teaches courses in thermodynamics and quantum mechanics at Sacramento State, noting that the graph is plotted in microseconds, explains that “the graph depicted in the report is a nonspecific power/energy plot that is primarily evidence of the incompetence of those who forged it: a quick look at the energy graph shows that the total energy is more than four orders of magnitude (forty thousand times) smaller than the total integrated power that it must equal!” [Minor point of clarification: an "order of magnitude" equals 10^4 or 10,000 times, but Partovi added that the actual discrepancy on the graph is closer to 40,000 times.]
It is no more proof of Iranian nuclear weapons work than a crumpled up piece of notebook paper with a game of hangman on it demonstrates evidence that someone in your European history seminar is actively constructing a Tyburn gallows for the express purpose of lynching all first graders.
Apparently, someone back at Mossad headquarters was leafing through an arcane nuclear physics textbook from the mid-1970s and thought this particular graph looked especially ominous and decided to make a carbon copy or two – one for the IAEA and one to pass along to sycophantic ventriloquist George Jahn, who clearly has no problem publishing such silliness. Hey, he’s done it before.
Yup, that was Jahn. And who leaked that one? Oh right, officials from a country that is “severely critical of Iran’s assertions that its nuclear activities are peaceful and asserts they are a springboard for making atomic arms.” Must be Estonia. No, wait, Cape Verde?
By now, one thing is clear. The Israeli Government PropaGraphics Squad is truly awful. I mean, c’mon:
In order to corroborate the scariness of Israel’s bogus graph in his latest scooperino, Jahn, who has long been a go-to source for pathetic fearmongering about Iran, turned to – who else? – perennial nuclear alarmist David Albright and consummate hysteric Olli Heinonen, both of whom have extensive histories of freaking out about nothing at all.
But Jahn’s buddies don’t even really come through for him. Albright “said the diagram looks genuine but seems to be designed more ‘to understand the process’ than as part of a blueprint for an actual weapon in the making.” After Jahn stretches credulity by describing alleged “live tests of conventional explosives that could be used to detonate a nuclear weapon at Parchin” that yielded “data” which then “fed the model plotted in the diagram,” Heinonen chimed in by saying that the results of such tests could “make sense as part of the design and testing of a (computer) model.”
So, to sum up: nuclear “experts” have determined that an Israeli diagram of a bell curve with spooky squiggly writing is “genuine” (insofar as it exists) and that its contents could “make sense” as something super vague and devoid of context or relevance if all this other stuff that Israel has made up but there’s no actual proof of also happens to be true.
With this in mind, I’m sure we can all look forward to Israel’s next foray into the graphic arts, dutifully transmitted via George Jahn’s servile stenography. Personally, I’m hoping it will take Lite-Brite form next time.
A version of this post first appeared on Nima Shirazi’s website Wide Asleep In America.