Lord Deliver Me From Obama

Obama is under fire from the Gay & Lesbian community because Rev. Donnie McClurkin has his back…

Oddly enough, Edwards  & Clinton have both strongly come out and said they Are Not Gay, now Obama has a reverand who was once gay, or at least had tendancies, come out in strong support. McClurkin however is not supporting the Gay community, rather he is saying that Gayism  can be cured, through Christ our Lord…

The article definely has some uniqueness to it, that shows the real Obama. He is not about unity, as he is specifically targeting Black voters, and in the article it states that 74% of the black voters he was targeting are against homosexuality. Hmm. Obama seems like you are trying to divide the country here. So much for change, or are you talking about changing from the homosexual lifestyle to the heterosexual life style.

The other oddity is that blacks obviously do not feel that the gay plight is equivelant to their own equal rights campaign…

 

 

October 29, 2007

Obama supporter: ‘God delivered me from homosexuality.’

 

 

Sen. Barack Obama has taken heat for his connection to Gospel singer Donnie McClurkin, above.

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) — The controversial Gospel singer at the center of a gay and lesbian backlash against Sen. Barack Obama’s presidential campaign struck back at his critics Sunday night, saying that he has been “vilified” and declaring that “God delivered me from homosexuality.”

Rev. Donnie McClurkin, who headlined the final installment of the Obama campaign’s “Embrace the Change” Gospel concert series, did not comment on the controversy until the just before the concert’s finish, when he told the crowd of about 2,500 African-Americans: “I’m going to say something that’s going to get me in trouble.”

“They accuse me of being anti-gay and a bigot,” McClurkin said. “We don’t believe in discrimination. We don’t believe in hatred, and if you do you are in the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the whole premise of God. That’s the whole premise of Christ is love, love, love. But there is a side of Christ that deals in judgment, and all sin is against God.”

McClurkin has said that homosexuality is a choice and that he overcame homosexual desires through prayer, comments that drew fire from gay and lesbian activists and caught the Obama campaign, which has been using faith to reach out to African-American voters, off guard.

The Grammy-winning singer said Sunday his words had been “twisted.”

 

“Don’t call me a bigot or anti-gay, when I have been touched by the same feelings,” McClurkin went on. “When I have suffered with the same feelings. Don’t call me a homophobe, when I love everybody … Don’t tell me that I stand up and I say vile words against the gay community because I don’t. I don’t speak against the homosexual. I tell you that God delivered me from homosexuality.”

McClurkin’s words drew raucous applause from the crowd, who had lined up around the block to get into the Township Auditorium in Columbia.

Although a small demonstration led by the South Carolina Gay & Lesbian Pride Movement had gathered across the street from the concert venue, they were dwarfed by the crowd of black Gospel fans and Obama supporters who turned out to see the performance.

Meanwhile, Obama staff were inside and outside the building, working the crowd and trying to register new voters.

Nearly all of the African-American concert-goers interviewed by CNN expressed support for McClurkin. Some referenced the First Amendment, saying McClurkin had the right to say what he pleased. Others agreed with McClurkin and said that homosexuality is a choice. Several more invoked the Bible and said homosexuality is simply wrong.

A September poll conducted by Winthrop University and ETV showed that 74 percent of South Carolina African-Americans believe homosexuality is “unacceptable.”

Michael Vandiver, president of the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Pride Movement said that he was disappointed by Obama’s refusal to take McClurkin off the bill, but that he hopes it will be an opportunity for new dialogue.

“This is not a protest of Senator Obama, but rather a vigil in opposition of Reverend McClurkin and his statements on homosexuality,” Vandiver said before the concert. “We’re also here to show our support for Rev. Andy Sidden.”

Sidden is the white, gay pastor added to the concert bill as a last minute compromise by the Obama campaign. Sidden’s appearance was notably brief and anti-climactic: He said a short prayer to the auditorium at the very beginning of the program, when the arena was only about half full, and then he left.

Obama, while not present, appeared on a videotaped message to the crowd, saying, “The artists you’re going to hear from are some of the best in the world, and favorites of Michelle and myself.”

McClurkin said during the concert that he had been introduced to Obama by Oprah Winfrey.

– CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

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Peter, Paul & Hillary

In the 2008 run-up the Hillary camp has twice been tied to questionable fund raisers. Bill’s last act as President was to pardon a man who had contributed to him. Hillary is back in the spot light on her 60th birthday, for unethical fundraising practices. Now the allegations are the same, however the evidence is new. In light of recent revelations about the Hillary camp’s financing mechanics, I think this bares more scrutiney by the voting public and is another strong argument for campaign finance reform, which the liberals promised to bring about last year if they took the House and Senate, another empty promise.

 One gift that Hillary Clinton is unlikely to enjoy on her 60th birthday Friday is the premiere of “Hillary Uncensored,” a scathing documentary whose 13-minute trailer has been No. 1 on Google Video since Oct. 10, with more than 1.1 million views to date.

The film’s first full-length showing is scheduled for Friday night at Harvard University, followed by viewings at universities through the weekend and a wrap Tuesday at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.

Among the allegations summarized in the documentary:

— Bill and Hillary Clinton solicited cash from Peter F. Paul, an international lawyer and businessman, even after Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager told The Washington Post she would not take money from him;

— FBI agents and U.S. attorneys colluded with the Clintons to keep Paul, who was convicted of cocaine possession and fraud, tangled up in the criminal courts for years;

— The Clintons later made sure Paul was kept in a Brazilian prison for 25 months, including 58 days in a maximum security cellblock nicknamed the “Corridor of Death,” while the Justice Department waited to extradite him;

— Hillary Clinton still hasn’t filed reports to the FEC enumerating Paul’s excessive contributions to her 2000 Senate campaign.

Click here to see the trailer video posted on YouTube (part 1).

Click here to see the trailer video posted on YouTube (part 2)

Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign spares no kindness about its view of Paul, whose long arrest record, officials say, demonstrates his inherent deceit.

“Peter Paul is a professional liar who has four separate criminal convictions, two for fraud. His video repackages a series of seven-year-old false claims about Senator Clinton that have already been rejected by the California state courts, the Justice Department, the Federal Election Commission and the Senate Ethics Committee,” Clinton’s campaign said in a statement to FOXNews.com.

While it’s a coincidence that the film about the New York senator and Democratic presidential candidate is being released on her birthday, the movie’s producers say it is no accident the film’s trailer is getting such attention.

Douglas Cogan, a businessman-turned-associate producer and researcher for the film, said he’s made it his mission to expose what he calls “the greatest campaign finance fraud that ever has been committed.”

The Clintons think “they are truly above the law,” Cogan said. “My country has never seen anyone like Hillary Rodham Clinton.”

The allegations in the film are not new, although much of the video is. The film resurrects claims made by the thrice-convicted Paul that he unwittingly agreed to violate election-funding laws in exchange for a pledge from Bill Clinton to work with him in his new venture, Stan Lee Media, after Clinton left the presidency.

The documentary revisits Paul’s claim that, in exchange for Bill Clinton’s promise to promote Stan Lee Media overseas, for which Paul said he was willing to pay $17 million, he also agreed to produce an August 2000 fundraising gala in Hollywood for Hillary Clinton’s 2000 New York Senate campaign.

My interest in supporting Hillary Clinton was specifically to hire Bill Clinton,” Paul told FOXNews.com in a telephone interview, noting that Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign “concocted” the whole idea of the fundraiser.

Paul said he believed that in exchange for organizing the gala, “I had accomplished the hiring of the president of the United States to work with me when he left the White House.”

The gala cost $1.2 million, which was under-reported to the Federal Election Commission and led to the arrest of Clinton’s then-Senate campaign fundraising chief, David Rosen.

Rosen was found not guilty; a co-host of the gala, Aaron Tonken, was sentenced in a separate case to more than five years in prison for misappropriating funds for charity to pay for fundraisers featuring Hollywood celebrities.

Paul never got to work with Bill Clinton. Stan Lee Media filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in February 2001, long after it became apparent to Paul that Clinton wasn’t going to join the company and, Paul alleges, had stolen one of Stan Lee Media’s chief investors.

Paul writes off his convictions in the 1970s for cocaine possession and defrauding Fidel Castro of $8.7 million as part of an international anti-Castro effort gone wrong. He adds that the securities fraud plea that he agreed to cop in March 2005 was to get out of jail after 43 months in Brazilian and New York prisons. He still is awaiting sentencing on that plea despite being under house arrest since then.

As for the Rosen case, he calls that a farce aimed at getting a Clinton crony off the hook. The accompanying civil case, he said, also set a legal precedent Hillary Clinton later used to get out of being a defendant in his case against her and her husband.

“I am not the one-dimensional villain that I am portrayed to be, but I am the victim not only of the Clintons” but of their associates, who Paul says tried to steal his assets and wrap him up in a corrupt court system.

Not only was the indictment and the trial (of Rosen) a scam, the judge … turned it into a referendum on the credibility of Peter Paul,” Paul said, also faulting the prosecutor for not objecting to Judge Howard Matz’s characterization of Paul as a con man during his instructions to the jury.

“You conclude either that the prosecutor is incompetent or, worse, that the prosecutor is dogging the case.”

Paul claims that while he has been prosecuted and marginalized by the Clintons, his video evidence proves his case against them — that the power couple defrauded him by falsely pledging the former president’s post-White House services in exchange for footing the bill for all the gala’s expenses.

That video documentation, however, may be worth only the revenue from copies sold. The California Court of Appeals last week upheld, 3-0, a lower court’s ruling to excuse Hillary Clinton as a defendant in that suit. The court also noted that the new video isn’t new evidence.

“In his motion to admit new evidence, Paul also seeks to admit the videotaped recording of the July 17, 2000, telephone call to demonstrate Senator Clinton had sufficient knowledge of Paul’s business enterprises and the president’s involvement with Paul such that it would not have been a ‘fishing expedition’ to depose her. While the recording itself may have only been recently obtained by Paul, the substance of the conference call is not new evidence,” reads the ruling written by Judge P.J. Perluss.

Nonetheless, the conference call with then-first lady Clinton is among the most compelling moments in the new documentary. The video, taken in Paul’s Beverly Hills office a month before the gala, shows on one end of a teleconference, Paul, Tonken and their business partner Alana Stewart, Rod Stewart’s ex-wife. On the other end is Hillary Clinton.

Clinton can be heard saying: “Whatever it is you’re doing, is it OK if I thank you? … I am very appreciative and it sounds fabulous. I got a full report from Kelly (White House adviser Kelly Craighead) today when she got back and told me everything that you’re doing and it just sounds like it’s going to be a great event. But I just wanted to call and personally thank all of you. I’m glad you’re all together so I could tell you how much this means to me, and it’s going to mean a lot to the president, too.”

Paul’s attorney, Colette Wilson, argues that Clinton’s conversation proves she was in violation of campaign finance rules preventing candidates from personally having a hand in coordinating fundraising events in excess of $25,000.

The appeals court’s ruling to dismiss Hillary Clinton as a defendant is flawed because “my evidence showed that this gala was coordinated between the candidate and Peter Paul,” Wilson said. “The whole basis of (Clinton’s motion to dismiss) was her right to solicit campaign contributions, so she admitted” she knew about the gala planning.

Wilson said that the appeals court also erred when it cited the lower court’s claim that they were on a “fishing expedition” by demanding to depose Clinton about her knowledge of the gala.

“I would attack that by saying that the case is defined as too broad [when it] is asking to take a lot of people’s depositions. A fishing expedition means you don’t have a clue whether the person has any evidence or not,” she said.

But Wilson acknowledged that it’s the court’s discretion to admit new evidence or not.

“They don’t have to allow it in. The cutoff is what was available during the lower court submission,” she said.

Wilson contends that several of the videotapes, including the would-be smoking gun, weren’t available to Paul because they were confiscated by the FBI when the securities fraud investigation began in 2001 and were withheld from Paul until April of this year, long after the lower court heard the case.

“They still have the originals,” she noted, adding that the FBI sent the videos to a vendor to be copied and sent to Paul.

Wilson said she’s not certain she wants to appeal for an en banc hearing of the entire appeals court or to ask the California Supreme Court to take the case because it could mean a delay of two years before they can return to the underlying case — the alleged fraud committed by the Clintons in pledging that Bill Clinton would work for Stan Lee Media.

Of that, Wilson and Paul claim to have plenty of evidence and still are able to depose Hillary Clinton as a material witness.

Paul said he also is prepared to keep open the case against the Clintons through other means. He is filing a new complaint with the FEC and is requesting that when Michael Mukasey is confirmed as U.S. attorney general, he investigate how the government could have prosecuted Rosen when authorities knew he did not commit a crime.

Cogan said he hopes the film also shines light on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“Hillary can no longer feign ignorance in what went on here,” he said. “I think she is absolutely an unthinkable commander in chief.”

Click here to view more information on the allegations made in the film.

Click here to learn more about Peter F. Paul.

Syria Nuke Site Update -Latest

Experts from the ISIS have identified the nuclear site in Syria that Israel destroyed. Syria’s ongoing lies that this is not a nuclear site are fading each day. The N. korean’s must be getting nervous…

Independent experts have pinpointed what they believe to be the Euphrates River site in Syria that was bombed by Israel last month, and satellite imagery of the area shows buildings under construction roughly similar in design to a North Korean reactor capable of producing nuclear material for one bomb a year, the experts say.

Photographs of the site taken before the secret Sept. 6 airstrike depict an isolated compound that includes a tall, boxy structure similar to the type of building used to house a gas-graphite reactor. They also show what could have been a pumping station used to supply cooling water for a reactor, say experts David Albright and Paul Brannan of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS).

U.S. and international experts and officials familiar with the site, who were shown the photographs yesterday, said there was a strong and credible possibility that they depict the remote compound that was attacked. Israeli officials and the White House declined to comment.

If the facility is confirmed as the site of the attack, the photos provide a potential explanation for Israel’s middle-of-the-night bombing raid.

The facility is located seven miles north of the desert village of At Tibnah, in the Dayr az Zawr region, and about 90 miles from the Iraqi border, according to the ISIS report to be released today. Albright, a former U.N. weapons inspector, said the size of the structures suggested that Syria might have been building a gas-graphite reactor of about 20 to 25 megawatts of heat, similar to the reactor North Korea built at Yongbyon.

“I’m pretty convinced that Syria was trying to build a nuclear reactor,” Albright said in an interview. He said the project would represent a significant departure from past policies. ISIS, a nonprofit research group, tracks nuclear weapons and stockpiles around the world.

Israel, which has nuclear weapons of its own, has not said publicly what its warplanes hit or provided justification for the raid. Syria has denied having a nuclear program. But beginning construction of a nuclear reactor in secret would violate Syria’s obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which requires all signatories to declare their intent when such a decision is made, according to sources at the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog.

The new report leaves many questions unanswered, such as what Syria intended to use the unfinished structures for and the exact role, if any, of North Korea in their construction. Also unclear is why Israel chose to use military force rather than diplomatic pressure against a facility that could not have produced significant nuclear material for years. The new details could fuel debate over whether Israel’s attack was warranted.

Albright acknowledged the difficulties of proving what the site is, in part because the roof was put on at an early stage, blocking views of the foundation and obscuring any potential reactor components. In construction of other types of nuclear reactors, the roof is left off until the end so cranes can move heavy equipment inside.

Some nuclear experts urged caution in interpreting the photos, noting that the type of reactor favored by North Korea has few distinguishing characteristics visible from the air. Unlike commercial nuclear power reactors, for example, a North Korea-style reactor lacks the distinctive, dome-shaped containment vessel that prevents the release of radiation in the event of a nuclear accident.

“You can look at North Korea’s [reactor] buildings, and they look like nothing,” said John E. Pike, a nuclear expert and director of GlobalSecurity.org. “They’re just metal-skinned industrial buildings.” The proximity of the building to a water source also is not significant by itself, Pike said.

But Brannan, of ISIS, combed through a huge amount of satellite imagery to find a site along the Euphrates that matches a reactor’s specifications as well as descriptions of the attack site. The compound’s distance from populated areas was a key detail, since reactors are usually isolated from major urban populations.

The site is also close to an irrigated area, which would explain statements by some officials privy to details of the attack that the facility was located near orchards. A small airstrip about two miles away could have been used to transport personnel to the site.

U.S. and foreign officials tracking the incident said that Syria is presently trying to remove remaining structures at the site.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has acquired its own aerial photographs but has not finished analyzing them, according to an IAEA source.

In an interview published yesterday, IAEA director and Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei expressed anger at the Syrians, Israelis and foreign intelligence agencies for not providing information about a suspected nuclear program.

“We have said, ‘If any of you has the slightest information showing that there was anything linked to nuclear, we would of course be happy to investigate it,’ ” he told the French newspaper Le Monde. “Frankly, I venture to hope that before people decide to bombard and use force, they will come and see us to convey their concerns.”

ElBaradei also said an airstrike could endanger efforts to contain nuclear proliferation.

“When the Israelis destroyed Saddam Hussein‘s research nuclear reactor in 1981, the consequence was that Saddam Hussein pursued his program secretly. He began to establish a huge military nuclear program underground,” he said. “The use of force can set things back, but it does not deal with the roots of the problem.”

Here is the ISIS report

And FoxNews has an image of the facility from 2003

 A 2003 photo released to FOX News shows a possible nuclear facility in Syria four years before Israel launched an air strike reportedly aimed at destroying it.

The photo — taken Sept. 13, 2003 by an American commercial satellite — could be proof that U.S. officials may have known about the facility long before the Israeli mission. Washington has been silent about the existence of Syria’s possible secret nuclear program.

“I’m sure they knew something,” said David Albright, president of the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) in Washington, D.C. “They didn’t know it’s a reactor, that’s pretty clear. I’m sure they, in scanning Syria, came across it.”

The image was taken by GeoEye, a Dulles, Va.-based firm that took the image for commercial purposes. It comes on the heels of other satellite imagery released last week that shows what is believed to be the same building a month before and soon after the believed Sept. 6 Israeli air strike. Israel has not officially commented on the raid or acknowledged carrying it out, but Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has hinted the operation took place.

“The Israelis stumbled upon this, were surprised and acted quickly,” Albright said. “And so we don’t know what evidence they collected or (if) they just panicked and decided to act without knowing and worried about the worse case.”

Analysis of those previous images, taken by DigitalGlobe, found that the structure could be a nuclear facility at least several years from completion similar to one in North Korea, according to an ISIS report released last week.

If the building does contain a reactor, like that in Yongbyon, it would likely be a 20-25 megawatt gas-graphite reactor, large enough to make about one nuclear weapon’s worth of plutonium each year, the group said.

To build nuclear weapons from such a reactor, Syria would need a separate facility to extract plutonium from the spent fuel from the reactor, the report said.

The box-shaped building has a roof, making it impossible to see what is inside. The building is 47 yards square, similar in size to the 48-by-50 yard Yongbyon reactor, the report said. Albright, a former U.N. nuclear inspector, has also been working his sources.

“We had zero help from the U.S. or Israel on this site,” Albright said. “And the fact that Syria says nothing makes it even more remarkable that these three states have a deep, vested interest to keep us in the dark and it’s very hard to crack the wall of secrecy.”

Syria could have gotten help for its suspected nuclear program from North Korea and other nations; possibly rogue Russian businesses working outside the realm of the government, Albright said. But without outside inspectors looking within Syria, it’s difficult to gauge the extent of its believed nuclear capabilities.

“We’d like to know if Syria is going to try to build another nuclear facility or nuclear reactor someplace else,” Albright said. “Perhaps be more careful this time.”

Syria has long denied the existence of a nuclear program and President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the facility is an “unused military building.”

What exactly the Bush Administration knows is still shrouded in mystery.

“If the U.S. had already had a file on the place, the place name would have come out pretty fast, along with a coherent explanation for what it was,” the analyst said. “But this was not the case.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Inside Man

Israel had insider taking photographs of nuclear facility in Syria. Now that the UN has covered up the Syrian admission of a nuclear facility, information leading up to the Israeli strike is being made available to the public. I am sure more will be released soon.

Israeli officials believed that a target their forces bombed inside Syria last month was a nuclear facility, because they had detailed photographs taken by a possible spy inside the complex, ABC News has learned.

 

Video

Israeli Air Strike Mystery Solved?

The Bush administration has steadfastly refused to say anything about the Israeli raid on Syria, or to confirm what was hit. But ABC News has learned of the apparent mole and other dramatic and secret details about the events leading up to the airstrike, plus the evidence that supported it.

A senior U.S. official told ABC News the Israelis first discovered a suspected Syrian nuclear facility early in the summer, and the Mossad — Israel’s intelligence agency — managed to either co-opt one of the facility’s workers or to insert a spy posing as an employee.

As a result, the Israelis obtained many detailed pictures of the facility from the ground.

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Watch the Full Report Tonight on “World News With Charles Gibson”

The official said the suspected nuclear facility was approximately 100 miles from the Iraqi border, deep in the desert along the Euphrates River. It was a place, the official said, “where no one would ever go unless you had a reason to go there.”

But the hardest evidence of all was the photographs.

The official described the pictures as showing a big cylindrical structure, with very thick walls all well-reinforced. The photos show rebar hanging out of the cement used to reinforce the structure, which was still under construction.

 

Story

High Level Debate Stalled Syria Air Strike

There was also a secondary structure and a pump station, with trucks around it. But there was no fissionable material found because the facility was not yet operating.

The official said there was a larger structure just north of a small pump station; a nuclear reactor would need a constant source of water to keep it cool.

The official said the facility was a North Korean design in its construction, the technology present and the ability to put it all together.

It was North Korean “expertise,” said the official, meaning the Syrians must have had “human” help from North Korea.

A light water reactor designed by North Koreans could be constructed to specifically produce plutonium for nuclear weapons.

Gore’s Inconvient Truth Filled With Nothing But Hot Air

Al Gore’s Inconvinient Truth Lie has been laid to task by a British Judge. Each of the “Facts” has been discredited, leaving only opinion. What is worse is Gore knew these were lies and used them anyways. He had the opportunity to remove said footage prior to its release, but chose to leave it in so as not to provide opponents and ammunition against him. Another words HE LIED!!!!

 Thank you Al, for pushing the panic button in order to line your own pockets with “Green” Money…

A British judge ruled on the eve of Al Gore co-winning the Nobel Peace Prize that students forced to watch “An Inconvenient Truth” must be warned of the film’s factual errors. But would there be any science at all left in Gore’s “truth” if these errors and their progeny were excised?

Minutes of non-science filler dominate the opening sequence — images of the Gore farm, Earth from space, Gore giving his slideshow and the 2000 election controversy. Gore then links Hurricane Katrina with global warming. But the judge ruled that was erroneous, so the Katrina scenes would wind up on the cutting-room floor.

Another 12 minutes of filler go by — images of Gore in his limo, more Earth photos, a Mark Twain quote, and Gore memories — until about the 16:30 minute mark, when, according to the judge, Al Gore erroneously links receding glaciers — specifically Mt. Kilimanjaro — with global warming.

The Mt. Kilimanjaro error commences an almost 10-minute stretch of problematic footage, the bulk of which contains Gore’s presentation of the crucial issue in the global warming controversy — whether increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide drive global temperatures higher. As the judge ruled that the Antarctic ice core data presented in the film “do not establish what Mr. Gore asserts,” this inconvenient untruth also needs to go. [Note to readers: A video debate between Al Gore and climatologists on this point produced by me can be viewed by clicking here.] /**/

After still more filler footage about Winston Churchill, the 2000 election, and rising insurance claims from natural disasters, Gore spends about 35 seconds on how the drying of Lake Chad is due to global warming. The judge ruled that this claim wasn’t supported by the scientific evidence.

More filler leads to a 30-second clip about how global warming is causing polar bears to drown because they have to swim greater distances to find sea ice on which to rest. The judge ruled however, that the polar bears in question had actually drowned because of a particularly violent storm.

On the heels of that error, Gore launches into a 3-minute “explanation” of how global warming will shut down the Gulf Stream and send Europe into an ice age. The judge ruled that this was an impossibility.

Two minutes of ominous footage — casting Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, and Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) in a creepy light and expressing Gore’s frustration with getting his alarmist message out — precede a more-than-9-minute stretch that would need to be cut.

In this lengthy footage, Gore again tries to link global warming with discrete events including coral reef bleaching, the melting of Greenland, catastrophic sea level rise, Antarctic melting and more. But like Hurricane Katrina, these events also shouldn’t be linked with global warming.

Based on the judge’s ruling, the footage that ought to be excised adds up to about 25 minutes or so out of the 98-minute film. What’s left is largely Gore personal drama and cinematic fluff that has nothing to do with the science of climate change.

It should also be pointed out that Gore makes other notable factual misstatements in the film that don’t help his or his film’s credibility.

He says in the film that polio has been “cured,” implying that we can cure “global warming.” While a preventative polio vaccine does exist, there is no “cure” for polio.

Gore attempts to smear his critics by likening them to the tobacco industry. In spotlighting a magazine advertisement proclaiming that “more doctors smoke Camel than any other brand,” he states that the ad was published after the Surgeon General’s 1964 report on smoking and lung cancer. But the ad is actually from 1947 — 17 years before the report.

Gore also says in the film that 2005 is the hottest year on record. But NASA data actually show that 1934 was the hottest year on record in the U.S. — 2005 is not even in the top 10.

Perhaps worse than the film’s errors is their origin. The BBC reported that Gore knew the film presented incorrect information but took no corrective steps because he didn’t want to spotlight any uncertainties in the scientific data that may fuel opponents of global warming alarmism.

“An Inconvenient Truth” grossed about $50 million at the box office and millions more in DVD and book sales. Gore charges as much as $175,000 for an in-person presentation of his slide show that forms the basis for the film.

Considering that a key 25 percent of “An Inconvenient Truth” is not true — and perhaps intentionally so — it seems only fair that Gore offer a refund to moviegoers, DVD/book purchasers and speaking sponsors. Where are the class action lawyers when you need them?

Syrian UN Representative Slips Up on Nuclear Facility – Update 2

Syria is back peddling again, now that one of it’s representatives to the UN slipped up and said that Israel violated its airspace when it attacked the Nascent Syrian/N. Korean Nuclear facility on July 6, 2007.

Syria denied on Wednesday reports that one of its representatives to the United Nations said that a nuclear facility was hit last month by Israeli warplanes, and added that “such facilities do not exist in Syria,” the state-run news agency said.

The Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting a Foreign Ministry source, said that Syria had made it clear in the past that there are no such facilities in Syria.

On Tuesday, a U.N. press release sent after a meeting of the First Committee, Disarmament and International Security, in New York paraphrased an unnamed Syrian representative as saying that a nuclear facility was hit

The U.N. release, which were minutes of the meeting, paraphrased the Syrian representative as saying that Israel was the fourth largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations’ airspace. It said paraphrased the representative as saying that Israel had taken action against nuclear facilities, including one in Syria on July 6.

Nascent nuclear facility?
It was on Sept. 6, however, that Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrike in northeastern Syria near the border with Turkey. The target remains unknown but widespread reports say it may have been a nascent nuclear facility, a claim Syria has denied.

President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the target was an “unused military building.”

The Syrian news agency on Wednesday said the press release misquoted the Syrian diplomat.

“A Foreign Ministry official source denies reports by some media organizations,” that the representative in New York said Israel carried a raid on a nuclear facility, SANA said.

“Such facilities do not exist in Syria and this is what Syria has already explicitly clarified,” SANA said.

A full transcript of the meeting in New York was not immediately available.

Israeli radio stations, citing unidentified Israeli diplomats, earlier Wednesday had quoted the Syrians as telling the U.N. meeting that a nuclear target had been struck. However, the Israeli radio reports did not say whether the Israeli diplomats had attended the session or merely had read the U.N. press release on the meeting.

The U.N. in New York could not immediately be reached for comment on whether its press release had accurately paraphrased the Syrian official.

Update: Notice that the reference to a nuclear facility has been removed… The UN has published the minutes:

16 October 2007

General Assembly

GA/DIS/3345


Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Sixty-second General Assembly

First Committee

7th & 8th Meetings (AM & PM)

DELAY IN REAPING ‘DISARMAMENT DIVIDEND’ DIVERTS RESOURCES FOR DEVELOPMENT, FUELS

CONFLICT, FIRST COMMITTEE TOLD TODAY AS IT CONCLUDES GENERAL DEBATE

World Safer Four Decades Ago; Now, ‘Faceless, Nameless Non-State Actors’ Have

Weapons of Mass Destruction, Many Countries on Verge of Joining ‘Nuclear Club’

Every time there was a failure to make progress in disarmament, an opportunity was missed to divert much needed resources for development, and the delay in reaping that disarmament dividend was fuelling conflicts and entrenching gaps in meeting resources for those more important concerns, the First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) heard today.

Upon the conclusion of the Committee’s general debate, Nepal’s representative said the world was spending huge amounts of money on armaments –- more than $1.2 trillion — whereas only a fraction of that expenditure would go a long way towards fighting poverty and correcting other imbalances in development in the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries.

The international community still awaited the dividend promised at the end of the cold war and again at the onset of the twenty-first century, Sri Lanka’s speaker said.  The road maps created to achieve disarmament objectives at several major international conferences, like the General Assembly special sessions on disarmament and the Millennium Summit, still remained to be fully implemented.

Concerned that little progress had been made on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation in the 40 years since the adoption of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said he regretted that the integrity and relevance of the international non-proliferation regime was being undermined.  Moreover, the unwillingness of the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty was deepening the gap between the nuclear “haves” and “have-nots”.

Zambia’s representative said the world of four decades ago was safer, since it was clear who had nuclear weapons, whereas today, “faceless, nameless non-State actors” had weapons of mass destruction, largely because of non-compliance and non-implementation of the commitments States undertook when they joined the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. 

Acknowledging that the General Assembly adopted many resolutions each year on the issue of disarmament, he said that “in our case, the saying does not hold true that ‘the devil is in the details’.  Our devil clearly lies in non-implementation and non-compliance.”  The Non-Proliferation Treaty was an example of non-compliance, with the “nuclear club” growing, and many countries on the verge of joining, he warned. 

Iran’s representative said that the international community, more than ever, was concerned by the continued existence of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpiles of a “certain nuclear-weapon State”.  The United States, which boasted to be the leader in the fight against weapons of mass destruction, continued to stress the “essential role of nuclear weapons as an effective tool” for achieving security and its foreign policy objectives.

He said the United States was developing a new nuclear weapon system, constructing new facilities for producing nuclear weapons, and resuming efforts to develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons, despite the commitment to effectively reduce them.  The same country was planning to spend $50 billion on a missile shield, in order to gain “absolutely security” for itself.  That would only lead to the creation of a “strategy and security gap within the overall global nuclear posture, with grave and long-term consequences for the whole world”. 

For its part, Iran’s nuclear programme was “completely peaceful”, he stressed.  All of the reports by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) since 2003 had confirmed the peaceful nature of the programme.  Nevertheless, the Security Council had taken “unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable actions” against the nuclear programme in Iran, which presented no threat to international peace and security, and fell outside the Council’s Charter-based mandate.  The resolution adopted by the Council had been derived –- not from any so-called proliferation concerns –- but from ulterior motives and narrow national considerations, aimed at depriving the Iranian people of their inalienable rights.

He recalled Iran’s recent new initiative, by which his country had agreed to negotiate with the IAEA on the modality of dealing with the few outstanding issues.  The final text of the mutual understanding was concluded on 21 August in Tehran, and called for all issues to be taken up in a “sequential and well-defined timeframe”.  In a very short period of time, two of the remaining issues — plutonium experiment and the contamination at the Karaj Facility — were resolved.  The IAEA Director General had called the agreed modality a “significant step forward”.  Indeed, Iran’s initiative had “opened a window of opportunity for the return of Iran’s nuclear dossier to the Agency’s framework in full”, he said.

Statements in the general debate were also made by the representatives of Sudan, India, San Marino, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Singapore, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Jordan and Uganda.

Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Iran, the Russian Federation, Syria, Egypt and Georgia.

The Permanent Observers of the Holy See and Palestine addressed the Committee during the debate, as did a representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The Committee meets again at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, 17 October, to begin its thematic debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items.

Background

The First Committee (Disarmament and International Security) met today to conclude its general debate on all disarmament and international security agenda items before the General Assembly.  (For background of the Committee’s session and a summary of reports before it, see Press Releases GA/DIS/3339 and GA/DIS/3340.)

Statements

ABDALMAHMOOD ABDALHALEEM MOHAMAD ( Sudan) said that developments since the last Committee session had indicated that technological advances were being used to enhance the sophistication of arms build-up, rather than disarmament.  His country once again reaffirmed that multilateralism, premised on the United Nations Charter, was the only way to address the complexity of disarmament, and international peace and security agendas.  Unilateralism was the opposite, as it made the globe more unsafe.  The international community should constructively engage in promoting multilateralism, as a core principle and direction for international collective security.

He said his country was a party to all the important treaties and agreements related to disarmament.  It remained Sudan’s firm belief that total and complete disarmament was vital to the maintenance of international peace and security, notwithstanding the serious setbacks in the past years.  In 2005 and 2006, no substantive consensus document had been achieved, especially at the multilateral conferences, namely the 2005 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, the 2005 World Summit, and the United Nations review of the implementation of the 2001 United Nations Programme of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects.  Military expenditure had also risen to a record figure, at 37 per cent more than what it was 10 years ago.  Serious effort must be exerted to reverse that trend.

The cornerstone for non-proliferation was the establishment of nuclear-weapon-free zones, especially in the Middle East, he went on.  The only path to achieving that goal was through Israel’s accession to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and its full submission of all its nuclear facilities to the comprehensive safeguards system of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).   Sudan further called on all relevant States to ratify the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Pelindaba), so that it could enter into force without further delay.  Additionally, efforts by Member States towards peaceful uses of nuclear energy should not be hindered or compromised.

He noted that his country had continued to engage constructively in the ongoing discussions on ways and means to develop an international strategy aimed at controlling the transfer, import and export of conventional weapons.  It would assess the feasibility of such a strategy and seek to ensure that it served the disarmament objectives within the multilateral context, while ensuring full transparency without prejudice to the legitimate rights of Member States.   Sudan’s deep concern about the lack of significant progress in the implementation of the Action Programme to combat the illicit small arms trade also included the illegal transfer of such weapons to armed groups and non-State actors, as that fuelled civil wars and conflicts in Africa.

SUSHMA SWARAJ ( India) said the very existence of nuclear weapons posed a threat to mankind.  While the ban on biological and chemical weapons had raised the hope that a similar prohibition could be imposed on the remaining weapons of mass destruction, nuclear weapons stockpiles, both strategic and non-strategic, were still too large, and mostly on hair-trigger readiness.  The threat of nuclear war remained real.  The goal must be the total elimination of nuclear weapons for a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Once the international community agreed on that goal, States could work together to “elaborate incremental and progressive steps” for realizing it, and the international community could “craft a security system in which States do not feel the need to develop, produce, stockpile or use weapons of mass destruction”.  Both would require changes in attitudes, doctrines and national security postures to bring them more in line with today’s globalized, interdependent world.

Turning to regional matters, she said that India remained committed to nuclear disarmament, while it maintained a “credible minimum nuclear deterrent”.  India’s nuclear doctrine was based on no first use, and non-use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear-weapon States.  India was prepared to enter into multilateral, legally binding obligations.  India was also prepared to join multilateral negotiations on the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons, and had continued to observe a moratorium on nuclear explosive tests.  The country was also willing to join negotiations on a non-discriminatory, multilateral and internationally and effectively verifiable treaty banning the production of fissile material.  It would table a resolution in the Committee on reducing nuclear danger, with “modest and practical” proposals calling for a review of nuclear doctrines, as well as urgent steps to reduce the risks of unintentional and accidental use of nuclear weapons. 

On terrorism, she said there was a new threat to the safety of mankind emanating from the possible use of weapons of mass destruction by terrorists and non-State actors.  Hopefully, the resolution on measures to prevent terrorists from acquiring mass destruction weapons, adopted by the First Committee and the General Assembly since 2002, would be endorsed again this year.  Meanwhile, the entry into force on 7 July of the International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism had been welcome.

As a “responsible nuclear Power”, India stood for strengthening global non-proliferation, as proliferation had already affected its security interests adversely, she said.  A constructive dialogue should be evolved for stemming proliferation without constraining peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  India remained constructively engaged in collateral disarmament processes, including on small arms and light weapons, the Biological and Chemical Weapons Conventions (respectively, the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Stockpiling of Bacteriological (Biological) and Toxin Weapons and On Their Destruction, and the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production, Stockpiling and Use of Chemical Weapons and On Their Destruction), and the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons (Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed To Be Excessively Injurious or To Have Indiscriminate Effects).

She noted that India had destroyed 84 per cent of its chemical weapons stockpile, and was committed to destroying the entire stockpile by April 2009.  Her country had also been among the first 23 States to have ratified Protocol V of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons on explosive remnants of war, and was one of 25 countries to have signed and ratified that Convention.

DANIELE D. BODINI ( San Marino) said that his country was one of the few that did not have an army.   San Marino believed that the Non-Proliferation Treaty was the backbone of the non-proliferation regime.  The country had taken note of the positive outcomes with regard to some international conventions.  Because of those outcomes, the life conditions of civilians had substantially improved.  Despite that progress, the world was still not secure.  Small arms and light weapons remained a major threat to international peace and security, and those weapons continued to cause the deaths of innumerable innocent people.  The existing insecurity had also been reflected in the remarks made by the High Representative for Disarmament Affairs when he noted that large numbers of people around the world lived in countries with nuclear weapons.

He said it was a matter of great concern that such an unthinkable number of nuclear weapons still existed.  Reducing the number of those weapons, however, was not enough.  Each nuclear-weapon State should commit to completely eliminating them for the safety of both the possessor States and the non-possessor States.  With the existence of those weapons, the risk of a nuclear accident was exponentially increased.  The international community did not have any other alternative; all nations needed to get together immediately to address the disarmament challenge.

NASER ABDULLAH H. M. AL-HAYEN (Kuwait), aligning himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said there had been a “regrettable chain of failures” in the field of disarmament, among them the failure of the 2005 World Summit, the Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference, and the United Nations review of the small arms Programme of Action.  The arms race continued, owing to a lack of trust, the building of which was one of the most important prerequisites for achieving peace and security.  Hopefully, all States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty would fulfil their obligations, in close collaboration with the IAEA. 

On Iran, he said the recent agreement between that country and the IAEA had been a “positive step to dispel fears and suspicions concerning the Iranian nuclear programme”, and he called for a continued and transparent dialogue.  Such talks would also create the necessary conditions for a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  He also welcomed the peaceful solutions growing out of negotiations on the “ North Korea file”.

He stressed the importance of pressuring Israel to join the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to subject its nuclear installations to IAEA safeguards.  He confirmed the right of States to obtain the know-how and technology to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.  Commending the opinion issued by the International Court of Justice in July 1997 on the illegal use of nuclear weapons or the threat of their use to resolve conflicts, he called for security assurances for non-nuclear-weapon States.  He also called for a treaty to ban the production of fissionable material.

Kuwait had submitted the required report clarifying the measures his country had taken to comply with Security Council resolution 1540 (2004), aimed at preventing weapons of mass destruction from reaching terrorist groups, he said.  He called for the total implementation of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, particularly article VI on nuclear disarmament, and article IV, concerning the peaceful use of nuclear energy.  He also stressed the need to adhere to the principles in the final document of the tenth session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament and the outcome of the 1995 Review Conference of the States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, as well to the outcome of the 2000 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, especially the 13 practical steps towards general and complete disarmament. 

He said his country also supported the outcome text of the fourth conference on facilitating the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  On small arms and light weapons, Kuwait welcomed the adoption in 2005 by the General Assembly of an international mechanism to allow States to identify and trace illicit small arms and light weapons.  Hopefully, consultations in the Committee would be transparent, comprehensive and aim at reaching consensus.

NAWAF SALAM (Lebanon), noting this month’s progress towards a settlement of the nuclear issue with regard to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, pointed out, however, that delays had often characterised disarmament efforts with regard to nuclear weapons and small arms and light weapons.  At the same time, he reaffirmed the right of States to peaceful uses of nuclear energy, and the need for all States to join the Non-Proliferation Treaty. 

He said that a most dangerous development had occurred last year with regard to the “open secret” of Israel’s nuclear programme, which had been “carried out” with the support of certain States.  In 2006, Robert Gates had declared before the United States Congress that Iran was surrounded by nuclear Powers, thereby confirming Israel’s nuclear status.  That declaration was further confirmed by the Israeli Prime Minister in an interview.  It was important to make the Middle East a nuclear-weapon-free zone.  Establishing such zones was no longer a question of theory; many nuclear-weapon-free zone treaties had been concluded in other regions.  The goal for the Middle East depended on imposing on Israel to respect the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  The absence of such a zone in the region could motivate the arms race.

Tackling the problem of weapons of mass destruction did not reduce the peril of small arms and light weapons.  Hundreds of cluster bombs had been planted by Israel in Lebanon during the 2006 war, and, as a result, many civilians had been wounded.  In that regard, Israel’s terrorism affected Lebanon.  The quest for disarmament could only succeed if small arms and light weapons were controlled.

MOHAMMED AQEEL BA-OMAR ( Oman) said flexibility and political will were the key factors in getting out of the “deadlock and drifting”, which had afflicted all areas of disarmament.  It was necessary to change the pessimistic atmosphere, secure the Non-Proliferation Treaty and ensure that the Test-Ban Treaty entered into force.  Oman had made efforts in disarmament, becoming party to a number of treaties and conventions, and he called on other States to do the same.

He said that all States had the right to legitimate self-defence, and all States were entitled to use nuclear power under the safeguards of the IAEA.  Weapons of mass destruction should be destroyed, but no success had been achieved in that regard, owing to the lack of a serious approach and to double standards. 

The creation of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East was imperative, as that would create the right atmosphere for cooperation, stop the arms race, and increase peace and trust in the region, he said.  Such a zone required the support of the international community.  He voiced concern over the lack of security in that region, with Israel outside the Non-Proliferation Treaty.   Israel should submit its nuclear installations to the international monitoring system and abide by the rules of the IAEA.

He said that Oman supported the efforts made by Iran, by friendly countries, and by the IAEA to find a solution to the problem.  He supported the recent developments flowing from the six-party talks concerning the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, and hoped those would continue.  On small arms and light weapons, Oman had sought to implement the 2001 United Nations Action Programme, and he urged other countries to do the same to end that “serious phenomenon”.

An effective and transparent disarmament effort was needed, and he supported the Secretary-General’s restructuring of Disarmament Affairs, especially the appointment of a Special Representative.  He was confident that the work of the First Committee would lead to peace, disarmament and security.

PRASAD KARIYAWASAM ( Sri Lanka) said that the international community still awaited the dividend promised at the end of the cold war, and again, at the onset of the twenty-first century.  The road maps and action programmes created to achieve disarmament objectives at several major international conferences, such as the General Assembly special sessions on disarmament and the Millennium Summit, still remained to be fully implemented.

He said it was distressing that little progress had been made on the issue of nuclear non-proliferation in the 40 years since the adoption of the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Nuclear weapons remained the most dangerous weapons of mass destruction.  Sri Lanka regretted that the integrity and relevance of the international non-proliferation system, centred on the Non-Proliferation Treaty, was being undermined in many ways.  The unwillingness of the nuclear-weapon States to fulfil their obligations under the Treaty’s article VI was deepening the gap between the nuclear “haves” and “have-nots”.  Strengthening the existing non-proliferation regime by remedying deficiencies was urgent.  Parallel efforts must also be made to strengthen the disarmament and non-proliferation regimes of other mass destruction weapons, namely the Chemical and Biological Weapons Conventions.

Today, more lives were lost daily due to the illicit trade in and easy availability of small arms and light weapons, primarily in the hands of non-State actors, he said.  Thus, the full implementation of the Action Programme on small arms was of paramount importance.  The failure of its review had been worrying, but the forthcoming biennial meeting was an opportunity to renew the commitment to the Action Programme and to seek ways to further strengthen its implementation.  The United Nations should play a major role in implementation and follow-up action.

KENNETH GOH (Singapore), associating himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement, said that security, together with sustainable development and respect for human rights, was a fundamental pillar on which the United Nations had been built.  However, humanity continued to live in insecurity under the threat of nuclear weapons.  No progress could be made if nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were regarded as “competing priorities”.  Indeed, disarmament and non-proliferation served the interests of nuclear-weapon States and non-nuclear-weapon States, alike.  To highlight the risk posed by nuclear terrorism, he cited the arrest in Georgia earlier this year of a smuggler carrying nuclear-bomb-grade uranium.  Chemical and biological weapons also posed a serious danger, particularly as information about their production was available on the Internet.

He said that Singapore, as a small country with an open economy connected to the world through trade and transport links, was particularly vulnerable to attack.  The country, therefore, had consistently supported multilateral non-proliferation instruments, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Test-Ban Treaty.  In 2003, Singapore had become the first operational Container Security Initiative port in Asia and, in 2005, it was the first port in South-East Asia to have joined the Megaports Initiative.

The illicit trade in conventional weapons must also be addressed, he said, adding that Singapore supported the full implementation of the related Programme of Action.  He emphasized that disarmament and non-proliferation required a multilateral approach based on the rule of law.  “Treaties and conventions, especially those related to nuclear weapons, must see progress to remain credible”, he said, noting the importance of implementing commitments.  The United Nations had a central role to play in overcoming disarmament and non-proliferation challenges, as no other body possessed the same international legitimacy.

PHOMMA KHAMMANICHANH (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), aligning himself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), said that today’s world was one of “accelerating but unmitigated global risks”, with internal conflicts, international terrorism, the arms race and weapons of mass destruction posing grave threats to the very existence of mankind.  Progress on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation had been slow, and nuclear weapons continued to be developed and stockpiled, while military doctrines were being revised to place a greater reliance on their use. 

He called on Member States to fulfil their obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty and to guarantee States’ rights to the development of peaceful uses of nuclear energy.  The elimination of nuclear weapons was the only absolute guarantee against their use or threat of use.  He was pleased with the increasing accessions to and ratifications of the Test-Ban Treaty, and with the conclusion of the recent conference in Vienna to facilitate the Treaty’s entry into force.  Also commendable had been the launch on 20 August of the Implementation Support Unit of the Biological Weapons Convention.  Results on the implementation of the Chemical Weapons Convention had also been gratifying.

Nuclear-weapon-free zones were a valuable platform for promoting nuclear disarmament, he said, noting this year’s tenth anniversary of the entry into force of the South-East Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone Treaty (Treaty of Bangkok).  However, the accession of nuclear-weapon States to the Protocol was needed for the Treaty to become operational.  He joined the ASEAN States in welcoming China’s readiness to join that Treaty, and encouraged wide support for the draft resolution to be tabled by Indonesia on the Treaty.

MOHAMMAD KHAZAEE ( Iran) aligned himself with the statement of the Non-Aligned Movement and said that Iran, as the only victim of the use of chemical weapons in recent history, was “highly motivated” to pursue the goal of a world free from weapons of mass destruction.  The international community should not accept that the coming generations would continue to live “under the horrifying shadow of possible use of WMD”.  It must be ensured that the people of Iran remained “the very last victim” of the use of weapons of mass destruction “at any time and under any circumstances”.

With that in mind, he said, Iran had adhered to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and was calling for the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East.  The existence and development of new types of weapons, and horizontal and vertical proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, continued to pose a real threat to regional and international peace and security.

Today the international community, more than ever, was concerned by the continued existence of thousands of nuclear warheads in the stockpiles of a “certain nuclear-weapon State”, he said.  The United States, which boasted to be the leader in the fight against weapons of mass destruction, continued to stress the “essential role of nuclear weapons as an effective tool” for achieving security and its foreign policy objectives, and to threaten to target non-nuclear-weapon States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  It was developing a new nuclear weapon system, constructing new facilities for producing nuclear weapons, and resuming efforts to develop and deploy tactical nuclear weapons, despite the commitment to effectively reduce them.

He said that was among the “long list of non-compliance” of the United States with its obligations.  That same country was planning to spend $50 billion on a missile shield, in order to gain “absolutely security” for itself.  That would only lead to the creation of a “strategy and security gap within the overall global nuclear posture, with grave and long-term consequences for the whole world”.  In an interdependent world, however, such a goal was neither achievable nor possible. 

It was important to establish a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he said.  Israel remained the only impediment to realizing such a zone, due to its non-adherence to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the continued “clandestine operation” of its unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.  It was “ironic” that the United States continued to supply Israel with material and financial support for its weapons of mass destruction programme.  Israel’s possession of a nuclear arsenal was an “open secret”, which the Israeli Prime Minister had finally acknowledged during an interview on German television on 11 December 2006. 

Iran called on the international community to unite in curbing the threats posed by the weapons of mass destruction of the Israeli regime and in pursuing the establishment of a nuclear-weapon-free zone in the Middle East, he said.

Turning to the Iranian nuclear issue, he stressed, once again, that Iran’s nuclear programme was “completely peaceful”.  All of the reports by the IAEA since 2003 had confirmed the peaceful nature of the programme.  Nevertheless, the Security Council had taken “unlawful, unnecessary and unjustifiable actions” against the nuclear programme in Iran, which presented no threat to international peace and security, and fell outside the Council’s Charter-based mandate.  The resolution adopted by the Council had been derived –- not from any so-called proliferation concerns –- but from ulterior motives and narrow national considerations, aimed at depriving the Iranian people of their inalienable rights.

He recalled Iran’s recent new initiative when, during the negotiations between the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and the European Union High Representative, acting on behalf of the “Group of 5+1”, his country had agreed to negotiate with the IAEA on the modality of dealing with the few outstanding issues.  In the course of a meeting with the IAEA Director General, it was agreed that, within 60 days, the modalities of dealing with those issues would be discussed and concluded.  The final text of the mutual understanding was concluded on 21 August in Tehran, and called for all issues to be taken up in a “sequential and well-defined timeframe”, rather than dealing with them simultaneously and without prioritization.

In a very short period of time, two of the remaining issues — plutonium experiment and the contamination at the Karaj Facility — had been resolved, he noted.  Additionally, the IAEA Director General had called the agreed modality a “significant step forward”.  Indeed, Iran’s initiative had created a new positive environment and “opened a window of opportunity for the return of Iran’s nuclear dossier to the Agency’s framework in full”, Iran’s speaker said, adding that Iran was determined to exercise its inalienable right to nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

RUDRA KUMAR NEPAL, Under Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, said that the international community had continued to be affected by the paradox of misplaced priorities.  The world today spent huge amounts of money on armaments -– more than $1.2 trillion-– whereas only a fraction of that would go towards fighting poverty and correcting other imbalances in development in the developing countries, particularly the least developed countries.  Every time there was a failure to make progress in disarmament, an opportunity was missed to divert much needed resources for development in the world’s poorer countries.  The delay in reaping the disarmament dividend was also fuelling conflicts and entrenching gaps in meeting resources for more important concerns.

He said that, today, the world was perched atop a stockpile of an estimated 26,000 nuclear weapons.  The danger of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems was further aggravating already fragile international peace and security.  The risk of those weapons falling into the hands of terrorists was haunting humanity each passing moment.  The safest way of guaranteeing non-proliferation of nuclear weapons was their total elimination and complete assurance against their use or threat of use.  As an interim measure, a universal and legally binding instrument giving security assurances to non-nuclear-weapon States could help build confidence for total nuclear disarmament.

The rampant proliferation and indiscriminate use of conventional weapons, especially small arms and light weapons, was causing untold humanitarian suffering and was affecting millions of people in conflict zones worldwide, he went on.  Nepal stressed the urgency to implement the small arms Programme of Action.  The United Nations Register of Conventional Arms was an effective way to promote confidence-building and transparency in armaments, and, as such, needed to be further expanded in scope and strengthened in application.  Nuclear-weapon-free zones were positive steps towards promoting nuclear disarmament.  Nepal extended support to such regional treaties and initiatives, including the nuclear-weapon-free zone status of Mongolia and the establishment of the Central Asian Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zone.

AMINU BASHIR WALI (Nigeria), aligning himself with the statements of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the greatest threat to human civilization were weapons of mass destruction, which were still being developed, produced, tested, deployed and exploded.  In order to end the nuclear threat, the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Test-Ban Treaty must be universally applied.  He called for the revitalization of the international disarmament agenda, and the convening of a fourth special session on disarmament.

He said Nigeria would continue to support article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which guaranteed to States parties the inalienable right to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful and development purposes.  On nuclear-weapon-free zones, Nigeria was committed to the Pelindaba Treaty and called on all interested parties to take steps to expedite its entry into force.  Small arms and light weapons were “massive killers” of the people in his country, hampering peacebuilding efforts and stability.  In that context, he expressed support for an arms trade treaty resolution.  Landmines were another major problem, particularly in Africa, and the international community should assist in educating and training experts in mine-related accident prevention.  In particular, he sought the establishment of a training centre in West Africa.

FORTUNA DIBACO ( Ethiopia) said that landmines continued to claim lives in every part of the globe.  As her country was one of those heavily affected, it attached paramount importance to that issue.  It had established the Ethiopian Mine Action Office in 2001 to deal with the issue, and, in 2004, it had ratified the Convention on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and On Their Destruction (Mine Ban Convention).  It had also significantly expanded the country’s mine-clearance capacity.  Currently, five technical survey teams were assessing the impact of landmines, in order to, among other things, identify mine-affected areas and warn local people of the presence of those weapons.   Ethiopia believed that the Mine Ban Convention could be fully implemented with the stronger commitment of all concerned parties.  A stronger mechanism was needed to achieve complete success, especially for mine clearance.

She said her country was also committed to the efforts to address the challenge of small arms and light weapons.  It had made significant progress nationally in collecting more than 11,000 small arms, and a large portion of those had already been destroyed.   Ethiopia also supported the process launched last year by the General Assembly towards the establishment of an arms trade treaty and had co-sponsored the resolution in that regard.  The country would continue to lend its support towards the conclusion of that treaty, and remained committed to working together with other delegations in order to achieve that common goal.

Right of Reply

Exercising his right of reply, the representative of Iran said he wished to respond to yesterday’s “unsubstantiated allegations” from the “Zionist regime”, whose policies were based on occupation, State terror, violence and bloodshed.  The remarks had no validity, and his delegation categorically rejected them.

The representative of the Russian Federation, also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, said that the Georgian delegation had spoken yesterday about the Abkhazia conflict, but that matter should not be discussed in the First Committee, since the Security Council was considering the situation and had adopted a resolution on the issue. 

Also commenting on the Georgian delegation’s discussion of the incident of 20 September, he said that, on that date, the Georgian Special Forces attacked a group of people from the Anti-Terrorist Centre.  As a result, people died, including two military personnel who had been shot at close range.

He said he agreed with the need for regional security –- the Russian Federation was part of the peacekeeping operation, and had been for the past 13 years.  In fact, 100 Russian peacekeepers had died in the course of the peacekeeping mission.  It was necessary to respect ceasefire agreements, and he said that if the Moscow Agreement of 1994 was respected, there would be peace and security in the region.

Also speaking in the right of reply, the representative of Syria said that the delegation of Israel had spoken out of context yesterday.  Israel had used lies and accusations, which was not useful since the entire world was aware of the objectives and practices of that “colonial” entity, which encouraged State terrorism and had never respected the resolutions adopted against it by the United Nations.  There had been politically motivated acts by Israel against Syria, and, at the same time, Israel had tried to distract attention from its actions, in particular, its interference in the internal affairs of Lebanon. 

Concerning the Lebanese border, he said that the Lebanese Minister of Defence had denied that anything had crossed the border, and those controlling the border had confirmed that.  Syria had informed the Secretary-General of that in writing.  Contacts between Lebanese and Syrian authorities had been ongoing to protect the border, and the countries had regularly reported to the Security Council on their meetings.   Syria had also recently increased the number of guards on its border, preventing any transfer of weapons from Iraq or any other countries.  In a letter dated 4 May, Syria had reported on that.  It had also asked Europe for help in securing its border, but had not received any such assistance. 

The accusations by Israel, therefore, were totally unjustified.  Israel was an “enemy entity” occupying Syrian territory.  Israel regularly filmed trucks carrying fruits and vegetables into the country, and had recently bombed one of them.  Israel was building eight reactors in a small territory and preparing itself “in nuclear terms” for a possible war, with 20 nuclear warheads, using thousands of cluster bombs, and not providing maps to show where they were dropped or where the nuclear waste was being disposed of.  It was an entity that claimed that Gaza was trying to occupy areas, when it was itself occupying territory.

Moreover, the entity that was the fourth largest exporter of lethal weapons in the world, that which violated the airspace of sovereign States and carried out military aggression against them, as had happened on 6 September against Syria, such an entity, with all those characteristics and more, had no right to go on lying without shame.

The representative of Egypt, also speaking in the right of reply, said he rejected the false allegations made by the Israeli Minister two days ago, and repeated by the delegation in the First Committee yesterday, that Egypt was transferring arms across the Sinai peninsula to the Gaza Strip.  Egypt was fully committed to the letter and spirit of the peace treaty with Israel and was taking the maximum measures to prevent any smuggling across its borders, for the sake of Egypt’s and the region’s security.

He said it was regrettable that, while negotiations on border security continued, false allegations were still being made by the ministers and delegates in the First Committee.  Instead of making such allegations, the delegates should have focused on the statements by Israel affirming its possession of nuclear weapons.

The representative of Georgia, speaking in the right of reply, said that the issue his delegation had raised yesterday was in fact crucial in the context of regional security, and it, therefore, needed to be addressed in the First Committee.

On the incident of 20 September, he said the shoot-out had taken place in Georgian territory.  The group involved had been trained by two Russian officers, and a UNOMIG (United Nations Observer Mission in Georgia) report said it was still unclear how the two officers had died.  He asked why two armed Russian officers were in Georgian territory in the first place.  Georgia regretted that the Russians considered those saboteurs, who were part of a secessionist regime, to be an anti-terrorist group.

Statements

LAZAROUS KAPAMBWE (Zambia), aligning himself with the statements made by the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said that the existence of weapons of mass destruction posed the greatest danger to the survival of humanity.  Zambia supported General Assembly resolution 61/62 calling on all Member States to renew and fulfil their individual and collective commitment to multilateral cooperation in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation.  Urgent steps must be taken to achieve the goals of disarmament.  Acknowledging that the General Assembly adopted many resolutions each year on the issue of disarmament, he said “in our case, the saying does not hold true that ‘the devil is in the details’.  Our devil clearly lies in non-implementation and non-compliance.” 

He said that the Non-Proliferation Treaty was an example of non-compliance, with the “nuclear club” growing and many countries on the verge of joining.  The world of four decades ago was safer, since it was clear who had nuclear weapons.  Today, “faceless, nameless non-State actors” had weapons of mass destruction, largely because of non-compliance and non-implementation of the commitments that States had undertaken when they joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty.

Turning to small arms and light weapons, he said their uncontrolled access by non-State actors was a serious threat to the stability of nations, and he urged the international community to implement the 2001 Programme of Action.  He also called for the convening of a fourth special session of the General Assembly devoted to disarmament.

Noting that most of those who called for the special session were non-nuclear-weapon States and small states, he said that was not because those States feared military defeat at the hands of the nuclear Powers.  Rather, it was because “all of us — the haves and the have-nots, are threatened by these weapons”, and there would be no survivors if a nuclear weapon was used.  The big and powerful countries should stop and listen to the voices of the small, the voices of wisdom.

SAJA SATTAM HABES MAJALI (Jordan) stressed the need for the international community to work on strengthening the implementation of all weapons of mass destruction instruments and achieving their universalization.  She called on all States that had not done so to sign or accede to them as soon as possible.  Jordan welcomed the agreement on the agenda for the 2010 Review Conference of the States parties to the Non-Proliferation Treaty during its first Preparatory Committee meeting held in Vienna.

She said that the creation of nuclear-weapon-free zones remained vital to the maintaining of the international non-proliferation regime and consolidating international peace and security.  That was especially true for the Middle East region, as had been acknowledged by the international community through numerous General Assembly and Security Council resolutions, the Non-Proliferation Treaty review outcomes on that issue and, more recently, the Secretary-General in his report to the Committee on the establishment of such a zone.  She reiterated Jordan’s position that Israel should accede to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and implement international IAEA safety measures with regard to its “unsafeguarded” nuclear facilities.  That would defuse existing tensions, bring about tangible progress on other bilateral tracks of the peace process, enhance confidence-building measures between all parties, have an overall positive impact on regional peace and security, and also prevent the occurrence of potential nuclear accidents and radiological contamination.

While the best way to prevent terrorists and non-State actors from acquiring weapons of mass destruction would be through the total elimination and destruction of such weapons, the adoption of the recent extension of Security Council resolution 1540 (2004) had nevertheless made it possible to start addressing that threat, she said.  Complete and effective implementation of that resolution required constant cooperation and coordination among Member States, including through exchange of information and the provision of technical support and technological assistance to those States that sought it.  In September, Jordan had hosted the first regional workshop for Arab States on the implementation of the resolution.  That workshop had provided an opportunity for experts in the region to interact with other experts on that important issue.

CELESTINO MIGLIORE, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the UnitedNations, said the IAEA was ever more important, as the use of nuclear power had expanded in various parts of the world.  The Agency needed and deserved stronger support from the international community.  Specifically, the world needed to be able to place confidence in the findings of the IAEA that no State party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty was abusing its right to develop nuclear energy for peaceful uses. 

He said that diplomacy was a key tool for defusing crises concerning attempts by some countries to acquire nuclear weapons; “belligerence by anyone would only worsen a delicate situation and could inadvertently lead to conflagration with immense additional suffering on a humanity already overburdened with the ravages of war”.

The continued failure to successfully conclude negotiations on the elimination of nuclear weapons, and the plans to modernize existing nuclear arsenals, jeopardized the viability of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, he said, adding that the nuclear-weapon States had a responsibility to lead the way to a nuclear-weapon-free world.  Nuclear disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation were interlinked, and both were imperative for the full implementation of the Treaty.

Noting that preparations for the 2010 Review Conference had begun, he appealed to all parties to show “good faith” in order to advance negotiations.  Further, the entry into force of the Test-Ban Treaty and the start of negotiations on a verifiable ban on the production of fissile materials were “long overdue”.  The lack of political will, rather than technical deficiency, was slowing down that process.

He said “the recognition of the values of morality would play an instrumental role in effecting political will”.  Nuclear weapons contravened humanitarian law and were an “affront to our stewardship of the environment”.  He called on all people of good faith to renew their determination to ensure that nuclear war would never again take place.

Moreover, the danger of nuclear devices ending up in the hands of terrorists was “real and present”, he said.  Thus, the Holy See welcomed the recommendation of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission that the General Assembly convene a world summit on disarmament, non-proliferation and terrorist use of weapons of mass destruction, ideally in 2009.  Work on chemical and biological weapons was also important, and the Committee must also take steps to counter the small arms and light weapons scourge. 

In conflict-ridden countries, the illicit trade in those arms, their accumulation and illicit production hindered the peaceful settlement of disputes, aggravated tensions and prolonged conflicts, compromising peace and development, he said.  Moreover, those weapons played a role in every conflict, and were often used in violation of human rights and international humanitarian law.  In that spirit, the Holy See last year had supported the resolution aimed at developing an arms trade treaty.  Armed conflicts had also presented “irrefutable evidence” of the humanitarian disasters caused by cluster munitions, especially on the civilian population.  The Holy See, therefore, called for negotiations, within the framework of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons, towards a legally binding instrument on cluster munitions and, in the meantime, for a moratorium on their production, distribution and use.

FRANCIS K. BUTAGIRA (Uganda), associating himself with the statements made on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement and the African Group, said his country was strongly committed to general and complete disarmament under the auspices of international management and control, in pursuit of the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.  Multilateralism in the disarmament agenda was the only viable road map to a peaceful and secure future, free from nuclear weapons.  The Non-Proliferation Treaty’s fundamental pillars -– disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy –- should be given equal and balanced treatment.

He said his country welcomed the strides made in preparation for the 2010 Review Conference of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and was confident that it would be possible to build on the work of the initial preparations held in May.  The relationship between disarmament and development could not be ignored.  Uganda also supported the 2001 small arms Programme of Action, particularly given its experience with the Lord’s Resistance Army in the north and the so-called Allied Democratic Forces in the west.  It would continue to play a leading role among the East Africa and Horn of Africa countries and on the problem of the proliferation of small arms and light weapons in the Great Lakes region.  He called on the international community and donors to devise appropriate mechanisms within the framework of international law to meet their part of “the bargain”.

AMMAR M. B. HIJAZI, Permanent Observer of Palestine to the United Nations, said that any serious international effort on disarmament should be directly relevant to international law instruments, including international humanitarian law.  The only acceptable context was the standing legal obligation of Member States to respect and abide by international law.  Irresponsible transfer of arms to States that were proven to act with utter disdain towards international law and to gravely violate the rights of other peoples should be at the heart of the Committee’s attention.  Continued arming of rogue States was tantamount to an assault on the violated people’s rights and lives.  That also exposed any statements professing respect for international law as a sham.  Clearer and more decisive action was required, including an all-out ban by the international community against such transfer.

He said that combating and preventing the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons was another important goal, which the international community needed to address.  Human suffering, whether caused by the weapons of regular or irregular forces, deserved attention and commitment.  Small arms and light weapons were just as deadly when used by a regular army against a civilian population and in contravention of international law, specifically the Fourth Geneva Convention.  States armed and protected militias that resided unlawfully in occupied lands.  That led to aggressions, which terrorized and harmed civilians.  Such militias owned small arms that were State sanctioned and funded.  Those weapons only fed the conflict and perpetuated the occupation, all of which needed to be addressed.

The international community must ensure that the Middle East was freed of weapons of mass destruction, he continued.  However, achieving that must be through a comprehensive, rather than a selective, effort.  The existing threat was heightened by the turning of a blind eye by some world Powers towards States that had spent decades stockpiling and developing non-conventional and nuclear weapons, while refusing to submit to international inspection.  It was counterproductive to exert extraordinary efforts on singling out and pursuing a Member State on the basis of suspicion, as well as to prevent non-nuclear-weapon States from exercising their inalienable right to peaceful nuclear activity, while another neighbouring and hostile Member State, which had openly admitted to possessing and producing those unconventional weapons, remained immune from even inspection or oversight.

CRISTINA PELLANDINI, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), noting that 2007 marked the tenth anniversary of the adoption of the Mine Ban Convention, said that despite the difficulty of reaching agreement in other arms-related fields, States had banned anti-personnel landmines, adopted a protocol assigning responsibilities for explosive remnants of war, and were about to develop new norms addressing cluster munitions.  Such moves constituted an “important trend” in the field of international humanitarian law regulating weapons.  Also, there seemed to be a growing public conviction against such weapons, and as a humanitarian organization, the Red Cross Committee welcomed that development.  In that spirit, she urged all States to adhere to the Mine Ban Convention and the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War, which had proven to be an effective tool for reducing landmine casualties.

She said States parties to that Convention were expected to meet in November, at the Dead Sea in Jordan.  In the lead-up to that meeting, the Red Cross Committee had hosted conferences for the States of the Gulf Cooperation Council and of the Maghreb, highlighting the problems of mines and explosive remnants of war.  It had welcomed Kuwait and Iraq’s adherence to the Convention.  As for the Protocol on Explosive Remnants of War, it was important that clear guidelines be developed at the first meeting of States parties, to be held in November in Geneva, on how to record, retain and transmit the required information.  It was also important to establish an operational framework to address the massive problem of existing explosive remnants of war.

Turning to the effects of cluster munitions on civilians, she welcomed the fact that virtually all major States that produced, used and exported such munitions now recognized their human costs.  She urged States to commit themselves to developing an international treaty prohibiting inaccurate and unreliable cluster munitions.  Such a treaty should ensure that existing stocks were destroyed and provide for the clearance of existing “cluster munition contamination”.  It should also contain provisions for helping victims.  Meanwhile, the easy availability of small arms and light weapons was undermining the most fundamental civilian protection under international humanitarian law, with devastating impact on civilians in conflict and post-conflict societies.  She urged States to implement the recommendations of the United Nations expert group on arms brokering, while continuing to pursue the development of a legally binding instrument.  They should also urgently seek to draw up an arms trade treaty.

* *** *


For information media • not an official record

 

Update 2: 

FoxNews has reported the  identity of the Syrian official as Bassam Darwish and noted that based on witnesses to the statement, confirm that the statement was almost word for word, again funny how the UN public document exclused the reference to a strike on a nuclear facility.

DAMASCUS, Syria —  A high-ranking Syrian official confirmed that Israel’s airstrike last month in northern Syria hit a nuclear facility, according to a document obtained Wednesday by FOX News.

Israel was the fourth-largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations’ airspace, and it had taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria,” Syrian representative Bassam Darwish is quoted in the document as saying.

Diplomats familiar with the document cannot explain why July 6 was invoked, instead of Sept. 6, the date both countries say an incident occurred. A State Department source tells FOX News the best explanation is that Darwish misspoke.

The document, released by the General Assembly’s Department of Public Information, recounted Tuesday’s proceedings at the annual gathering of the U.N.’s Disarmament and International Security Committee.

What is clear is that this is the first time Syria has acknowledged its nuclear efforts.

One U.S. delegate told colleagues he could not believe his ears when the Syrian diplomat made his statement and that the resulting document was close to verbatim, and another source told FOX News the document reinforces what people heard [the Syrian representative] say in the actual debate.

Syria already has disowned the remarks, adding “such facilities do not exist in Syria.”

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting an unnamed Foreign Ministry source, said the U.N. press release misquoted the diplomat and that Syria had made it clear that there are no such facilities in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the target is an “unused military building.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Illegally Hiring Illegal Aliens OK for Mayor Against Illegal Imigration

Bogota, NJ Mayor Steve Lonegan busted… Lonegan is a staunch proponent of curbing illegal imigration and has been recognized on both the local and national level for his stance. When he got busted hiring two illegals, the only ones he got caught on, he lied. To make matters worse, his elitism came out when he told the world he makes up his own rules and if someone doesn’t like it too bad.

Well Mr. Lonegan, you hired illegal aliens, you lied about it when questioned, then when the two illegals where inteviewed and refuted your claims, you as an elected official and Public Servant, tell the people that the law does not apply to you and you will make up your own rules. Sorry Mr. Lonegan, but hiring illegals is ILLEGAL and had some middle class nobody done this, they would have been charged with a crime.

The only profiling taking place is your profiling of cheap labor. You intentional went to a location where illegals wait for work, you hired them and promised them money and food, so that you would not have to pay the minimum wage. Then on top of that, you state that if they did the work and you found out later that they were illegal, you would not have paid them, that is called SLAVE LABOR Mr. Lonegan. The only criminal here is you and you attempt to shift the blame onto the police is absurd.

The Bogota Police and INS should file charges against you Mr. Lonegan, why haven’t they, because you are the Mayor, what a load of crap. Please charge this man as you would charge anyone else.

Two undocumented workers hired by Bogota Mayor Steve Lonegan last week disputed his account of events Monday, saying he sought them out for work and never asked whether they were legal residents.

Lonegan, widely known as a staunch proponent of stricter policies on illegal immigration, acknowledged he recruited them the morning of Oct. 8 but insisted he asked them whether they had proper papers and received an affirmative answer before hiring them.

On Friday, Lonegan had said that the workers had come looking for work at the Bogota building where his office is located.

The Guatemalan men, 20-year-old Elder Chuta and 22-year-old Victor Evaristo, said Monday that two men — a driver and a passenger they later identified as Lonegan from a photograph — picked them up along the Route 46 ramp at Broad Avenue in Palisades Park, a popular spot for day laborers in search of jobs.

The two men were later questioned by police at a home Lonegan owns in Bogota after a resident called police and said there were two Hispanic men walking through the vacant residence, which is for sale.

Lonegan hired the men to assemble lawn signs for his taxpayer advocacy group, Americans for Prosperity. The driver was an employee of the group who often drives Lonegan, who is legally blind.

When asked why his account on Friday differed, Lonegan first said he had been taken aback when told by a reporter that the police had been to the home. He went on to say that he considered the details irrelevant.

It doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “To me, it’s irrelevant, whether they were standing inside or outside. I will hire anybody I want, and if they don’t prove to be proper, they don’t get paid.”

Chuta said the car pulled over on the morning of Oct. 8, and the man on the passenger side said, “I need two guys.” He said he and Evaristo were driven to the home, shown the signs and offered $80 each for eight hours of work. They were offered soda and promised lunch later in the day, he said.

Both workers said they were never asked to show documentation or questioned about their legal status by Lonegan. Although they said their English was poor, they said they understand enough to know whether such questions were asked.

Lonegan said he “absolutely” asked about their status and planned to ask them to fill out paperwork later in the day. When he returned to the house later that day, he said, they were gone, and he did not realize that police had taken them to the station.

Evaristo was cited for giving a false identity, a disorderly persons violation, when a fake Mexican identification card he carried in his wallet — a document frequently given to Central Americans by smugglers to help them cross through Mexico — did not match the name he gave to officers. He has a Municipal Court date today at 2 p.m.

Evaristo said they struggled to communicate with the officers, who did not speak Spanish.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever been questioned by police,” Evaristo said. “I was so nervous. I told them my full name, my birthday. I told the cops the truth.”

On Monday, Lonegan repeated his contention that the police officers would not have reacted in the same way if the workers had not been Hispanic. He called for an investigation into the department’s handling of the matter on Saturday.

“I have a big problem with this, and I’m not letting it go,” he said. “Would it be OK if I went up to Bogota High School and got a couple of white kids?”

He also questioned why police did not alert him to the incident and accused the department of attempting to pay him back for acrimonious labor negotiations earlier this year.

“These two guys did not deserve to be put through this,” he said. “These guys got hurt by malicious cops. If the police had called me, I would have come right down and straightened it all out.”

He said he would like to pay the two men — out of his own pocket — to compensate them for the work they did and to make up for their treatment.

Chief Frank Gurnari, who met with Lonegan on Monday to discuss the incident, said the allegations of racial profiling were “absurd.”

“The officers didn’t initiate that investigation,” he said. “We responded to a call for service. They handled that as they would have any similar call.”

He also said that the officers had contacted the realty company and may not have known that Lonegan owned the house. Lonegan has said police are well aware that he owns the property and should have contacted him last week.

Jerome Fowler, a patrolman and the president of the police union, said the labor talks were not relevant to the incident.

“We’re two months into arbitration,” he said. “Are we not supposed to do our job when a citizen makes a complaint that there are suspicious persons at a vacant residence in Bogota? I don’t see what one has to do with the other.”

At a news conference Monday evening, Democratic Councilman Patrick McHale and Councilwoman Tara Sharp called on the Republican mayor to resign.

“We are appalled at the statements made by Mayor Lonegan about our Police Department,” said McHale, who is running for mayor. “It is ridiculous to imply that our officers were engaged in any racial discrimination.” They said that Lonegan’s policies had created racial tension in the town.

Lonegan, who is not running for reelection, said the statement was simply a “cheap” campaign ploy.

“The call on me to resign is part of a silly campaign effort,” he said. He said the Democrats should be willing to join him in an investigation of the police if they are truly convinced there was no improper behavior.

Lonegan said the controversy, which he labeled a “tempest in a teapot,” shows how challenging it is for employers to be certain their workers are legal.

“Should I suspect them?” he said. “I guess in today’s environment, you need to suspect that every Hispanic is illegal. That’s the message I’m getting here.

“This is the fallout from a failed federal immigration policy,” he said.

Evaristo said he wanted to go to court to explain that he had been trying to tell the truth, adding that the incident had left him afraid of the potential legal consequences and the possible impact on his family.

Lonegan, long outspoken on illegal immigration, made headlines last year when he tried to get McDonald’s to remove a Spanish-language billboard in the borough, and attempted to have English designated the town’s official language.

Evaristo and Chuta said they did not know who Lonegan was, and had never heard of him or his stance on immigration.

“If we had known any of this, knowing the way the immigration debate is here, we never would have gotten in that car,” Evaristro said.