A Few Recent Things . . . .Posted: September 17, 2012 Filed under: Nuclear 32 Comments
I haven’t been blogging much lately because of a couple of factors – I had some minor surgery on my neck, and then I was writing the post on the IAEA standards of investigation and assessment, which took a lot more time and effort than I intended.
But here are a number of developments relevant to arms control law that I’ve noticed lately and would like to bring to readers’ attention:
1. Here’s a new article on the USIP site co-authored by David Albright of ISIS. Wow. Just 100% incorrect in its legal interpretations of the NPT. Why is it that in the nonproliferation area everyone, including engineers, physicists, chemists and general policy wonks, think they can do legal interpretation? You won’t find me writing articles about the technical aspects of missile capabilities, or the internal physics of a warhead core. I know these things are outside of my training and qualification to do. But apparently everyone thinks they can do legal analysis. With respect, I think David should stick to obsessing over satellite pictures of tarps at random military bases in Iran.
2. Some important new statements from high ranking Russian officials, both on the lack of evidence of military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear program, and on the wrongfulness, ineffectiveness and imprudence of economic sanctions imposed unilaterally by the West. Important new markers of disunity among the P5+1 on approach to the Iran situation, and some welcome levelheadedness of Russian officials.
3. The NAM Summit final document, adopted by consensus of the 120 states attending. This is the international community, folks, and they are saying some pretty specific things here in paragraphs 6 & 7 about the scope and meaning of the NPT Article IV right, and about the illegality of attacks or threats of attack against peaceful nuclear facilities. This is a statement that has potential relevance for legal interpretation of the NPT, and possibly also for the formation of customary international law on these points.
4. Trita Parsi’s latest article on Iran Sanctions. Such important points to understand about sanctions – and, I would add, points backed up by academic literature. In a situation like the Iran crisis, sanctions do not change target government behavior. They only hurt the ordinary people of the target state, and this in turn will only backfire against those maintaining the sanctions. I wrote about this issue in my article in the Harvard Law and Policy Review Online, discussing some of this literature.
I just got back from teaching my PIL class today, and we were talking about sanctions imposed by international organizations. I told my class that economic sanctions unfortunately appear in many ways analogous to heroin to Western governments. They (sanctions) don’t do any good, and in fact almost always make things worse. They produce terrible effects on ordinary people in target countries, destroying economies and causing unnecessary and undeserved suffering. Nevertheless, the UNSC keeps coming back to this tool of policy time after time like an addict, because it makes them feel good to be doing, and to be seen by their domestic political constituencies to be doing, something in such situations. It gives them a feeling of catharsis, but even they know that in the end all the sanctions will really produce is terrible and undeserved and pointless harm. I thought that was a pretty good analogy.
5. Yousaf Butt’s latest article in the Christian Science Monitor. He makes such an important point here that is so frequently not understood in the maelstrom of the U.S. political race to see who can be the most hawkish on Iran – i.e. that the very best way to make sure Iran DOES have a nuclear weapons program, and ACTUALLY WITHDRAWS from the NPT and KICKS OUT IAEA INSPECTORS, is for Israel to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Now, this may be what some in Israel, and even in the U.S. want – to start a war with Iran. But for those of us who don’t relish that idea, this is an important point to bear in mind.
Dan, thank you for mentioning my piece in the CSMonitor.
As regards sanctions, pls note that the legislative text of the US ones is much much broader than just nuclear matters — in my view, US sanctions can only be lifted after there is, effectively, regime change:
I have to say that Albright’s article is so breathtakingly bone-headed that there are only two possible explanations for it:
1) He really is As Thick As A Brick, or
2) His is singing for his supper.
This statement alone is gob-smacking:
“Under Article IV, Iran cannot claim the right to nuclear energy production—or a right to enrich at all—while under investigation for possible non-peaceful uses of these capabilities. ”
Apparently an unalienable right becomes very “alienable” once an accusation is made against you. Indeed, all it needs is for you to be under ‘”investigation” for “possible” Naughty Behaviour and you have to down tools and sit in the Naughty Corner.
Surely the correct interpretation is this:
IF the incentive to sign the NPT is the promise of lots of co-operation
AND you are suspected of violating that treaty with your bad-faith behaviour
THEN all that promised co-operation should be suspended
UNTIL you get the all-clear or you repent your past sins.
Or, put another way: signing the NPT in bad faith should elicit the same response as not signing it at all i.e. you should be cold-shouldered by your fellow signatories.
After all, NOBODY would have signed the NPT if that meant giving the IAEA board a power of veto over your entire nuclear industry.
I actually think that the correct interpretation is even more favorable to the right of peaceful use than the one you lay out, Johnboy. Though yours is miles closer to the mark than Albright’s, and is in keeping with the correct overall approach to interpretation using the grand bargain as context. This was one of the two main topics of my 2011 book. I too thought Albright’s interpretation to be so far from the mark that I really didnt have the time or inclination to explain in detail how wrong it is. For anyone seriously interested, though, my view is explained in detail in my 2011 book.
I note that b over at http://www.moonofalabama.org has just pointed to the latest report
Click to access R40094.pdf
from the Congressional Research Service that goes into considerable detail on this issue.
Has anyone pointed this document out to you and, if so, what’s your opinion?
Yes, a couple of people have brought that report to my attention and I just read over it quickly this morning. My first impression is that overall the report is essentially factually correct, and that it is conservative in making legal interpretations or conclusions. I think those aspects of the report are laudable, and I sent an email to the author of the report this morning telling him that. I also think, though, and expressed to him, that when legal interpretations/conclusions are made in the report I think they could be improved significantly. Specifically, on the question of whether CSA noncompliance constitutes NPT Article III violation, and on the proper interpretation of NPT Article II. I have written extensively about both of these points, and I offered those materials to the author, and also offered to assist in further CRS reports on this topic. I hope he takes me up on these offers. In brief, I think that CSA noncompliance does not per se constitute NPT Article III breach. I discussed this at length in my 2011 book. I also think that the NPT Article II interpretation that the report leans toward, which is basically the US interpretation, is far too broad and is not in keeping with the text of the treaty itself. I wrote about this, among other places, in this op-ed a couple of years ago: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forum/2011/11/dan-joyner-iaea-report.php
[…] But both sides misinform. Respective David Albright, president and founder of Washington DC-based Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), who has been beating the drums about Parchin for almost eight years now, has a strange view of what Iran is allowed under the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) and what not. In his complaint about NAM (Non-aligned Movement) countries’ “hypocritical” statement on Iran’s nuclear program and the Tehran Declaration he claims that, under Article IV of the NPT, “Iran cannot claim the right to nuclear energy production – or a right to enrich at all – while under investigation for possible non-peaceful uses of these capabilities.” Not just hilarious but uninformed and misleading, as Dan Joyner of the Alabama School of Law rightfully debunks. […]
I have belatedly read Joyner’s rant about our IranPrimer article with amusement and likewise find his chorus of lackeys a pathetic bunch. Now I understand that Joyner’s blogging is supposed to be an ego trip for him and a safe haven for commentators, but Joyner’s blogging is particularly egotistical and, with respect, off-the-wall. In the comments and in Joyner’s writings, I can see the deep ignorance of the NPT. I certainly see no need to revise our analysis and statements in our IranPrimer article. We have consulted with many lawyers who find Joyner’s analysis deeply flawed and agenda driven. These attorneys actually know something about the NPT and safeguards agreements. With regard to writing about legal matters, all our work is informed and reviewed by lawyers with extensive experience in the field of nuclear non-proliferation. I would recommend that Joyner have his work reviewed by competent lawyers. He would need to revise most of his work. But it is a path I would recommend he follow.
What an honor it is to have the great David Albright take time out of his busy media schedule to comment on my blog. Yes, you’re right David, maybe I should have my ten years of legal analysis of the NPT peer reviewed for correctness. Oh wait, that’s right. It has been. In two peer-reviewed university press monographs, which have also then been favorably reviewed by peers in numerous law journals; in peer reviewed journal articles and book chapters I’ve written; and in talks I’ve given at academic events all over. Please feel free to verify all this on my C.V. And BTW David, who has reviewed the work of the lawyers you’ve been consulting? Can you give me the name of even one of them who has published anything that has been truly peer reviewed? Don’t worry, I’ll answer for you. You can’t. Because David, if I was a betting man, I’d bet everything I own that every single lawyer you’ve ever consulted for your studies has at some point worked for the USG, and has had all of the reviews of their work provided to them by other USG lawyers. I’m right, aren’t I? And what else was that you said about my work? Agenda driven? Oh please, David. I think readers who know anything about the work of ISIS will find David Albright, supported by his cadre of USG lawyers, calling my work agenda driven, to be the clearest example of the pot calling the kettle black that they’ve ever heard of. You have got to be kidding. Everybody in this business knows that ISIS is for all practical purposes an agency of the USG, and does everything it can to advance USG policies and interests. And you have the gall to call me agenda driven? David, I’ll put my legal analysis up next to that of your lawyers any day of the week for review by independent international legal scholars from a broad section of countries, and I 100% guarantee you that they will choose mine as being the more correct 9 times out of 10. Oh wait, I forgot, they already have.
I am glad to hear that you buy the line of the likes of Iran that ISIS is a US government entity or representative. Since we are trading rumors, I heard that you appealed to the non-aligned states, stating that afterall you are a lawyer that seeks clients. And you would make a good lawyer for the extreme part of the non-aligned. You could be the Ayatollah’s lawyer. By the way, your bet would be a losing one. Yes, your work on the NPT and the IAEA definitely needs review. Unfortunately, it is wrong 9 out 10 times and dangerous to boot.
As usual, David, you offer little evidence to support your speculations, that you would like others to see as actual analysis. I gave you evidence of the many favorable peer reviews my work has undergone. You offer no evidence to back up your assertion that my legal analysis is wrong 9 times out of 10 and dangerous. Produce some names of lawyers youve consulted for your work, and for this assertion, and their peer reviewed publications, and I’ll be happy to debate those lawyers directly. Something tells me, however, that I will wait for this open debate in vain.
And your “rumor” is something I proclaim openly. Its on my C.V. at my University website, if you would have taken the time to read it. Like many law professors, I also maintain an active legal practice, advising states and private parties on international nuclear energy law.
I’m about to post a new piece about you and your colleagues in the U.S. nonproliferation establishment. Thanks for reading!
Talking about agenda-driven, I found this interesting:
“Today, Albright’s Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is issuing a flurry of alarmist reports about Iran’s nuclear bomb progress, often accompanied by the same kind of satellite photos and diagrams that helped persuade many Americans that Iraq must possess unconventional weapons that turned out to be fictitious.
For instance, in the run-up to war in Iraq, Albright co-authored a Sept. 10, 2002, article – entitled “Is the Activity at Al Qaim Related to Nuclear Efforts? ” – which declared, “High-resolution commercial satellite imagery shows an apparently operational facility at the site of Iraq’s al Qaim phosphate plant and uranium extraction facility (Unit-340), located in northwest Iraq near the Syrian border. This site was where Iraq extracted uranium for its nuclear weapons program in the 1980s. …
“This image raises questions about whether Iraq has rebuilt a uranium extraction facility at the site, possibly even underground. … Unless inspectors go to the site and investigate all activities, the international community cannot exclude the possibility that Iraq is secretly producing a stockpile of uranium in violation of its commitments under Security Council resolutions. The uranium could be used in a clandestine nuclear weapons effort.”
Albright’s nuclear warning about Iraq coincided with the start of the Bush administration’s propaganda campaign to rally Congress and the American people to war with talk about “the smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
Though Albright eventually grew skeptical about the alleged resurrection of an Iraqi nuclear program, he remained a firm believer in the Bush administration’s claims about Iraq’s supposed chemical and biological weapons programs as justification for the March 2003 invasion.
In summer 2003, after the promised WMD caches proved non-existent, the journalism watchdog group FAIR published a study by Seth Ackerman looking at the American press corps’ gullibility and citing the role of weapons experts like Albright.
Entitlted “The Great WMD Hunt ,” the article said, “In part, journalists absorbed their aura of certainty from a battery of ‘independent’ weapons experts who repeated the mantra of Iraq concealment over and over. Journalists used these experts as outside sources who could independently evaluate the administration’s claims. Yet often these ‘experts’ were simply repeating what they heard from U.S. officials, forming an endless loop of self-reinforcing scare mongering.
“Take the ubiquitous David Albright, a former U.N. inspector in Iraq. Over the years, Albright had been cited in hundreds of news articles and made scores of television appearances as an authority on Iraqi weapons. A sample prewar quote from Albright (CNN, 10/5/02): ‘In terms of the chemical and biological weapons, Iraq has those now. How many, how could they deliver them? I mean, these are the big questions.’”
FAIR added: “But when the postwar weapons hunt started turning up empty, Albright made a rather candid admission (L.A. Times, 4/20/03): ‘If there are no weapons of mass destruction, I’ll be mad as hell. I certainly accepted the administration claims on chemical and biological weapons. I figured they were telling the truth. If there is no [unconventional weapons program], I will feel taken, because they asserted these things with such assurance.’”
One of the chorus has responded, one that is particularly nasty, based on the stream of invective we have received from him this year. He consistently demonstrates an incompetence and unprofessional behavior. We evidently sparked his rage by stating in one of our reports that the international community should support the IAEA’s request to visit Parchin. He cc’d a person thinking that he was doing us damage. After reading Butt’s statements here is what the person wrote to Butt. “This is not the way to address anyone or discuss any issue. It is particularly unprofessional and undeserved when directed against David Albright and ISIS, who have done outstanding work on Iran and many, many other issues for decades. We at [deleted for privacy reasons but Butt knows who I am talking about] are proud to be a sponsor of their work. If you have a disagreement with their analysis, you should find a way to discuss this courteously and professionlly. Until then, I urge you to stop such attacks. There is no need to reply. In fact, I would prefer it if you did not.”
With regard to the quotes, I must thank Butt for giving me an opportunity to respond to these inaccurate statements about me. I did respond to the factually inaccurate criticism of FAIR. In the exchange I had with them back in 2003 they had to retreat on several fronts. With respect to Consortium News (can anyone tell me what this publication is?), his comments are hard to take seriously. I mention only the work ISIS and I did in September and October 2002 when we attacked the Bush administration’s claims about the aluminum tubes being the smoking gun of a nuclear weapons program. I do not remember the author of this article or those at FAIR anywhere in that debate at that critical time.
You did not leave a response for reply, but I decided to do so anyway. Many have told you that your results are deeply flawed. I will mention a few, Norm Wulf’s review in Arms Control Today, the negative comments on Arms Control Wonk, and Andreas Persbo’s comments. There will be several more. We plan to comment more formally as well in the future.
Yes, there are always going to be criticisms of someone’s academic work. It’s to be expected. And the reader has to be the judge of the persuasiveness of both sides. Some of this calculation can be based on the identities of the respective authors. Norm Wulf, who is not to my knowledge even a lawyer, did criticize my book in the ACT. I responded to his criticism here: http://www.armscontrol.org/act/2011_10/The_Meaning_of_the_NPT
He was, as I note in that piece, a senior U.S. official, who was the head of U.S. NPT diplomacy during a period about which I am critical of U.S. NPT diplomacy in the book. So he wasnt a very objective choice of a reviewer was he? Nor is he considered a legal expert in the area. But still, he’s entitled to his view, and I’m confident readers who actually read my book will find my analysis more persuasive than his.
Andreas is a friend and I actually do respect him. We have had collegial exchanges about the merits of my analysis and arguments regarding the NPT regime a number of times, including in formal academic settings. We do disagree about the legal analysis and conclusions. Andreas can speak for himself, but I’m not sure he would say that my analysis is “deeply flawed,” but rather that he disagrees with it. This is of course fine, and I welcome this kind of dialogue with someone who actually has legal expertise in this area. Though for my part, I feel quite validated in my analysis in my 2011 book, by the strong endorsement that Mohamed Shaker – who wrote the book that everyone considers the seminal volume on the NPT’s negotiating history – gave me in the Foreword he wrote to the book. I noted earlier the many other endorsements of my work in academic journals, and they are specified on my C.V.
So feel free to encourage your USG lawyer friends to write whatever they want about my work, wherever they can get it placed. I’m not worried. The work speaks for itself, and will persuade anyone who actually understands international law and approaches the subject objectively.
What is your paranoia about US government lawyers. They must have really attacked you. You have to remember we at ISIS only discovered your name in some nasty rants by Yousef Butt last winter. Do not forget ElBaradei’s views on comprehensive safeguards agreements and completeness? Regardless of what Shaker may say, on the issue of IAEA safeguards and mandates, you are viewed by many both in the United States and abroad as simply wrong. It is not just confined to U.S. government lawyers.
Congratulations, David! You’re the star of a whole new post here at ACL! You can find it here:
Mr. Albright, I’m (slightly) curious why you won’t name the lawyers that you hired to vett your recent primer.
After all, Dan Joyner has made no secret where his legal analysis comes from i.e. himself.
You have retorted that you will see his legal credentials and then raise him your “many lawyers” who have “extensive experience in the field of nuclear non-proliferation”.
Which, ahem, must have sounded much more impressive in your head than it does on paper.
After all, loudly declaring that you are raising the stakes doesn’t *actually* count for much unless/until you reveal the face-value of your chips…….
As in: if those “many lawyers” have been supplied to you by the US Government then their legal opinions is devalued by this indisputable fact: they are employed to sing for their supper.
Conversely, if you have taken legal opinions for lawyers who DON’T work for the US government then that would lend credence to those opinions, precisely because those Legal Eagles aren’t representing that client when they give that opinion.
That should all be obvious, and so your refusal to name your lawyers suggests to me that Dan Joyner has it correct i.e. your primer is nothing more than a compendium of legal arguments that was supplied *to* you *by* the US Government.
In which case why did you bother publishing this report? Why not just let the US Government put its seal on it?
The lawyers we consult and draw from do not work for the U.S. government. The US government also did not supply us with any legal arguments for the report. So, I welcome that you would therefor add credence to our report?
Care to tell me who they are then, David?
DA: “So, I welcome that you would therefor add credence to our report?”
I do believe that I said that getting legal advice from lawyers who don’t work for the US govt lends credence to *their* advice, and you misrepresent me by pretending that I said it would lend credence to *your* report.
They are, indeed, two very different things.
So, if we quote them in our report, they do not lend credence to our report? Sounds like you are splitting hairs.
Oh, now I understand. Joyner said U.S. government lawyers are attacking him and you jumped. This is not a discussion. Like a said a chorus of lackeys.
DA: “So, if we quote them in our report, they do not lend credence to our report? ”
I’ll now like to point out to everyone that there is not a single quote to be found anywhere within this report:
DA: “Sounds like you are splitting hairs.”
Well, at least one of us has the habit of fact-checking the claims of the other, yes…..
DA: “Oh, now I understand.”
If you say so, David. Though I’m not so certain on that score…..
DA: “Joyner said U.S. government lawyers are attacking him and you jumped.”
Hmmm, what was that you said about “understanding”?
I read your to-and-fro with Dan to be this:
1) You made a legal point.
2) Dan says the point you were making is wrong in law.
3) You retort that your lawyers can beat him hands-down
4) Dan asks you to identify those lawyers so we can see who is fighting out of their league.
5) You, very pointedly, refuse to say who those lawyers are.
I would suggest that you are doing nothing but demonstrable a lack of understanding of what is actually being argued here.
And, furthermore, that this is indicative of the very flaws that Dan Joyner finds so objectionable about you.
DA: “This is not a discussion. Like a said a chorus of lackeys.”
Oh, I certainly agree that your disagreeable posts do not rise to the level of “a discussion”.
I also agree with Dan Joyner that this is an all-to-frequent M.O. of yours.
Before I initially responded, Joyner and Johnboy were the ones who posted a series of disagreeable posts about ISIS and me. Look at the personal nonsense Johnboy wrote about me. The blog looked like a bunch of self-contragulatory blowhards pontificating about their own views, scheming to find allies, and complaining about those who did not share their views. Nonetheless, I decided it was time to respond against these types of attacks against ISIS. Yes, I am being hard but this group of bloggers needs it. They freely and unfairly attack but get all complainy when they get back what they give. Johnboy in addition makes specious arguments about the lawyers that advise or inform ISIS’s work. And why would I name them here to such a nasty bunch who have a clear history of devolving rapidly to personal attacks. And Johnboy, what is your real name? Funny that you of all people would ask for our lawyers names when you are not willing to give your own.
“Johnboy in addition makes specious arguments about the lawyers that advise or inform ISIS’s work.”
I will now point out – how many times now? – that it was David Albright who began this argument with his claim that My Lawyers Can Beat Your Lawyer With One Hand Tied Behind Their Back.
Now, a sensible person (obviously present company excepted) would then assume that having made that claim then it becomes incumbent upon David Albright to actually identify those Legal Eagles Who Far Outshine Dan Joyner.
You know, so that we can all judge whether – or not – they are fit to fight in Dan Joyner’s weight division, and/or whether – or not – they are tailoring their legal opinion to fit their client’s agenda.
And I’ll now note – yet again, one more time – that having made his initial bow-hard claim about the stellar quality of his legal advisors David Albright has conspicuously failed to nominate those experts who are so stellarly advising him from his corner.
They are, apparently, masked avengers whose secret identity must never be revealed.
Excuse me for being less that underwhelmed, Dr Albright.
“Funny that you of all people would ask for our lawyers names when you are not willing to give your own.”
Funny, but I don’t remember me boasting that I am in possession of legal advise that is way, way superior to that of Dan Joyner.
And since I have never made such a claim then I am under no obligation to substantiate that claim by revealing my way, way superior source of legal infallibility.
But you did, and so you – by marked contrast – are.
A pretty simple concept, I would have thought.
As, indeed, is this pretty simple concept:
if you make a claim then you need to be either
a) willing to substantiate it, or be
b) man enough to retract it.
You appear to be incapable of either, yet you appear to be far too arrogant to admit it.
DA: “Before I initially responded, Joyner and Johnboy were the ones who posted a series of disagreeable posts about ISIS and me.”
I will now invite everyone to look over my posts, wherein you will see that I have never once mentioned ISIS (though I will now disclose for the record that I am a very big fan of the TV show “Archer”).
My comments were directed entirely towards David Albright’s article at the “United States Institute of Peace” which, I will note, made but one passing mention of ISIS w.r.t. a certain “Andrew Ortendahl”.
But not once is ISIS identified in that primer, nor is it anywhere mentioned that either David Albright and/or Andrea Stricker worked for that organization.
So how David can claim that I maligned an organization that was neither mentioned in the text of that article, nor to which either David Ablright or Andrea Sticker associated themselves with anywhere on that page, and to which I have hitherto made no mention is, in all honesty, quite beyond me.
Apparently David simply has no time to fact-check, well, *any* of his claims…… he just throws ’em out there and hopes that they stick….
[…] and shows even more of his true colors, both to me and to another commenter, at the original post here: Here’s a new article on the USIP site co-authored by David Albright of ISIS. Wow. Just 100% […]
Joyner unfairly attacks ISIS and me on his blog, I respond, and he flips out. By singling out the wrongheadedness and hypocricy of extreme elements of the NAM, which include Iran and Egypt (at least on nuclear issues), we have cerainly hit a nerve. Perhaps, Joyner feels the need to defend those he hopes will be his future clients, if I understand his responses correctly. The ridiculous post focusing on me and the US non-proliferation community says more about his defensiveness and paronoia than about me or that community. The simple fact is that Joyner wants to use this blog to attack others unfairly and act the know-it-all. I guess I popped the balloon.
Well good morning to all. Well, to most. I just woke up to find this thread, and the one at the new post, had lengthened significantly since I went to bed. I thought about writing a whole new post this morning entitled “David Albright Loses His Crap and Stays Up All Night Arguing with Johnboy,” but I guess I’ll just write in the comments to these posts.
First, David I’m really just shocked at your behavior in making all these comments. Do you not see that you are making yourself look like a fool? You’re not giving enough information or substantive analysis in your comments in order to persuade people that you are right and that I and Johnboy are wrong. You’re just making trite little zingers (as you see them) and unprofessional personal attacks. I can’t believe that you ever achieved the level of notoriety that you have with this kind of judgment. Which reminds me, though, that there are a lot of other famous idiots out there too, so maybe it does make sense in the end.
I try to have a policy here at ACL of allowing all comments, unless there is profanity or other over the line content. And so far I’ve allowed everything you have said to be posted, so that you could get out any substantive points you had to make. But I don’t see you making substantive points, and I do see you making silly personal insults against me and others, so I’m considering cutting you off as a commenter. If you have something substantive to say, you had better say it quick.
Here’s what I’ll say substantively, and it does essentially accord with what Johnboy has been saying. This whole thing started with me saying that an article you co-wrote, which included legal analysis, was incorrect in that legal analysis. You responded that my legal conclusion was wrong, and that I was egotistical. Now, not being a lawyer yourself (even though you took credit for co-authoring a piece including legal analysis) you couldn’t actually debate me on the merits of the legal analysis in your article. All you could say is that you had consulted a secret cadre of lawyers who said you are right, and that I am deeply flawed in my analysis – not just in this instance, but in all of my work on the NPT. I asked you who was on your secret, but clearly authoritative legal team, so that readers could perhaps see a real debate between legal experts on this legal issue, raised at a blog devoted to law. You refused to divulge their identities.
So, that’s really where the substance of this conversation ended. You had no substantive arguments to make because you couldn’t make them, and you refused to disclose your legal sources of analysis who perhaps could have made them. Which leads me to ask, why did you even come here when you both couldn’t and wouldn’t provide substantive support for your contention that my criticism was wrong? What did you think you could achieve with no substantive cards to play? Did you really think I would just roll over and admit you were right, on the basis of no analysis? Again, I just can’t figure you out.
If in the future one of your legal brain trust wants to come here and actually debate me on the merits of your analysis in the piece, or on any other issue, then they’ll be welcome. That’s what this blog is for. Its not for you to come and mouth off with groundless insults against me and others. So until either you have something substantive to say, or you get one of your lawyers to come here and make actual legal arguments, why don’t you save us all the spectacle of your continued self-embarrassment, and go back to leaking IAEA documents and beating the drums for war with Iran. I hope you’ll be very proud of yourself if it happens.
[…] latest piece (with Robert Avagyan) on Parchin indicates that he has returned to his main interest (as was suggested by Professor Dan Joyner at the University of Alabama School of Law in a recent post on Arms Control […]