Yousaf Butt on NYT Reporting on IranPosted: March 12, 2015
Just wanted to pass along that friend of ACL Dr. Yousaf Butt has published a very good new piece over at The Hill, in which he takes NYT reporters David Sanger and William Broad to task for their reporting on Iran’s nuclear program. The piece is titled “The Obsession with Discredited Allegations about Iran’s Past Nuclear Work.”
I do think that this is an important subject, and I’ve noticed too that media reports about the issue of allegations made by the IAEA and the West about possible past military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, often express these allegations as being presumptively well supported factually, when as Yousaf and others have long argued, there are a lot of problems with these allegations.
I also think Yousaf and others have made an important point on the subject of Iran’s interactions with the IAEA, which is that the IAEA has often complained about unsatisfactory answers on Iran’s part in response to questions about these allegations, when in most instances Iran’s answer has been that the documents procured by the IAEA on which these allegations are based are fraudulent. Now, that’s only an unsatisfactory answer if an independent review has been made in some kind of credible way about the documents, and they have been found to be credible. That has not happened in this case.
To a lawyer’s mind, it’s instinctively similar to a criminal trial wherein prosecutors want to introduce evidence into the record, but won’t let the defense either see or challenge the evidence, and rather demand that the evidence be accepted categorically as credible on the prosecutor’s say-so alone, and that the defense be compelled to explain the meaning of the evidence, with a presumption that the defendant bears the burden of explaining it to the prosecutor’s satisfaction.
Obviously, that’s not how it works. The defense gets a chance to both see and challenge the evidence, and only then can the independent finder of fact have any reasonable chance of determining what to believe about the guilt or innocence of the accused.