For the record, I still find it hard to believe the reports about Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant blowing up. In the end, this story might be about the way we trade in news these days on the Internet as it is about the murderous ambitions of the Mulahs in Tehran.
The initial story appeared in World News Daily, which is not exactly what you call a bastion of reliable news reporting. Throughout the day Sunday, anything out there about the explosion that trapped hundreds of employees inside the underground facility came from a WND story posted on Friday:
“According to a source in the security forces protecting Fordow, an explosion on Monday at 11:30 a.m. Tehran time rocked the site, which is buried deep under a mountain and immune not only to airstrikes but to most bunker-buster bombs. The report of the blast came via Hamidreza Zakeri, formerly with the Islamic regime’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security,
“The blast shook facilities within a radius of three miles. Security forces have enforced a no-traffic radius of 15 miles, and the Tehran-Qom highway was shut down for several hours after the blast, the source said. As of Wednesday afternoon, rescue workers had failed to reach the trapped personnel.
“The site, about 300 feet under a mountain, had two elevators which now are out of commission. One elevator descended about 240 feet and was used to reach centrifuge chambers. The other went to the bottom to carry heavy equipment and transfer uranium hexafluoride. One emergency staircase reaches the bottom of the site and another one was not complete. The source said the emergency exit southwest of the site is unreachable.”
The same report noted something that alerted me immediately that the above story was written by conspiracy theorists: “The explosion occurred Monday, the day before Israeli elections weakened Netanyahu’s political control…”
The implication being that Netanyahu, seeing his political cache about to evaporate at the polls, makes a last ditch effort, ordering his agents inside Fordow to light the fuses on all the well hidden explosive charges they’d placed in the cave walls years ago, possibly while the rest of the staff were busy purging the Stuxnet virus.
OK, but the ground rule of investigative journalism is still “just because you’re paranoid don’t mean nobody’s chasing you.” Or, in this case, just because you’re a little nutty and keep harassing Obama for his birth certificate don’t mean you can’t land a real nuclear facility explosion story.
The immediate question several online commentators posed was: where’s the pictures? Show me the satellite images of the collapsed plant, show me some damage. But so far all we’ve gotten are archival images of what looks to be a pretty sound compound. Especially since—you’ll recall—those images were initially distributed by folks who wanted us the fear those facilities.
The answer we received to that inquiry was that it was all happening underground, man. It may look wholesome and sound up above, but inside, like the livers of many in Israel’s security apparatus, it’s all mush.
It so reminded me of the ancient Ephraim Kishon sketch, where one neighbor knocks on another’s door to tell him that someone has finally blown up the hated Histadrut trade union’s building, and while he’s telling this excitedly, adding detail and color, the other neighbor opens his window and sees the building is still standing. But the first neighbor refuses to look out the window, trusting his information. The second neighbor then grabs the first one’s head, forcing him to look, and uttering the immortal line: “Damn it, Fuchs, is the building standing or not standing?”
The first guy is forced to admit it’s standing, but quickly comes up with the convenient explanation that “those bastards” rebuilt it overnight—yeah, when it’s their own property they can move pretty fast.
Well, is the nuclear plant standing or not standing? This used to be a lighthearted, entertaining notion yesterday, but today, Monday, the London Times came out with a confirmation! Holy nuclear centrifuge, Batman, it could have actually happened:
“An explosion is believed to have damaged Iran’s Fordow nuclear facility, which is being used to enrich uranium, Israeli intelligence officials have told The Times. Sources in Tel Aviv said yesterday that they thought the explosion happened last week. The Israeli Government is investigating reports that it led to extensive structural damage and 200 workers had been trapped inside.