16 August 2010

Dr David Lowry - a short study in contradictions

I have stumbled on a curious letter to the Guardian, titled Hiroshima, Israel and nuclear tests, signed by Dr David Lowry, former director, European Proliferation Information Center (EPIC). He starts with the background:

I visited the exhibition on images of Hiroshima and Nagasaki (Face to Faith, 7 August) at the Quaker Friends House in London on Hiroshima commemoration day (6 August)...
Then comes the central issue:
However, I did notice one odd thing in the Quaker exhibition...: it lists Israel as a one of nine nations that have tested nuclear weapons.
Now some undoubtedly interesting background of the issue:
It is now accepted that Israel has around 200 nuclear warheads, although Tel Aviv declines to confirm its atomic weapons status. But, despite the fact that Israel has undoubtedly received considerable atomic assistance from the US, as is told in detail in Seymour Hersh's excellent 1991 expose, The Samson Option, there are no published details of Israel actually testing a nuclear device.
And all this is crowned by a question addressed to the general public:
I wonder if anyone else knows more details?
Ahead of answering this question, I've decided to look at the questioner.
David Lowry is an independent research policy consultant, specialising in nuclear issues and a member of the Nuclear Waste Advisory Associates. He does some research for Dai Davies, Independent MP for Blaenau Gwent; previously he worked with the late independent MP Peter Law and now retired Labour MP Llew Smith.
Beside that blurb, Guardian presents a respectable body of work by Dr Lowry, although one of the recent pieces should have been classified as an attempt at stand-up comedy, having a lede that reads: "With a few more olive branches and a bit less hypocrisy, there is new hope for progress over Iran's nuclear ambitions". That in April 2009... but so what, anyone can fall victim to own well-wishing, can't anyone?

Now, to gather my thoughts: Dr Lowry confused me quite mightily. On one hand, he sports an inordinate body of knowledge on the subject. On the other, he is easily thrown by a notice on some Quaker-born presentation stand - and doesn't even ask the Quakers for a comment. Then, being an expert in the subject, he a) uses Seymour Hersh's "expose" as input for his deliberations on the subject (imagine a physicist using an article from Examiner as a base for his/her doctoral thesis or summat) and b) asks the general public for help with a question that confuses him. To top this, the question about Israeli nuclear tests is submitted to the general public via the Guardian - oy vey...

Anyhow, being a member of general public and in a generous mood, I've decided to give Dr Lowry a hand with his research, using the premise "have Google - will research" (oh, well). And it was laughably easy - almost half a million hits for a search string "israel nuclear test". Follow some exciting results, without links for many reasons. Anyone interested can find the source by searching for the text or part of it.
The earthquake that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26, triggering a series of huge waves called tsunami, “was possibly” caused by an Indian nuclear experiment in which “Israeli and American nuclear experts participated,” an Egyptian weekly magazine reported Thursday.
[Seymour] Hersh_revelations_and_allegations: that Israel collaborated with South Africa on a nuclear test over the Indian Ocean in 1979. [Notice that, although Hersch stated the "fact", for some reason Dr. Lowry didn't use this. This is the "Vela incident", frequently referenced in the media.]
Israel has most probably conducted several nuclear bomb tests. They have continued to modernize and vertically proliferate and are now one of the world's larger nuclear powers.
And why should we limit ourselves to tests only? Here are few examples of operational use of Israeli nukes:
Hi Readers.. The gist of this report is that the convicted bombers did indeed detonate a device in Bali at the critical time, which they never denied, however their bomb was a crude home made device that did relatively little damage, the enormous explosion that killed the people and leveled the buildings, was an Israeli "Micro Nuke."
The use of the micro nuke last week in Iraq against Shiite's on their holiest day, I knew was Israeli...
Zionists Nuke The Australian Embassy in Indonesia
And my personal fave:
I think that someone needs to find out if Israel sent [sic!] an underground Nuke. I have a strong feeling that they did this to cause an earthquake in Iran. When I get feelings like this I'm usually right. I don't know how to reach the Iranian Government, but this needs to be investigated.
Mmm... enough? There is so much more where these ones come from that I am afraid I will die of fright if I continue will this stuff for a bit longer.

So, where were we? Yes - you see, dear Dr Lowry, if you have started with using Seymour Hirsch as your personal scientific oracle, you might as well go the whole hog. There is no lack of proof, then, so there...

P.S. In addition to all of the above, I was quite startled by the following: "...after attending a moving ceremony that included speeches from a survivor of the city's atomic immolation, former London mayor Ken Livingstone..." While being an unintentional turn of phrase, it explains quite a lot to fans of the former mayor.

P.P.S. How do you like the title of that letter? Is Enola Gay a Hebrew name or something?

P.P.P.S. Meanwhile, another learned cove, Emeritus professor Norman Dombey, answered the question by Dr Lowry. Not that he added much to the body of knowledge presented in this post, but I feel compelled to quote the following pearl:
A clandestine nuclear test by Israel would have been useful.
From where I stand, this is all the proof one would ever need.

Cross-posted on Yourish.com


jams o donnell said...

I'm surorised you haven'tzoend in on the Vela Incident in 1979!

But as for micronukes, if Mossad was so efficient and had access to such weapons would Hamas or other threats closer to home still exist???

Anonymous said...


SnoopyTheGoon said...

That Seymour Hersch reference was about Vela incident. I should have really mentioned.

no good boyo said...

Lowry, eh? "He made strawmen arguments and strawmen dogs..."

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Vagueness of an academic is an unalienable right of one, like poetic license is an unalienable right of the poet.