AP Punked on Iran by Junk Science Graph (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

Yousaf Butt and Ferenc Dalnoki-Veress write at The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists:

This week the Associated Press reported that unnamed officials “from a country critical of Iran’s nuclear program” leaked an illustration to demonstrate that “Iranian scientists have run computer simulations for a nuclear weapon that would produce more than triple the explosive force of the World War II bomb that destroyed Hiroshima.” The article stated that these officials provided the undated diagram “to bolster their arguments that Iran’s nuclear program must be halted.”

The graphic has not yet been authenticated; however, even if authentic, it would not qualify as proof of a nuclear weapons program. Besides the issue of authenticity, the diagram features quite a massive error, which is unlikely to have been made by research scientists working at a national level.

The image released to the Associated Press shows two curves: one that plots the energy versus time, and another that plots the power output versus time, presumably from a fission device. But these two curves do not correspond: If the energy curve is correct, then the peak power should be much lower — around 300 million ( 3×108) kt per second, instead of the currently stated 17 trillion (1.7 x1013) kt per second. As is, the diagram features a nearly million-fold error.

This diagram does nothing more than indicate either slipshod analysis or an amateurish hoax.

Read the whole thing

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9 Responses

  1. Shades of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion – it doesn’t have to be accurate, just throw the mud.

  2. What is good about this is accountability forced by increased transparency and the resulting embarrassment. It means that the AP will be forced to check its sources more carefully, as indeed, everyone is who uses the internet and media, because it is increasingly easy to call out lies immediately, therefore leaving the misinformed, uninformed, or punked looking stupid and ignorant. I recently unknowingly spread phony pictures of Hurricane Sandy, causing me to become more vigilant. This increase in accountability and self-monitoring at all levels is a very, very healthy under-reported movement for politics and humanity.

  3. This diagram provided by an unnamed official “from a country critical of Iran’s nuclear program” is as crude as Netanyahu’s comic bomb cartoon used in his UN speech and as reliable as “yellow cake from Niger”. It really shows how desperate they are getting to fabricate something incriminating Iran in the face of overwhelming evidence, no less by the IAEA, the US intelligence NIE, and even former Israeli MOSSAD leaders that there is absolutely no sign of the diversion of Iran’s enrichment program towards military purposes. This time the world should not fooled by such lies, but of course meanwhile they have achieved their purpose as Iranian people are suffering under the most stringent sanctions ever devised, affecting their banks, imports and exports and even resulting in the shortage of medicine, and there is no sign of a rethink in US policies after the election.

  4. Another view, with links to some of George Jahn’s greatest hits.

    “The AP’s George Jahn serves up Israeli propaganda on Iran yet again”
    By Nima Shirazi on November 28, 2012

    In order to corroborate the scariness of Israel’s bogus graph in his latest scooperino, Jahn, who has long been a go-to source for pathetic fearmongering about Iran, turned to – who else? – perennial nuclear alarmist David Albright and consummate hysteric Olli Heinonen, both of whom have extensive histories of freaking out about nothing at all. link to mondoweiss.net

  5. Another Greenwald article on the hoax.

    The AP should out who planted this hoax in a major newspaper. And the AP needs a full accounting of it.

    That a major news organization does this is really bad.

    What country? What source?

    Glenn ends the article that says that if those who would have the world believe that Iran is working on a bomb have to rely on such an incompetent hoax, there must be little real evidence.

    link to guardian.co.uk

  6. This “news” was, as could be predicted, trumpeted loudly by Fox, and was followed up by an interview with John Bolton, with his big honking “I-told-you-so”. Even discredited I’d rate this piece a success in term of it’s intent as dis-information.

  7. It has had its intended effect. The story is out there. Many may not remember exactly where they saw it but recall that computer files indicated nuclear testing. Another reason in the back of the minds of the electorate to fear and hate Iran. And no one will ever suffer any consequences for creating this. Sunday talk show guests will reference the stories and no one will contradict them except some left wing blogs that most pay no attention to.

  8. The authors claim that “If the energy curve is correct, then the peak power should be much lower — around 300 million ( 3×10^8) kt per second, instead of the currently stated 17 trillion (1.7 x10^13) kt per second. As is, the diagram features a nearly million-fold error.” But 17 trillion divided by 300 million is about 57000, not a million; it’s a 60000-fold error not a million-fold one. But that doesn’t change the overall conclusions of the article.

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