The Age of Deception

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During the lead-up to George W Bush’s Iraq war (the war we were going to get, whether we liked it or not), one man stood out as the sole purveyor of reason and who was prepared to speak that reason, in the face of the American protagonists.  That man was Mohamed ElBaradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Age of Deception (ISBN 978-1-4088-1700-1, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2011) is ElBaradei’s discussions on Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya and more, and gives the reader some ‘real’ facts in the investigations into the likelihood of there being Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) being held by the various regimes.

In fact, some of the documentation linking Saddam Hussein and uranium purchases were forged and this was shown by ElBaradei, but the US and the UK had already chosen their path, and that was war.  ElBaradei was told to pull his inspectors out of Iraq as the war was about to begin.

There can be no doubting that ElBaradei is a moral man where he states, “I cannot read such accounts (of the Iraq war) without reflecting on the thousands of soldiers who have died, the hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians killed, the millions maimed or displaced, the families disrupted, the lives ruined – and I am astonished that there has not been more self-examination, more introspection on the part of the principal players.”

As well as nations that are trying to join the nuclear arms race, there are then the suppliers who can assist these nations acquire the equipment necessary.  The A. Q. Khan network was one of those, with the principal player from India, but with a network all over the globe, including some Pakistani army generals and even the Musharraf government, and Dubai – more than just oil, it would seem.  That is while Pakistan was receiving enormous financial aid from the US.  What a wonderful web politicians can weave.

One very interesting chapter shows America’s attempts to block ElBaradei’s re-election to the position of Director General of the IEAE in 2005, including a smear campaign that had been initiated by the CIA, which included bugging his phones and insinuating he had large amounts of money in Swiss bank accounts.  They failed, and ElBaradei was re-elected.

In a chapter citing double standards ElBaradei touches on the nuclear ambitions of some of the Middle East countries, with behind the scenes duplicity rampant.  It is difficult not to get depressed reading of the machinations, but the words will make you even more interested in what comes next.

On the Bookazine shelves at B. 630, this is an absolutely fascinating book which reads like a detective thriller – but unfortunately it is not fiction.  That deceit is so prevalent, on a subject that has the propensity to destroy the world as we know it, is a frightening situation that we are living with.  The Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty was hoped to be the savior of mankind.  However, with countries such as India, Pakistan and Israel not party to it, and North Korea having withdrawn, you can draw your own conclusions.