Syria reactor: ISIS report points to late discovery

ISIS (a nuclear-non proliferation watchdog that has already been much sourced on Ogle Earth) has just released a detailed report on the alleged nuclear reactor site in Syria bombed by Israel in September 2007. If like me you can’t get enough of the way in which civilians have had a front-row seat for seeing the available evidence analysed, then this report is well worth a read.

The report contains an interesting revelation: Unlike previous media reports that the site had been under satellite surveillance since 2001, it now appears that it wasn’t discovered until 2005, and that its purpose was a mystery until 2007, when Israel presented the CIA with evidence we recently saw in the CIA video presentation. Nut graphs:

According to U.S. government experts, U.S. intelligence had determined in 2005 that Syria and North Korea were involved in a project in the province Dayr az Zawr. However, the nature of the cooperation and the location of the site remained unknown. However, suspicions based on earlier obtained information, pointed to some type of nuclear activity taking place in this province.

The 2005 assessment led to an intensified imagery search, which resulted in the discovery of a large unidentified building near the town of Al Kibar. According to a U.S. government expert, it was “odd and in the middle of nowhere,” but analysts could not ascribe the building with a nuclear character, and U.S. intelligence labeled it an “enigma facility.” In the spring of 2007, the building was determined to be the covert nuclear reactor based on photos acquired by U.S. intelligence, reportedly from Israel, that showed the inside and outside of the building. […]

Because of its late detection of the Al Kibar reactor, Israel felt compelled to strike the site militarily.

What’s interesting is that given the late discovery of this building, it would have been entirely possible for a Google Earth user to have found the unusual construction first and annotated it in Google Earth Community, were it not for the fact that Google Earth’s imagery of the region happened to be low resolution until late 2007.