Israel’s United Nations ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, accurately described the Islamic Republic of Iran, in her remarks at Yeshiva University last week, as a “convergence of terrible elements,” including aggressive nuclear ambitions, sponsorship of terrorism, and Holocaust denial. Add to this triple threat Iran’s possible involvement in the death of British nuclear expert Timothy Hampton, who was employed by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO.) Hampton, whose specialty was the monitoring of secret nuclear testing, fell mysteriously to his death from the 17th floor of a high security UN building for the CTBTO in Vienna on October 20, 2009.
While local police and UN officials are sticking to the initial police finding that Hampton killed himself, a second autopsy requested by Hampton’s family is reported to show otherwise. Tests utilized by Prof Kathrin Yen, of the Ludwig Institute in Graz, Austria reportedly showed internal bruising caused by strangulation.
Moreover, according to a November 14, 2009 report by WorldNewsDaily, agents for Britain’s MI6 intelligence service are investigating if an Iranian hit squad murdered Hampton, possibly drugging him and then carrying him from his sixth floor office to the 17th floor where he was flung to his death.
What makes this case particularly troublesome is that another UN scientist was said to have committed suicide in Vienna just eleven months prior to Hampton’s death.
But the United Nations still has nothing to say, other than to hold onto the suicide theory. Indeed, from the very inception of this latest tragic incident, the United Nations has done everything it can to distance itself from Hampton and to deny that his work had anything to do with Iran. The fact that Hampton died under mysterious circumstances one day before high-level nuclear disarmament talks with Iran were about to resume in Vienna is nothing more than a coincidence, according to the official UN line.
For its part, the Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization insists that it is a separate organization from that of the International Atomic Energy Agency (“IAEA,”) which organized the Vienna talks with Iran, and that it has never had any role in the Iran discussions. The Commission even put out a press release saying that “media reports linking the dead CTBTO staff member with the Iran talks are baseless and untrue.”
I asked Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s deputy spokesman at the November 16th press briefing at UN headquarters whether anyone from the United Nations was independently investigating the circumstances of Hampton’s death. His answer was no. The UN was relying on the Vienna police, he said. He also disclaimed any awareness of the British intelligence investigation of Iran’s possible role in Hampton’s death. Most disturbingly, the spokesman conveyed the UN’s indifference to what really happened and downplayed the significance of what Hampton was doing by calling him a “data entry specialist.”
You know there is a cover-up underway whenever misleading statements are piled one upon another. It is misleading to say that the CTBTO’s work has nothing to do with Iran. The Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty Organization monitors tremors in nations to uncover illegal nuclear tests. Iran was being monitored. At least two of the monitoring stations were set up in the geographical area of Iran, sending data back to Vienna.
The CTBTO Preparatory Commission has a Relationship Agreement with the United Nations, which allows it to participate in United Nations meetings in the same capacity as the International Atomic Energy Agency. The CTBTO and the IAEA share the same building complex. It stretches credibility for UN and CTBTO officials to claim that CTBTO personnel were in no way involved in the discussions relating to Iran’s nuclear program, which were being held under IAEA auspices in CTBTO’s headquarters city.
It is also misleading to say that Hampton was nothing more than a data entry specialist and leave out the critical part – what data he was dealing with. In fact, Hampton was a nuclear scientist who was responsible for monitoring technical data from hundreds of monitoring stations around the world for the purpose of detecting any illegal nuclear activity.
At the very least, there needs to be an immediate independent investigation concerning whether Hampton had discovered nuclear testing of some sort going on in Iran and was about to report his findings. And was there a working relationship between Hampton and the UN scientist who had died under mysterious circumstances in Vienna eleven months earlier? Hopefully, Britain’s MI6 intelligence service will look into these questions as part of its own investigation.
If Hampton had collected ‘smoking gun data’ on Iranian nuclear testing that would blow Iran’s protestations of peaceful intentions to smithereens, the Iranian Republican Guard or foreign intelligence service would have had every reason to kill him in order to silence him and make his death look like a suicide. And the United Nations bureaucracy, anxious to appease Iran so that it can keep the country at the negotiating table and stay in charge of the process, is reluctant to look too hard into what really happened to Hampton and why.
If it looks and smells like a cover-up, then it most likely is.