سازمان های غیردولتی به عنوان آژانس های اطلاعاتی: توانمند سازی شبکه های حمایت فراملیتی و رسانه ها بوسیله سنجش از راه دور تجاری در مورد برنامه هسته ای ایران
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Geoforum, Volume 40, Issue 4, July 2009, Pages 514–522
In December 2002 the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), a Washington-based nongovernmental organization, announced that it had found two previously undisclosed nuclear facilities in Iran. Using information provided by a dissident group called the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), ISIS was able to pinpoint the two suspect sites by using general geographic descriptions provided by NCRI to find more precise mapping coordinates. Using these coordinates as guides, ISIS purchased commercial high-resolution remote sensing satellite images from DigitalGlobe, a leading imaging data provider. Next, working with the news network CNN, ISIS announced its findings to a global television audience on December 12, 2002, some three months before the US invasion of neighboring Iraq. ISIS’s disclosure forced the Bush administration to acknowledge the Iranian nuclear enrichment program, something it had been aware of but kept secret for over a year. It may have also forced Iran to allow international inspectors into the two sites the following February, something it had previously refused to do. ISIS’s disclosure brought an end to a policy of willful public silence about the nuclear enrichment programs in Iran by both the Bush administration and the government of Iran. Bringing a political communication perspective to geography studies, these events are used to illustrate the way new technologies may empower transnational advocacy networks and media while challenging state control of information.
Surveys of contemporary political and military geography note the rapidly changing global environment scholars must make sense of theoretically (Gaile and Willmott, 2006). In addition to an ongoing discipline-wide effort to find linkages across the wide spectrum of subfields (Sluyter et al., 2006), however, this paper argues that political and military geography would benefit from an interdisciplinary voyage across scholarly boundaries to the field of political communication. This is because in many cases answering the questions being raised by both political and military geography is greatly aided in the 21st Century by understanding the role of media in a variety of policy and security contexts. With this in mind, this paper serves as an introduction from two political communication scholars whose research focuses on foreign affairs, and uses a recent case study to demonstrate the utility of thinking about media in theorizing about political and military geography. To be clear, we are not claiming that these subfields, or geographers in general, have never discussed media since clearly this is not the case (see, e.g., Crang, 1999 and Morley and Robins, 1995). Rather, we are expanding on these efforts by showing how political communication – itself a subfield of both communication and political science – can inform geography. At the same time, the present case study leads to a rethinking of some assumptions and debates within political communication itself. The argument presented here is this: new technologies, and specifically commercial remote sensing devices, have imbued transnational advocacy organizations with important new epistemic powers vis a vis nation states, in particular by strengthening their position as sources for the independent media they need to advance their agenda and disseminate their messages and information. We thus draw from and expand upon a variety of literatures in geography and related social sciences that in varying ways shows that technology, particularly the Internet but also advances in commercial remote sensing, puts pressure on states by providing opportunities for critics, including transnational advocacy networks, to get their message out, have their message amplified, and reach more “bystanders,” to use Schattschneider’s (1960) term. Our theory proceeds from two strains of political communication theory. The first involves the consistent finding of sociologists, political scientists, and communication scholars that the American news media tend to be far less autonomous vis a vis the government in the foreign policy domain than they are when it comes to domestic politics (cf. Entman, 2004). In particular, the White House has a privileged role in framing matters of war and foreign affairs, followed by Congressional actors ( Bennett, 1990 and Bennett et al., 2007). As a result, the range of opinions and parameters of discussion as reflected in the press on these issues tends to be quite constrained, institutionally-based, and elite-driven (Sparrow, 2006). More generally, news routines and the journalist beat system (assigning reporters to government institutions such as the White House, the police department, Congress, etc.) encourages reporters to be overly dependent on officials, and this tendency is exacerbated in foreign affairs news where a lack of expertise, readily-available alternative sources, economic realities (e.g., the decline in foreign bureaus and correspondents), and cultural issues (e.g., patriotism/jingoism, especially during wartime) are evident (Sigal, 1973). This raises a critical question for understanding the contemporary role of media, states, non-state actors, and policy: How can news organizations witness events directly and overcome their lack of access to information, except when officials make it available? Hence, media (and by extension publics) are weak in relation to government for the simple reason that it is difficult for them to verify information with their own eyes, a problem only made worse by financial cuts in foreign reporting. Reporters thus are dependent on officials, making it difficult for them to perform any sort of accountability function. Or at least this is the dominant view of political communication scholars (and many in other disciplines, for that matter). Indeed, in general, it is certainly an accurate description of the overall state–media relationship in foreign affairs. Yet at the same time, this paper draws attention to important caveats to this perspective, which operates from an anachronistic understanding of the changing role of the nation–state in the contemporary world system. Namely, it fails to take into account globalization of media and the emergence of transnational nongovernmental organizations. Furthermore, technological advances in newsgathering and information dissemination more generally have created the greater potential (not always realized) for events, interest groups, and even journalists themselves to occasionally wrest control of the news agenda from the state (Entman, 2004, Lawrence, 2000, Livingston and Van Belle, 2005, Livingston and Bennett, 2003, Bennett and Livingston, 2003, Livingston, 2003 and Livingston and Robinson, 2003). Since the end of the Cold War in 1989, non-state actors, including mega-corporations and nongovernmental organizations, have taken on a growing importance in international affairs. Greater global interdependence and the nature of global challenges mean the state is not necessarily the best source of information or the most likely catalyst of policy change and stability. Advances in information technology coupled with the growth and sophistication of nongovernmental organizations, have further altered the relationship between states and non-state actors. To date, while political communication theory regarding state–media relations has done an inadequate job of accommodating these changes, geographers have shown greater interest in understanding how new technologies alter the field’s theoretical assumptions about the primacy of the state (Morley and Robins, 1995 and Toal and Shelley, 2006). Henry et al. (2004) explore these dynamics in their rethinking of networks and epistemic communities, which they argue thrive in conditions of conflict and are largely autonomous from policy makers. Several scholars have shown how opposition networks and coalitions can use technology to challenge the dominance of the state over the information environment (e.g., Yanacopulos, 2005). The Internet, in particular, has been shown to be especially useful in empowering critics of the state to both evade more traditional media structures more susceptible to its control, and to reach a broad audience (Castells, 1996 and Pickerill and Webster, 2006), though this potential is often limited by infrastructure challenges in poorer countries (Warf and Vincent, 2007). Clark and Themudo (2006), for instance, argue that “dotcauses,” Internet-based networks, are important structures of mobilization for the globalization protest movement, and that policymakers have difficulty reacting to and controlling an information environment influenced by the resulting rapidly dispersing organization. This paper shows how commercial remote sensing technology may similarly play a role in altering the power dynamic between state and non-state actors, specifically transnational advocacy networks (TANs). This technology allows TANs to overcome the problem of political “scale” differentials (Adams, 1996 and Jonas, 1994). Jonas (1994), for instance, shows how protest organizations that can take advantage of resources at one scale to overcome the state’s control of resources at another scale are in a better strategic position than those who work within environments dominated by the state. In other words, if one adopts Herman and Chomsky’s (1988) propaganda model of media and its argument that the corporate, profit-driven, and elite-dependent mainstream press will never provide room for a serious critique of the status quo, Jonas shows that utilizing technology outside the corporate media may simultaneously empower critics and weaken state hegemony. Adams (1996) is particularly useful in thinking about how commercial remote sensing may act as just the kind of scale-jumping technology Jonas describes. His study of the use of telecommunications in the early American Civil Rights Movement, the late 1980s anti-Marcos protests in the Philippines, and the pro-democracy protests in China in 1989 shows that while technology may not ultimately lead to “victory” for the protest organization, it at least expands the number of bystanders bearing witness to the message of state critics. His study also points to the potential power of information technology to alter the information environment in a way that at least keeps the state off balance and may, as in the case of the Civil Rights Movement, ultimately lead to some fundamental change. As others have noted (Geoghegan et al., 1988 and Wright et al., 1997) various global information systems including commercial remote sensing technology can provide just such an avenue for oppositional voices to not only be heard, but perhaps even force the state to adapt, bend, or reverse course entirely. We expand on this line of research by not only providing a case study of how commercial remote sensing was used to force the United States to engage publicly on an issue it preferred to keep quiet, but specifically how the technology may especially empower TANs to perform this function, and how they can do so through the mainstream media. Thus, one important implication of our research is the idea that commercial remote sensing’s scale-jumping properties not only empower TANs, but can do so through a media which many scholars in a variety of domains – including geography and political communication – assume is intrinsically incapable of being a platform for fundamental critique of the state (Bagdikian, 1990, Herman and Chomsky, 1988, McChesney, 1999, Gitlin, 1980 and Gitlin, 1987). In this way, this relatively new technology can also be thought of as empowering mainstream media to perform their watchdog role more vigorously. 1.1. TANs and the press As we have written elsewhere (Aday and Livingston, 2008), an important way in which political communication research can address globalization is to address and theorize about the increasing role of transnational advocacy networks in affecting foreign policy and security issues. Indeed, some have referred to the state’s decreasing ability to dominate the policy arena as “neo-medievalism” (Bull, 1977). This opens the door for important changes in the power dynamic between states and non-state actors. This takes us to our second line of inquiry. Transnational advocacy networks (TANs) consist of non-state actors who operate along side and often in conjunction with – but also sometimes in opposition to – state actors. TANs take a variety of forms, ranging from economic actors and firms to scientists from disparate backgrounds but sharing common goals (Keck and Sikkink, 1998). Critically, they employ a diverse array of media platforms to develop and distribute information globally. As the leading scholars of TANs point out, these non-state actors can wield significant power because they can overcome the “deliberate suppression of information that sustains many abuses of power.” They can also “help reframe international and domestic debates, changing their terms, their sites, and the configuration of participants. When they succeed, advocacy networks are among the most important sources of new ideas, norms, and identities in the international system” (Keck and Sikkink, 1998, p. 10). At the moment, the scholarly consensus seems to be that transnational advocacy networks are strong and quite capable of achieving a diverse array of goals (Shmitz, 2006). Indeed, it would seem that they do many of the things US media fail to do, at least in the eyes of many political communication scholars. Networks are robust and active while research shows many mainstream media organizations are often supine and passive. Networks generate new information, whereas media frequently fall into a habit of providing an uncritical platform for government’s rehearsed platitudes. Transnational advocacy networks are powerful and transformative in their abilities to raise and shape political discourse, even when it is at odds with statist discourse, whereas the bulk of political communication scholarship shows media privilege statist discourse. How could transnational advocacy networks be so robust while the media in one of the world’s leading democracies is typically so bounded by passivity? This question seems all the more interesting when we consider the role and significance the advocacy networks literature gives media. Although rarely discussed in a sustained manner, advocacy network theorists assume a strong media. They also seem to agree that media coverage carries clear and significant political effects. Indeed, at times it would appear that scholars working in advocacy network theory regard media coverage itself to be a significant political achievement. This raises a conundrum for scholars: How do we reconcile the expectations and assumptions that international relations theorists assign to the media with the limited expectations state–media theorists in political communication assign to them? To solve this problem, we take a somewhat novel approach: rather than simply looking at the distribution of information through various networks, we examine the production of that information. Although others have touched on this approach,1 we extend the argument to include the press. We argue that media themselves are constituent elements in a particular kind of advocacy network known as an epistemic community. Epistemic communities are networked advocates processing particular expertise. We consider how transnational advocacy networks and epistemic communities (we use the terms interchangeably) serve as authoritative sources of information that is outside statist discourse. The availability of technically sophisticated information in the hands of epistemic communities has not been adequately accounted for in any of the theoretical literatures discussed in this article – geography, political communication, or international relations. These technologies include the Internet (the most studied of the new technologies), wireless multifunctional telephony (Livingston, 2008), mid-to-low Earth orbit satellite communication, and commercial, high-resolution remote sensing. This paper focuses on this last technologically development ( Livingston and Robinson, 2003 and Livingston, 2001). The study of commercial, high-resolution remote sensing satellites (with the accompanying supporting technologies such as GIS software and high bandwidth computing) is particularly relevant to geographers. In their review of the state of the political geography field, for example, Toal and Shelley discuss “revolutions in the mode of information” in the 21st century, notably the rise of 24-h cable channels and the Internet (Toal and Shelley, 2006, pp. 164–184). As we will see, both become important factors in the revelation of Iranian nuclear facilities in 2002, but this is precisely because of the ability of a TAN to utilize high-resolution remote sensing satellites. These technologies thus empower TANs in unprecedented ways. We consider how commercial remote sensing and related technologies enhance nongovernmental epistemic capacity and, by extension, greater media autonomy in reporting some aspects of international security and intelligence functions. We do this by utilizing a multi-methodological approach that employs content analysis, case-study analysis, and elite interviews. Our focus is on the revelation in 2002 of the site for a suspected Iranian nuclear facility. Finally, in analyzing the production of information, we go beyond the typical method of much political communication scholarship in this area, content analysis. Certainly we are interested in media content, but traditional content analysis would fail to capture the complex dynamic at play in this case study. Indeed, it would have produced erroneous results. Consider that a thin reading of CNN correspondent David Ensor’s story on the Iranian nuclear facilities leads one to presume the reporter’s sources were government officials, just as many political communication scholars would expect. Wolf Blitzer introduced Ensor’s December 12, 2002 report in the urgent tones of a breaking story: BLITZER (voice over): Breaking news now, secret nuclear plants in Iran. DAVID ALBRIGHT, ISIS: I’m very worried that these facilities are so large and so far advanced and no international inspectors have yet visited them to see what’s going on. DAVID ENSOR, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT: Well, Wolf, there have long been allegations from, among others, Iranian dissidents that Iran might have a secret nuclear weapons program. But now there is evidence we are being told by senior US officials that is causing them real concern that such a plan might be in the offing. Ensor attributed his story to “senior US officials,” even though as we will show, we know that it was Albright and Hinderstein who took the story to Ensor. Although Albright makes a supportive appearance, he is not identified as the original source of the story. Without an understanding of the development of the story one would conclude from a simple reading of the transcript that US officials were responsible for providing Ensor with the story. We will return to Ensor’s story below. 1.2. ISIS and the Iranian nuclear facilities There are at least two early cases, both before the development of commercial high-resolution satellite imagery in the late-1990s, of nongovernmental organizations using available commercial satellite imagery to search for nuclear reactor test activity. In 1986, Space Media Network, an NGO based in Sweden, located a Soviet test site in Kazakhstan using relatively low-resolution SPOT satellite images. Then in 1992, using Landsat images, the Verification Technology Information Center spotted a Chinese test site near Lop Nor (Gupta and Pabian, 1998). As Vipin Gupta and Frank Pabian noted in their prescient 1998 article describing these early examples of nongovernmental organization use of commercial remote sensing, These two cases demonstrate that companies, non-governmental organizations, and the news media could use overhead imagery to play a more proactive role in CTBT (Commercial Test Ban Treaty) verification. Non-governmental institutions could use commercial satellite images to collect information on suspect sites that previously could only be learned from government sources. As a result, these institutions could initiate an investigation and conduct the information collection, analysis, and dissemination without relying primarily on information from official inquiries (p. 94). Gupta and Pabian’s vision was fully realized a year later when Space Imaging launched the one-meter resolution Ikonos satellite.2 Few nongovernmental organizations have taken greater advantage of the new availability of high-resolution imaging than the Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS). David Albright, a physicist who once served as a weapons inspector in Iraq, founded ISIS in 1993. According to its website, ISIS offers “technical assessments of proliferant-state efforts to get nuclear weapons.” Furthermore, it profiles itself as an international advocacy organization, not rooted in the United States alone, and with a broad range of government and nongovernmental officials and interests. “It (ISIS) has worked regularly in the US and abroad to unite government officials, independent experts, scientists, and the public in efforts to find credible strategies to solve US, regional, and global security problems.” It is dedicated to the creation and publicizing of information. “Throughout its history, ISIS has maintained a commitment to the wide dissemination of its major findings.”3 The objective is to “build a sound foundation for a wide variety of efforts to reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons to US and international security.”4 We will see that in-house technical expertise at ISIS, in consultation with an international network of experts, empowered by high-resolution remote sensing satellites, enabled ISIS to identify, verify, and reveal the Iranian nuclear efforts and, perhaps, alter Iran’s policy trajectory concerning inspections by the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). We will first describe how ISIS uncovered the existence of the nuclear sites at Arak and Natanz, Iran. 1.3. Arak and Natanz revealed Speculation about Iran’s development of a nuclear fuel processing capacity was common among nonproliferation experts throughout 2002. If true, such a program raised perplexing questions. Why would Iran develop a uranium enrichment plant, given Russia’s program of providing low enriched uranium fuel to the Bushehr power reactor? Why should an oil-rich country require nuclear production capabilities at all? Answers to these and other questions were not forthcoming. In fact, Iran repeatedly turned away inspectors from the IAEA, including a schedule inspection in November 2002. This pattern of behavior was particularly vexing to David Albright at ISIS. Yet as much as ISIS wanted to focus attention on Iran’s potential fuel enrichment program in early 2002, limited staff and other pressing needs made doing so difficult. “We were so busy with other priorities,” said Albright, “Iraq being one of them, we did not have time to look into it. So we put it on the backburner.”5 A lack of information offered another difficult obstacle. Where was ISIS to look for evidence of a clandestine Iranian nuclear program? Working with contacts in the US and Israel, at one point Albright asked Israeli military intelligence to help verify the existence of the program and assist in locating the facilities. According to Corey Hinderstein, chief of staff at ISIS in 2002, “David has long relations with lots of people in Israel. Israel has a clear concern about Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.”6 Although he believes his Israeli sources knew where to look for the Iranian sites, they refused to help ISIS locate them. Albright was also convinced that the US intelligence community knew the location of the sites, but “we did not trust US intelligence.” Albright spoke of the political pressure the Bush administration put on intelligence analysts to provide estimates that were supportive of administration policies. At any rate, US officials were not interested in sharing the information. Indeed, John Bolton, who at the time served as Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, made clear in an interview five years later that the United States preferred to keep this information secret in part because they did not trust other states, notably France and Germany, nor the International Atomic Energy Agency.7 Without Israel’s assistance and without the US intelligence community, Albright put the matter on temporary hold. On August 14, Iranian dissident Alireza Jafarzadeh held a press conference that offered Albright and his colleagues an opportunity to find Iran’s undisclosed enrichment program. Jafarzadeh was the Washington representative for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), according to the State Department, an organization with ties to terrorism. At the press conference, Jafarzadeh offered information about what he said were two previously undisclosed Iranian nuclear sites. Citing Iranian government officials, apparently working secretly for NCRI, he described the locations of both unconfirmed nuclear sites; he also gave the names of the construction companies building the facilities, the names and addresses of the front organizations used to hide the true nature of the facilities, and he even provided the names of the project managers for both sites. Jafarzadeh claimed several allies in his efforts. “We have been working closely with different agencies and bodies, organizations of the United Nations, emphasizing on the need to contain this very, very serious threat of the Iranian regime.”8 Jafarzadeh was signaling participation by a wider network of official sources and contacts. There is no way of knowing whether any of his claims regarding collaboration with UN agencies and “different agencies and bodies” were true. Both Albright and Hinderstein dismiss the possibility that NCRI was benefiting from US intelligence leaks. Is there a basis for a contrarian’s view? In hindsight we know that there was considerable internal dissent among professionals within the intelligence community concerning the administration’s fixation on Iraq (see Pillar, 2006). It seems feasible that dissenting intelligence analysts used NCRI – and, eventually, ISIS – to publicize the threat posed by Iran at the time when the Bush administration was highlighting intelligence that bolstered claims concerning threats posed by Iraq. Is it possible that ISIS and NCRI served as conduits for an internal US government policy dispute? This is important to consider. If ISIS and NCRI were used by government sources to air policy disputes, the best theoretical explanation would be found in the conventional literature in state-media relations. The government was yet again feeding the press, this time through ISIS and NCRI. More importantly, ISIS and other elements of its advocacy network could not be seen as strong, robust and a source of independent information. To Albright, it seems highly unlikely that NCRI would find itself on the receiving end of intelligence leaked from an American intelligence agency. For starters, US intelligence analysts would not use an Iranian dissident group designated as a terrorist organization to air dissenting opinions. It would be too risky. Instead, they would go to other venues, principally news media. Even ISIS, a mainstream, respected advocacy organization, is not a conduit for airing internal debates. Albright told us that ISIS rarely benefits from direct leaks from the intelligence community. “We are not used for leaks very often because we can ask tough questions. So officials with leaks do not come to us very often. They go to the news media because they can steer the conversation with journalists. But what they [the government leakers] do not realize is that the news media will then come to us. We can then help them with the story.” Albright also took stories to the news media. We’ll come back to this last point in a minute. For now, it seems highly unlikely that NCRI was a conduit for US government generated intelligence. What about NCRI’s original claims: that it received its information from Iranian government sources? While this is possible, Hinderstein believes Jafarzadeh got his information from sources involved in the construction of the facilities. The information, including the mistakes made in Jafarzadeh’s initial claims, is consistent with the sort of knowledge that construction and engineering personnel would have. For example, NCRI was correct about the heavy water plant at Arak but they misunderstood the nature of the facility at Natanz. Heavy water plants are quite distinct in their design and engineering specifications. That is less true of other sorts of facilities used in enrichment processes. This, Hinderstein believes, accounts for the errors in NCRI’s account of the facilities and their purposes. Let’s return for a moment to the point Albright made earlier: “What they (the government leakers) do not realize is that the news media will then come to us. We can then help them with the story.” We believe this quote captures a key aspect of the relationship among advocacy organizations such as ISIS, the intelligence community, and the news media. They are all elements of what Haas (1997) calls epistemic communities. Put another way, we think this characterizes the nature of the epistemic community and the advocacy network involved in nuclear nonproliferation work in the early years of the 21st Century. Information is shared, but not directly or in a way befitting a Hollywood plotline. It does not involve dead-drops at mailboxes in leafy Washington suburbs. Instead, an incremental accumulation of painstaking fact checking of data points and verification of independently derived conclusions best characterizes the new roles for transnational activists and news media. We develop this argument in the balance of this paper. 1.4. ISIS responds to NCRI’s claims Although she did not attend the NCRI news conference, Hinderstein saw wire service reports about an Iranian dissident group claiming to know the location of two nuclear sites in central Iran. She also received several telephone calls from journalists and others asking her to comment on the group’s claims. “Corey saw this, said Albright, “and decided to find the sites.” One of her first steps was to hire a Farsi translator and go to the Geography and Map Library at the Library of Congress. She wanted to scrutinize the locations described by Jafarzadeh at the press conference. After pinpointing the geographical coordinates for both alleged nuclear sites, she then went to the DigitalGlobe image archive to look for satellite images that might possibly shed light on NCRI’s claims. DigitalGlobe operates the QuickBird remote sensing satellite. With panchromatic resolution of 60-centimeter at nadir, QuickBird offers the most detailed imagery available in the commercial domain. It is also able to geolocate features to within 23 m without the use of ground control points (precisely known locations used as starting points in locating and mapping terrain captured in an image). As an open source imaging solution, QuickBird offered Hinderstein what she needed to verify NCRI’s claims. When she turned to the DigitalGlobe archive Hinderstein found that a previous DigitalGlobe customer(s) had already acquired precisely determined images of both the Arak and Natanz sites. It is important to be clear on this point. Hinderstein was not acquiring new imagery from DigitalGlobe; instead, armed with coordinates obtained from her review of maps at the Library of Congress, Hinderstein reviewed existing images of those coordinates found in the DigitalGlobe archive. The archive provided her with both the necessary images needed for her own analysis of the alleged nuclear sites and an additional confirmation that she was on the right track when looking at the locations identified by NCRI in its press conference. Rather than broad swaths of terrain, Hinderstein found archival evidence of image acquisitions of tightly configured geographical locations centering on the same coordinates she had identified at the Library of Congress using NCRI descriptions. “Someone,” Hinderstein said, “knew exactly where to look for the sites.” The precision found in the extant acquisitions was itself a clue. “This is the sort of information that only the International Atomic Energy Agency or the United States government would have,” Hinderstein told us. The hits in the archive, Hinderstein continued, would not have come from NGOs.9 The precision and concentration of satellite image acquisitions of both Natanz and Arak suggested that US intelligence agencies and the International Atomic Energy Agency knew of the existence of the two undisclosed sites and used commercial satellite imagery to track their development.10 After acquiring images of the Arak and Natanz sites, Albright and Hinderstein turned to the difficult task of analyzing the images. There was no margin for error. It was crucial to the integrity and credibility of NGO involvement in nuclear nonproliferation efforts that they not make mistakes. “We could not afford to make a mistake. We needed to be sure,” said Hinderstein. Concern for the reputation of ISIS and the role of nongovernmental organizations in nuclear nonproliferation issues informed and motivated the substance and style of their actions. “We needed to get this right,” said Hinderstein. In independent interviews both Albright and Hinderstein described how a collaborative international network of experts assisted them in their efforts to avoid mistakes in their otherwise independent analysis. Is this the correct site? Are these buildings what we say they are? Is the function of this facility what we are saying it is? Although collaboration with others in a network might on occasion result in groundbreaking new information, such as happened with NCRI, collaboration most often seems to involve either the confirmation or confutation of independently determined findings.11 As David Albright noted, “We would go to Vienna (home of the IAEA) and say, ‘This is what I’m seeing. Does this conform to what you are seeing?’” He continued, “They would steer us clear of mistakes in our analysis.” Albright and Hinderstein tapped into a network of analysts – an epistemic community that in this case consisted of people and organizations that were all working toward the same goal: discovering the truth about Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. This includes analysts in supranational organizations such as the IAEA, analysts in the NGO community, and various government intelligence agencies. US government analysts were involved, but not as dominant sources of cherry-picked information. “It is more of a two-way street,” said Albright. We share with the intelligence community; they sometimes share with us.” Albright said ISIS has relationships with intelligence agencies around the world, including Japan and Germany. According to Hinderstein, “David is everywhere.” By this she meant that he has contacts all over the world. Contacts constitute the fuel that runs transnational advocacy networks. Hinderstein, who now works at the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an NGO headed by former Senator Sam Nunn, has her own network of well-placed contacts. She pointed out that one of her regular co-authors early in her career was Frank Pabian, now with Los Alamos National Laboratories in New Mexico (Albright et al., 1999 and Hinderstein and Pabian (XXXX)).12 As of 2004, Pabian was the project leader for “Rest-of-World” Nuclear Nonproliferation Infrastructure Analysis at Los Alamos. One of Pabian’s last disclosed Internet presence was in 2004 when Los Alamos National Laboratory’s public affairs office posted a description of a talk given by him entitled “Concealment and Deception in Iran: A Pattern for Peaceful Intent?” With images provided “courtesy of DigitalGlobe Quickbird commercial satellite image,” Pabian’s talk “laid out a pattern of behaviors in Iran that international inspectors have found disturbing, at best. And thanks to remarkable satellite imagery available publicly over the Internet, Pabian was able to provide a stirring, illustrated narrative of the continuing evolution of nuclear technology in Iran.”13 Frank Pabian, Corey Hinderstein’s friend and co-author on past projects, is the sort of contact in the intelligence community to whom she would turn to confirm her own independent analysis. Working with professional contacts around the world – a transnational advocacy network, Hinderstein and Albright sought confirmation of their findings. Both were careful to not reveal too many details about their network of contacts at the IAEA and in various intelligence agencies around the world. When asked who she reached out to verify her conclusions about the accuracy of her conclusions about the Iranian program she said only that they were “the sorts of people one finds in Vienna and Washington,” meaning the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency and the intelligence community in Washington. Her sources would not necessarily tell her things she had not figured out independently, but would rather only warn her off erroneous interpretations. Warning off mistakes and confirming findings independently derived was the principal method of interaction among elements of the epistemic community assembled around Iran’s nuclear program. One key member of Albright and Hinderstein’s epistemic community was a member of the news media, David Ensor at CNN. As we will see, media are at times more than conduits of information produced by others: they are at times key elements in the verification of discoveries and claims made outside of state discourse. We turn to this point next.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We offer the present case study as an example of how political communication research can address some of the same questions raised by geographers in recent years, while at the same time modifying some of the dominant theories in our own field. Both fields – political communication and geography – have increasingly been thinking through the ways in which existing theories can accommodate globalization, new technologies such as remote sensing, and the resulting change in the power dynamic between state and non-state actors. We would add that political communication’s central focus on media’s role in these processes can be particularly beneficial to political and military geographers. For political communication scholarship, Entman’s (2004) model of state-media relations that details the circumstances for counter-framing by, among others, non-state actors, allows for the inclusion of transnational advocacy networks such as ISIS. It can also accommodate the notion that a more robust media, media that are empowered by both new technologies (such as high-resolution remote sensing satellites) and by their participation in the activities of epistemic communities, are or can be independent of government dominance, at least on some types of issues. We believe the present case study demonstrates that in those instances when a robust transnational advocacy network exists in general, and more specifically when an epistemic community or communities exist and concern themselves with highly technical but transparent knowledge, media may be freed from some of the institutional constraints political communication scholars have found to dominate reporting. In a global context, this is not just true for American media, but journalism around the world, potentially even in more closed media systems. Universities, NGOs, advocacy organizations such as ISIS, and individual members of states around the world generate important information about climate change, human rights (including human rights forensics), and nuclear nonproliferation. Nongovernmental sources of information have been empowered by increased sophistication and power of computers, the Internet, and new ways of seeing, such as commercial remote sensing. Media around the globe can and do turn to these alternative sources of information, and in the process participate in the production of information. In the process, political power shifts favor nongovernmental organizations. These are issues of mutual interest to political communication scholars and to geographers.