|politics & business|
MISSING NUCLEAR WEAPONS +++ EXPERTS SAY 100 ARE OUT THERE +++ NOBODY SEEMS TO BE ALARMED +++ AND FEW SEEM TO CARE +++ THE STORY BEHIND THE STORY
By Sast Report Correspondants
"If you study the [news] ... you will find, very often, that the issues are rarely in the headlines, barely in the leading paragraphs, and sometimes not even mentioned anywhere."
Osama bin Laden recently stated, that he has nuclear and chemical weapons and might use them to respond to U.S. attacks.
"I heard the speech of American President Bush yesterday. He was scaring the European countries that Osama wanted to attack with weapons of mass destruction. I wish to declare that if America used chemical or nuclear weapons against us, then we may retort with chemical and nuclear weapons. We have the weapons as deterrent," he stated.
Also, Osama bin Laden said that terrorism against Americans is justified because of the "massacre of Muslims by their government" in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir and Iraq.
"... We are carrying on the mission of our Prophet, Muhammad, peace be upon him. The mission is to spread the word of God, not to indulge massacring people. We ourselves are the target of killings, destruction and atrocities. We are only defending ourselves. This is defensive Jihad. We want to defend our people and our land. That is why I say that if we don't get security, the Americans, too, would not get security."
"This is a simple formula that even an American child can understand. This is the formula of live and let live." he stated. "If the enemy occupies a Muslim territory and uses common people as a human shield, then it is permitted to attack that enemy."*
TWO BRIEFCASE NUCLEAR WEAPONS IN THE HANDS OF AL QAEDA - FICTION OR FACT?
* * E X C L U S I V E * *
The design of the device is very simple.
The radioactive materials consist of Uranium and Plutonium both kept in separate compartments. At the top of the two compartments is placed the charging mechanism. The charging mechanism can be activated through a timer or even through a cell phone command.
These briefcase nuclear weapons are not the only Russian atomic demolition munitions missing. According to a former Russian general, numerous small suitcase-sized nuclear weapons have disappeared from the inventories.
100 SMALL NUCLEAR WEAPONS FOR COMBAT USE ARE MISSING
AND NOBODY SEEMS TO BE ALARMED
On 1 October 1997, former Russian National Security Adviser Gen. Alexander Lebed, a decorated veteran of the Russian war in Afghanistan, testified before the Congressional Military Research and Development Subcommittee, that perhaps 100 small nuclear devices were missing from inventories under his control. Gen. Lebed, who ran in the 1996 presidential election and finished third, said the devices were a "perfect terrorist weapon," made to look like suitcases, "and could be detonated by one person with less than 30 minutes of preparation," according to documents.
The Russian government immediately tried to discredit the gruff retired paratrooper general's testimony, as a relic of the Cold War. But on 2 October 1997 a prominent Russian weapons scientist and a respected member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Aleksey Yablokov, who was former environmental advisor to President Boris Yeltsin while serving on the Russian National Security Council, testified before the Military Research and Development Subcommittee of the House National Security Committee that he was "absolutely sure" that the Russians produced small nuclear weapons for combat use.
Rep. Weldon also repeatedly voiced his concern about the secrecy the Russians were maintaining in connection with the vast underground complex in the Southern Urals in the region of the Republic of Bashkortostan, Yamantau Mountain (Yamantau Gora), which is assumed to be a military command center, large nuclear facility and/or bunker, located inside a rock quartz mountain. Though the exact dimension and location of the complex is not known, it seems to be situated near the Yuryuzan nuclear production facility and the Yuryuzan national level nuclear weapons storage facility at the closed city of Tryokhgorny (formerly Zlatoust-36) in the region of the Chelyabinsk Oblast. Located nearby is also one of the remaining Russian nuclear weapon laboratories at Snezhinsk. Another closed city, Mezhgorye (thought to have formerly been Beloretsk or Beloretsk-15 and Beloretsk-16), is also located in the Bashkortostan region and supposedly built over the facility. Although the Americans have received various different answers as to what exactly the complex in the Urals is, the Russian Yamantau Mountain complex is generally assumed to be the counterpart of one of the American underground military facilities, Cheyenne Mountain Operations Center (now renamed Cheyenne Mountains Directorate) in Colorado.
In July 2000 a credible source of SAST REPORT affirmed that he knew personally that Russia produced small nuclear weapons for combat use, and that many of them were missing. The source stated that he worked in the department of these smart weapons, and that he knew what he was talking about. He stressed that all of the missing nuclear devices are fully functional, except for one. The source added that he sometimes feels ashamed, ... [inaudible] and that he thinks it is important that it is known to the public.
In August 2001, two hours before a further meeting with this Russian source, the journalists of SAST REPORT were detained in a secret detention center for 18 hours in Innsbruck, Austria. They had to leave all their press items, the equipment and most of their personal belongings. Concerning the source, there's been silence ever since.
"... the Russians can't pay their employees. So some of this very sensitive, very expensive and very dangerous weaponry is being sold for ridiculously small amounts of money," Rep. Shays also warned.
Mr. Shays further stated: "If you asked me if bin Laden really had these weapons, I would say, probably not, but, on the other hand, I wouldn't be the least surprised if there were a nuclear explosion in Israel or the United States."
At about the same time as Congressman Shays was on the radio, Russian General Igor Valynkin, Commander of the 12th Main Directorate, known as the 12th GUMO (Glavnoye Upravleniye Ministerstvo Oborony), the part on Russia's Ministry of Defense that is devoted to nuclear security, told Izvestiya, that "such weapons had in fact existed, but "most" had been eliminated."
"This somewhat cryptic comment was picked up by a number of researchers and widely reported as confirmation that suitcase nuclear weapons were "out there", and that no one really knows where they are," he said.
Mr. Brannon, in November 2006, pointed out that "since then, despite widespread speculation, there is no new information about these weapons. If any of them were missing, they are still missing, and the real mystery to me is why none has surfaced - either as a weapon of mass destruction, or as contraband."
In 2004 Dr.Dr. Nikolai N. Sokov, a senior research associate at CNS, who worked at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Soviet Union and later Russia, and participated in START I and START II negotiations published a follow-on:
Information vital for the assessment of the threat presented by these weapons if they had fallen into the wrong hands has also been confirmed, namely that "nuclear suitcases" have a very short shelf-life and have protection against unauthorized use. The former director of Research Institute No. 4 (the research arm of the Strategic Rocket Forces) General (ret.) Vladimir Dvorkin confirmed that portable nuclear devices were designed in such a way that they could not remain in the ready-to-use status for a long time because certain components had to be periodically replaced by experts (sources quoted in the CNS report mentioned regular maintenance at six-month intervals). In addition to some type of permissive action link (PAL) device, they were also protected against attempts to forcibly remove electronic locks. In the event of such an attempt, the weapon automatically switched into a "non-use" mode and would not explode."****
In the course of the European Security Conference Innsbruck in September 2006, Univ.Prof. Dr. Friedrich Steinhäusler, expert in strategic preparation to terrorist threats and protection of security sensitive materials, told SAST REPORT that according to his information these small nuclear devices are still missing. He also pointed out that these nuclear weapons must be regularly maintained. "Unmaintained they would not be fully functional," Mr. Steinhäusler insisted.
AN INVISIBLE TUG OF INTERESTS
"It is certainly advisable to closely monitor the issue just in case, but there is no reliable evidence to suggest that the threat is imminent or even realistic," he went on.
"A "home-made" portable nuclear device appears unlikely, simply because the technology and the materials that go into it require high technological level. Although terrorists could, theoretically, assemble a crude device, portable ones are a totally different matter," Mr. Sokov added.
Given the fact that any amount of missing nuclear weapons poses a serious potential hazard, it is, to say the least, somewhat astonishing, but in reality highly alarming, that some advisers and experts on international security have not been inclined to answer questions regarding the security threat of missing nuclear devices. The impression arises that they do not seem to find it important or disquieting that the location of special atomic demolition munitions is not known. It is not clear whether it is known to them that these small portable nuclear devices could be missing, and if this in their view is a topic far too sensitive to comment on, if information on this security threat is classified as "sensitive" or if they simply do not care.
David L. Goldwyn had it relayed through Sheila M. Moynihan, executive assistant at Goldwyn International Strategies, that he "will not be responding to the request for information regarding Russia's 'loose nukes'." Mr. Goldwyn served as national security deputy to Ambassador Bill Richardson, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations under former President Bill Clinton.
"The interplay of the press and the politicians is a "vicious circle". Each has its own goals, and the other stands in its way. The potential for destructive behavior on each side is high."
Animosity, incompetence and chaos at the meeting of European Defense Ministers in March 2006 in Innsbruck, Austria: Normally this is a good opportunity to discuss critical or sensitive issues at press conferences since all of the conference participants would most likely be available for comment. Our correspondents were simply banned from attending the meeting by Austria's police authorities under an unacceptable pretext. The authorities, acting utterly irresponsibly, and in a remarkably grotesque way, were not inclined to acknowledge the international press cards, thereby denying the public its right to know what those responsible plan to do in the case of missing weapons of mass destruction. Usually they speak in vague generalities when addressing the issue.
Not surprisingly, the expert on nuclear weapons and arms control recommended by the Chatham House, known as the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Lord Timothy Garden, a former British Assistant Chief of the Defense Staff, has kept very silent on this matter. Mr. Garden, who has advised the British Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Department of Defense on global security issues has not commented on the question of the missing portable nuclear devices when approached by SAST REPORT.
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04 Mar 02 | South Asia
22 Oct 01 | South Asia
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