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Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb


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'Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb'

Al-Qaida is on the verge of producing radioactive weapons after sourcing nuclear material and recruiting rogue scientists to build "dirty" bombs, according to leaked diplomatic documents.

A leading atomic regulator has privately warned that the world stands on the brink of a "nuclear 9/11".

Security briefings suggest that jihadi groups are also close to producing "workable and efficient" biological and chemical weapons that could kill thousands if unleashed in attacks on the West.

Thousands of classified American cables obtained by the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph detail the international struggle to stop the spread of weapons-grade nuclear, chemical and biological material around the globe.

At a Nato meeting in January 2009, security chiefs briefed member states that al-Qaida was plotting a program of "dirty radioactive IEDs", makeshift nuclear roadside bombs that could be used against British troops in Afghanistan.

As well as causing a large explosion, a "dirty bomb" attack would contaminate the area for many years.

The briefings also state that al-Qaida documents found in Afghanistan in 2007 revealed that "greater advances" had been made in bioterrorism than was previously realized. An Indian national security adviser told American security personnel in June 2008 that terrorists had made a "manifest attempt to get fissile material" and "have the technical competence to manufacture an explosive device beyond a mere dirty bomb".

Alerts about the smuggling of nuclear material, sent to Washington from foreign U.S. embassies, document how criminal and terrorist gangs were trafficking large amounts of highly radioactive material across Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

The alerts explain how customs guards at remote border crossings used radiation alarms to identify and seize cargoes of uranium and plutonium.

Freight trains were found to be carrying weapons-grade nuclear material across the Kazakhstan-Russia border, highly enriched uranium was transported across Uganda by bus, and a "small time hustler" in Lisbon offered to sell radioactive plates stolen from Chernobyl.

In one incident in September 2009, two employees at the Rossing Uranium Mine in Namibia smuggled almost half a ton of uranium concentrate powder - yellowcake - out of the compound in plastic bags.

"Acute safety and security concerns" were even raised in 2008 about the uranium and plutonium laboratory of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear safety watchdog.

Tomihiro Taniguchi, the deputy director general of the IAEA, has privately warned America that the world faces the threat of a "nuclear 9/11" if stores of uranium and plutonium were not secured against terrorists.

But diplomats visiting the IAEA's Austrian headquarters in April 2008 said that there was "no way to provide perimeter security" to its own laboratory because it has windows that leave it vulnerable to break-ins.

Senior British defence officials have raised "deep concerns" that a rogue scientist in the Pakistani nuclear program "could gradually smuggle enough material out to make a weapon", according to a document detailing official talks in London in February 2009.

Agricultural stores of deadly biological pathogens in Pakistan are also vulnerable to "extremists" who could use supplies of anthrax, foot and mouth disease and avian flu to develop lethal biological weapons.

Anthrax and other biological agents including smallpox, and avian flu could be sprayed from a shop-bought aerosol can in a crowded area, leaked security briefings warn.

The security of the world's only two declared smallpox stores in Atlanta, America, and Novosibirsk, Russia, has repeatedly been called into doubt by "a growing chorus of voices" at meetings of the World Health Assembly documented in the leaked cables.

The alarming disclosures come after Barack Obama, the U.S. president, last year declared nuclear terrorism "the single biggest threat" to international security with the potential to cause "extraordinary loss of life".

                                      (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)

Obviously Al-Qaida getting a hold of these weapons would be horrible but there have been reports like this since 9/11.
jeffb said:
......there have been reports like this since 9/11.
Even before; the 1999 CSIS document, "Trends in Terrorism" notes that a nuclear attack or even a dirty bomb, while potentially bad, is not likely.

Will it happen? Sure. Someday.

But even following the 1995 Aum Shinrikyo chemical attack in Tokyo, which caused the chicken little crowd to bemoan an NBC threshold being crossed, not much has occurred since.

I suspect I'll still sleep nights.  ;)
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears as if the article is not making one very important distinction - a bomb with radioactive material, but no nuclear fission (ie - dirty bomb) vs. a bomb with specific radioactive material and HAS nuclear fission (a nuclear bomb).

The article flips back and forth between 'dirty bomb' (the former) and 'nuclear bomb' (the latter). But really, it appears as if they are talking about the scary but FAR less destructive 'dirty bomb'.

AQ or other terrorist elements pursuing this (and even coming close to acquiring this) is not a revelation.
The "West" will sit on its' hands until something happens and then act shocked....this has been a possiblity for decades, even more so now.... ::)
Jim Seggie said:
Right out of a Tom Clancy novel.


I remember being quite startled (obviously!!) when 9/11 happened. Not only for the scale of the tragedy......

...but also because a few years previously, I read a Tom Clancy book in which a resurgent Japanese nationalist faction crashed a fully loaded passenger jet into the White House. Debt of Honour I think it was.

Let's hope he's not right about a 'Sum of All Fears'  situation..

Anyways, I'll be in the basement fit testing my respirator and taping garbage bags over all the windows.
57Chevy said:
'Al-Qaida on brink of using nuclear bomb'
The headline implies a fusion or a fission weapon ... I felt a little bit robbed when I was only able to read about radiological weapons.  :(

This is not a new potential threat.
I got the same mental mushroom effect when I first read the title  ;D
Which is far from the reality of the situation.
So then; What is a dirty bomb ? <---link

Terrorist groups realize that merely having the capability to put together a radioactive IED can tap into public fear.
From the article: Case study: A radioactive IED
Modern terrorist perspectives change. Previously, "killing was an outcome of an operation, now killing is an operation itself." As RAND (a well known research organization) defined it in 1999, we witness the paradigm of terrorism-war. More and more terrorists adopt tactics that allow them to achieve the highest possible number of victims. Such a perspective, no doubt, inspires them to obtain weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

In modern use, the term "WMD" includes biological, nuclear, chemical, and radiological weapons. In reality, biological and nuclear weapons have the potential for mass killing and causing large-scale damage. Chemical and radiological weapons, however, have somewhat limited potential from this point of view. For example, in many scenarios, neither of the two latter types of weapons can cause the same dramatic damage to the infrastructure or biosphere. On the other hand, use of conventional weapons (e.g., explosives) against specific targets might cause significant damage.

Therefore, WMD has the potential of being misleading when used in general discussion. Widely overused and sometimes confusing, WMD in the context of terrorism, however, reflects the possibility of massive destruction to civil society. Not only the actual use of WMD, but the threat of use and claims of possession by terrorists cause anxiety among the population and could provoke civil disturbances.

Development of nuclear technologies, especially for peaceful purposes, unfortunately multiplies the number of locations or access vectors that terrorists can use to take possession of WMD or their components. Even in countries with stable political situations and advanced security controls, there are incidents of loss of control and disappearance of some components that can be used by criminal or terrorist groups for threatening or even killing on a large scale. But countries experiencing political or civil unrest or insurgency movements, or countries where civil institutions cannot fulfill their roles, the risk of clandestine groups accessing WMD components becomes higher.

In addition to the acquisition of components for the creation of improvised WMD, terrorists will likely continue to attempt to acquire manufactured WMD. Both NATO and Warsaw Pact forces fielded special atomic demolition munitions (SADMs). These man-portable nuclear weapons were designed to be employed by infiltrating special operations personnel. Though rumors regarding missing Russian devices that have circulated are unproven and denied by the Russian government, one can imagine the terrible consequences of these types of devices falling into terrorist hands or similar devices being provided by emergent nuclear powers.

Fortunately, the actual creation and effective use of many WMD requires advanced skills. The majority of terrorist groups do not possess and cannot easily gain access to these skills. The followers of the Japanese sect Aum Shinrikyo attacked the Tokyo metro with Sarin gas in 1995. Russian troops experienced two "lowscale" chemical attacks in Chechnya in 1999. Neither of these attacks caused a high toll of casualties or serious damage to infrastructure and the environment. However, it is not only the actual use, but rather the perceived capability of a terrorist group to access real WMD components, create WMD, and then use them that may profoundly change society.

Terrorists understand that well and seem eager to obtain WMD capabilities (even groups that may not intend to use the weapons). Possession of a "dirty bomb" employing radiological components seems to be a popular claim and a popular fear. A dirty bomb can create contamination and, subsequently, the disruption and anxiety that terrorists desire to pressure authorities and to realize their objectives. Not surprisingly, dirty bombs are often referred to as "weapons of mass disruption." While downplayed by governments and having had no dramatic impact on an already anxious society, the Izmaylovsky Park case of 1995 illustrates the viability of these threats.

                                    (Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act)

That article is meant to spread fear amongst its readers. For once, it would be nice to see an article written with the intent to INFORM its readers rather than mislead them.

The Al Qaeda threat is "exaggerated": 120,000 US Troops fighting "No More that 50 Members of Al Qaeda"

by Eric Margolis


Global Research, September 15, 2010
Toronto Sun - 2010-09-14

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), is the world’s leading think tank for military affairs. It represents the top echelon of defence experts, retired officers and senior military men, spanning the globe from the United States and Britain to China, Russia and India.

I’ve been an IISS member for over 20 years. IISS’s reports are always authoritative but usually cautious and diplomatic, sometimes dull. However, two weeks ago the IISS issued an explosive report on Afghanistan that is shaking Washington and its Nato allies.

The report, presided over by the former deputy director of Britain’s foreign intelligence agency, MI-6, says the threat from al-Qaeda and Taliban has been "exaggerated" by the western powers. The US-led mission in Afghanistan has "ballooned" out of all proportion from its original aim of disrupting and defeating al-Qaeda. The US-led war in Afghanistan, says IISS, using uncharacteristically blunt language, is "a long-drawn-out disaster".

Just recently, CIA chief Leon Panetta admitted there were no more than 50 members of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Yet US President Barack Obama has tripled the number of US soldiers there to 120,000 to fight Al Qaeda.

The IISS report goes on to acknowledge the presence of western troops in Afghanistan is actually fuelling national resistance. I saw the same phenomena during the 1980’s Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

Interestingly, the portion of the report overseen by the former MI-6 Secret Intelligence Service deputy chief, Nigel Inskster, finds little Al Qaeda threat elsewhere, notably in Somalia and Yemen. Yet Washington is beefing up its attacks on both turbulent nations.

Abandoning its usual discretion, IISS said it was issuing these warnings because the deepening war in Afghanistan was threatening the west’s security interests by distracting its leaders from the world financial crisis and Iran, and burning through scarce funds needed elsewhere.

The IISS’s findings are a direct challenge to Obama, Britain’s new prime minister, David Cameron, and other US allies with troops in Afghanistan. This report undermines their rational used to sustain the increasingly unpopular conflict. It will certainly convince sceptics that the real reason for occupation of Afghanistan has to do with oil, excluding China from the region, and keeping watch on nuclear-armed Pakistan.

The report also goes on to propose an exit strategy from the Afghan War. Western occupation troops, IISS proposes, should be sharply reduced and confined to Kabul and northern Afghanistan, which is mostly ethnic Tajik and Uzbek.

Southern Afghanistan – Taliban country – should be vacated by Western forces and left alone. Taliban would be allowed to govern its own half of the nation until some sort of loose, decentralised federal system can be implemented. This was, in fact, pretty much the way Afghanistan operated before the 1979 Soviet invasion.

Meanwhile, the war in Afghanistan is turning against the increasingly wobbly western occupation forces. The US-installed Afghan leader, Hamid Karzai, openly prepares for direct peace talks with Taliban and its allies – in spite of intense opposition from the US, Britain and Canada.

Pro-government Afghan forces are increasingly demoralised. Only the Tajik and Uzbek militias, and Afghan Communist Party, both supported by India, Russia and Iran, want to keep fighting the Pashtun Taliban.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar last week proclaimed the western occupiers were rapidly losing the war. He may well be correct. Nothing is going right for the US-backed Kabul regime or its western defenders. Even the much-ballyhooed US offensive at Marjah, designed to smash Taliban resistance, was an embarrassing fiasco. Civilian casualties from US bombing continue to mount.

Europeans are fed up with the Afghan war. Polls report 60% of Americans think the war not worth fighting.

The IISS bombshell comes on the heels of the most dramatic part of the British Chilcot Inquiry into the origins of the invasion of Iraq. Baroness Manningham-Buller the former head of Britain’s domestic security service, MI-5, testified that the Iraq War was generated by a farrago of lies and faked evidence from the Blair government. What we call "terrorism" is largely caused by the western invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, she testified.

The truth about Iraq and Afghanistan is finally emerging.

Afghanistan may again prove to be "the graveyard of empires".

Eric S. Margolis is a contributing editor to the Toronto Sun chain of newspapers, writing mainly about the Middle East and South Asia.

Bo said:
That article is meant to spread fear amongst its readers. For once, it would be nice to see an article written with the intent to INFORM its readers rather than mislead them.


I would hardly call Eric Margolis as being a authoritative source on anything.
GAP said:
The "West" will sit on its' hands until something happens and then act shocked....this has been a possiblity for decades, even more so now.... ::)

Its the Canadian way.  We don't need it until "we could have used it".
Not sure if this is the place for this. Rather nebulous and interrupted at an interesting point in time. Makes you go WTF?:


San Diego Port Director Claims WMD Found in U.S.

This report was on San Diego television a few days ago but this is the first I've seen of it ... in a British newspaper. Strange how this hasn't become major news.

    Port official has admitted that a 'weapon of mass effect' has been found by 'partner agencies' in the U.S., raising major questions over a possible government cover-up.

    The disturbing revelation came in an interview with San Diego's assistant port director screened by a television channel in the city.

    The Customs and Border Protection Department tried to dampen speculation over his remarks, but doubts remained over whether he had inadvertently revealed a dirty bomb plot to attack the U.S. mainland.

    Concern over a secret WMD bust came after U.S. cables made public by the Wikileaks whistleblower website revealed terror groups were plotting a 'nuclear 911.'

    In the interview screened by San Diego’s 10News, Al Hallor, assistant San Diego port director, said ‘weapons of mass effect’ had been found, although he did not specify exactly where or what they were.

    Reporter Mitch Blacher asked Mr Hallor: ‘Do you ever find things that are dangerous like a chemical agent or a weaponised device?’

    ‘At the airport, seaport, at our port of entry we have not this past fiscal year, but our partner agencies have found those things,’ the customs official replied.

    ‘So, specifically, you're looking for the dirty bomb? You're looking for the nuclear device?’ asked Mr Blacher.

    ‘Correct. Weapons of mass effect,’ said Mr Hallor.

    ‘You ever found one?’ asked Mr Blacher.

    ‘Not at this location,’ Mr Hallor said.

    ‘But they have found them?’ asked Mr Blacher.

    ‘Yes,’ said Mr Hallor.

    ‘You never found one in San Diego though?’ Mr Blacher asked.

    ‘I would say at the port of San Diego we have not,’ Mr Hallor said.

    ‘Have you found one in San Diego?’ Mr Blacher asked.

    The interview was then interrupted and cut short by a public relations official before Mr Hallor was able to answer the question.

    San Diego's Customs and Border Protection agency was unavailable for comment today.

    Earlier, Mr Hallor told Mr Blacher: ‘Potentially every city in America is a target. Given the waterways and the access to the Navy fleet here, I’d say, absolutely, San Diego is a target.

I suspect Hallor will soon find himself looking for another line of work.
According to this paper Weapon's of Mass Effect "are weapons capable of inflicting grave destructive, psychological and/or economic damage to the United States. These include chemical, biological, nuclear, radiological, or explosive weapons."

That definition can be used to describe just about anything (e.g. anthrax aimed at the livestock industry). Heck, the Christmas bomber of a couple of years ago could fit the description since it had a psychological and economic impact on western society.
If the 'alluded' refers to a Tom Clancy novel, the deterrent comes from a Le Carre Novel, "A Most Wanted Man". Do not be complacent.... Exciting novel I read..