John Emshwiller, Michael Orey, Daniel Machalaba and Rebecca Smith
Wall Street Journal
October 17, 2001
(for personal use only)
In February, Jamal Ahmed Mohamed al-Fadl, a longtime member of Osama binLaden's al-Qaida organization, gave some unsettling testimony in NewYork federal court: He helped arrange meetings in Khartoum, Sudan, inthe early 1990s with the aim of helping al-Qaida acquire uranium.
AL-FADL, WHO testified that he was told that "it's easy to kill morepeople with uranium," said he didn't know whether the deal ultimatelywent through. His testimony came in connection with the federalindictment against bin Laden and others for their alleged roles in the1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.
The evidence that bin Laden's group has tried to obtain weapons-gradenuclear material is sketchy and unverified. But it has sent authoritiesaround the world rushing to shore up security measures that are in somecases surprisingly weak. The armed guards at nuclear-weapons depotsoften lose in exercises with mock assailants. Materials for making anuclear bomb are accessible enough to support a black market. The firstreaction after Sept. 11 was to tighten security. Kansas officials arekeeping fishermen off a lake near the Wolf Creek nuclear plant. Japanordered round-the-clock patrols of the waters near its nuclear plants.France, which even encouraged school trips to its many nuclear-powerplants to promote acceptance, has severely restricted access tofacilities. Authorities in the Czech Republic tightened airspacerestrictions over nuclear power stations.
The U.S. Department of Energy briefly halted shipments of nuclearmaterials. Just last week, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission temporarilyclosed its Web site, saying that it had to review all the material aspart of "our mission to protect public health and safety."
Corbin McNeill Jr., the chairman of the Chicago-based power companyExelon Corp., has a plan for making future nuclear plants more resistantto an airborne assault by terrorists: Bury them. He's thinking that ifand when Exelon builds a new-generation nuclear plant, most of thestructure and equipment will be housed below the surface of the earth."There should be no vital components above ground," he says.
"The whole world has been turned upside down" by the events of Sept. 11,says Richard Meserve, chairman of the NRC, which oversees commercialsecurity measures for nuclear-power plants. "We have to re-examine ourentire capability to withstand a terrorist attack."
The means for carrying out nuclear attacks are scattered around theglobe in the form of hundreds of commercial nuclear plants, tens ofthousands of nuclear weapons and tons of stored uranium and plutoniumthat could be fashioned into bombs. Efforts to make nuclear materialsmore secure have been hampered by tight budgets, geopolitical squabblingand inertia.
While security has frayed in many places, authorities believe that anuclear assault by terrorists remains unlikely. Since Hiroshima, 56years ago, there have been few significant breaches of security anywherein the world that could have produced a nuclear weapon or incident, andthere have been no incidents. Besides the technical barriers to making anuclear bomb, nuclear weapons and bomb-grade material have always beenrelatively well-guarded.
Authorities have long counted on the technical barrier namely, thatdesigning and fabricating a nuclear device remains a formidablechallenge. Despite the sophistication of bin Laden's al-Qaida network,the prospect of terrorists going nuclear is still "highly unlikely,"says Graham Andrew, a senior official at the Vienna-based InternationalAtomic Energy Agency, a United Nations-related body created to preventthe proliferation of atomic weapons.
But the possibility remains. A draft report for an IAEA conference inMay cited intelligence-agency and other reports of bin Laden efforts toobtain small nuclear weapons, with the devices to be possibly stored inAfghanistan. The draft report, prepared by Alex Schmid,officer-in-charge of the United Nations' Terrorism Prevention Branch,stated that while he hadn't seen evidence that the terrorist hadsucceeded, "it's clear that bin Laden is actively seeking to acquireweapons of mass destruction." Schmid declined to be interviewed. A U.S.intelligence official says intelligence sources also have reportedefforts by bin Laden's organization to acquire nuclear weapons.
The technical barrier also seems to have gotten lower. A 1998 report bythe Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a foreign-policy thinktank in Washington, found that "a number of American college studentshave come up with plausible designs based on unclassified information."
The simplest bomb to build would resemble the one used over Hiroshima.It essentially involves placing two slugs of highly enriched uranium ina tube and driving them together with an explosive charge a designthat is considered so reliable that bomb experts say it doesn't evenhave to be tested. Weapons experts say this sort of bomb could be builtwith about 125 pounds of uranium though more-sophisticated designsrequire far less material.
Such a bomb would produce a blast equivalent to about 15,000 tons of TNTand, in a city, could kill more than 100,000 people, says RobertGallucci, dean of the Georgetown University foreign-service school whoworked on nuclear-proliferation issues for the State Department.Scientists estimate that the explosions and subsequent fires that tookdown the World Trade Center released energy the equivalent of about1,000 tons of TNT.
BUILDING A 'DIRTY BOMB' Far easier to build, and much less deadly, is a "dirty bomb," in whichconventional explosives are used to spread radioactive material. The keyto averting this and any other nuclear threat, security experts say, iskeeping nuclear material out of terrorists' hands, particularlyplutonium or highly enriched uranium, which are what is needed to createnuclear fission.
That means wiping out the shadowy black market for nuclear materials.The biggest potential source of such material is Russia and other partsof the old Soviet Union though the IAEA considers all the ex-SovietRepublics, except Russia itself, free of nuclear weapons. Here, too,information can be incomplete and even contradictory. Take the Russian"suitcase" bombs.
Republican Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania recalls that inhearings held in 1997, retired Russian Gen. Alexander Lebed testifiedthat Russian authorities couldn't account for dozens of portable nuclearbombs once in the Soviet arsenal and designed for use behind enemy linesto blow up specific objects, such as tunnels or power stations. Weldonsaid other top Russian military officials, including former DefenseMinister Igor Sergeyev told him directly that such devices existed. Morerecently, both U.S. and Russian officials have issued statements denyingthe Soviets ever built such weapons. Portable atomic demolition devicesproduced by the U.S. military were all dismantled by 1989, a DefenseDepartment official adds.
Watchdog groups such as the nonprofit Monterey Institute ofInternational Studies in Monterey, Calif., which attempt to verifyreports of nuclear proliferation, keep track of various incidents inwhich nuclear materials may have escaped the grip of governments. In theMonterey files is an example from 1998 when the Russian Federal SecurityService announced that it had thwarted an attempt by employees at afacility in the Chelyabinsk region to steal around 40 pounds of nuclearmaterial. Matthew Bunn, a nonproliferation expert at Harvard University,says an official with the Russian Ministry of Atomic Energy told him thematerial had been highly enriched uranium. Vladislav Petrov, a spokesmanfor Russia's Ministry of Atomic Energy, maintains that this incident"did not happen."
Some bomb-grade material does seem to have made its way out of Russia.In 1994, Czech officials seized nearly six pounds of enriched uraniumfrom a car in Prague. Investigators in that case believed that thematerial came from one of two Russian facilities. Petrov, however, saysthe Czechs never allowed Russia to test the material to determine itsorigin. The information about the theft "was created by their specialservices," he says, "to show that Russia isn't in control of itsuranium."
One of the suspect facilities in the Czech case is the Mayak nuclearmaterials production complex in the Chelyabinsk region, which is home toa number of nuclear facilities.In a visit to Mayak last year, former Energy Department official RoseGottemoellersays she found several tons of plutonium "stored in simple bucketlikecontainers." It would be "easy to carry," she notes, "if you could getthrough the wooden door or nonbarred window." Although a jointRussian-U.S. venture was in the process of upgrading security at Mayakduring her visit, Gottemoeller notes, it was just starting to install aperimeter fence. That fence has now been completed, according to SarahLennon, a DOE official. She also says windows have been bricked up andthat other security improvements are in progress.
Gottemoeller also visited Russian Naval facilities in 1999 and 2000,where she said that nuclear weapons being moved on and off of ships werekept in shacklike buildings on the base. The DOE's Lennon says there isan "aggressive program under way" to improve security measures for theRussian Navy's weapons.
BEHIND ON UPGRADES For the past eight years, the U.S. government has been helping theRussian government shore up security at its nuclear installations. Sofar, though, upgrades have been completed for less than 40 percent ofthe more than 660 tons of enriched uranium and plutonium not containedin Russia's nuclear-weapon stockpiles, says Bunn, who is also a formerClinton adviser on nuclear proliferation. In a Sept. 19 letter toPresident Bush and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Bunnwrote that "over the past five years, many of the major U.S.-Russiancooperative nuclear security programs have slowed" and "had theirtimelines unnecessarily extended into the future."
Jonathan Kiell, a spokesman for the DOE, insists that major strides havebeen made in helping Russia secure its nuclear material and inredirecting the activities of Russian weapons scientists. However, hesays, "following the attacks of Sept. 11, [the DOE] is evaluatingpossibilities of accelerating its [security program], based on guidancefrom the administration."
As the U.S. has pondered the post-Cold War nuclear threat, attention hasfocused on a "rogue" nation attacking the continental U.S. with amissile. But many national-security experts worry about a much simplerscenario, particularly now that the efficacy of suicide attacks in theU.S. has been proven. If overseas terrorists wanted to get a nuclearweapon into the U.S., the most likely means would be by ship, they say.About nine million shipping containers, typically 20 or 40 feet long,enter American ports each year.
For years, U.S. Customs Service inspectors have worn small devices todetect radiation in containers. So far, the searches have foundradioactive cheese from Ukraine's Chernobyl region and medical devicesthat use radioactivity for diagnostics. Officials also routinely reviewshipping documents looking for suspicious cargo, which are then subjectto X-ray or physical searches.
But tearing apart containers is time-consuming and labor-intensive. OnOct. 5, for example, two customs inspectors in a warehouse at the portin Elizabeth, N.J., strained to lift and heave bags of birdseed out of acontainer that had arrived from Ethiopia. Another inspector removedboxes of sweatpants from Pakistan. An X-ray check had showed an oddlyshaped object near the trailer door. "It could be a booby trap or atrigger for a device," said Kevin McCabe, chief inspector for the Portof New York and New Jersey. It turned out that one of the pants boxeshad fallen and wedged itself against the door.
Since Sept. 11, the Customs Service has increased the number ofinspectors and inspections nationally. At the New York/New Jersey port,the inspection force has expanded by more than a third to 100. Thenumber of containers X-rayed has had an "appreciable increase" to about500 daily, says McCabe.
However, more than 5,000 containers enter that port daily. Given thisriver of cargo, officials admit something could slip by. "If you cansmuggle heroin in containers, you may be able to smuggle a nuclearbomb," says Charles Raymond, chief executive officer of CSX Lines, thecontainer-shipping subsidiary of Richmond, Va.-based CSX Corp.
Some people argue that would-be nuclear terrorists can find what theyneed at U.S. weapons plants. With the end of the Cold War, securitybudgets shrunk at the weapons facilities, which are operated by theDepartment of Energy.
Since 1992, the number of guards at DOE facilities nationwide droppedabout 40 percent to around 3,500, according to Edward McCallum, formerdirector of the DOE's Office of Safeguards and Security, in a statementlast June to a congressional committee. The reductions have made it"questionable at some facilities whether the DOE Protective Force coulddefeat an adversary," wrote McCallum, whose outspoken criticism ofsecurity measures contributed to his departure from the EnergyDepartment in 1999.
For years, the DOE has used mock terrorists in simulated attacks to testsecurity at weapons plants. Often, U.S. military personnel and plantguard forces do battle with harmless laser weapons as the attackers tryto make off with objects that represent containers of plutonium oruranium.
In a Sept. 13 letter to Sen. Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican andvice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, PeterStockton, a former top Energy Department security consultant, said theDOE guard forces "lose well over 50 percent" of the time in these mockbattles "a clear indicator that a number of facilities cannot protect"their weapons and weapons-grade material. In one case cited by Stockton,attackers at the Los Alamos Nuclear Laboratory brought along a gardencart to haul off their booty.
The Project on Government Oversight, a private watchdog group, issued areport earlier this month recommending that the government consolidatethe tons of bomb-grade material from the 10 sites in two undergroundfacilities, possibly to be protected by the U.S. military. Currently,the Energy Department contracts with private security firms.
Glenn Podonsky, a senior DOE security official, says the agency believesits weapons-grade material is adequately guarded. While there have beensome reductions in guard forces, these partly reflect changinggovernment security requirements and the closing of some facilities,Podonsky says. As for the mock attacks, "we don't track the results on awin/lose basis," he says. Rather, they are used to evaluate protectionstrategies and individual responses by guards.
After the Sept. 11 attacks, DOE facilities went to a heightened state ofalert and the agency is reviewing what further steps might be needed."Sept. 11 changes a lot for everybody," says Podonsky.
At commercial nuclear-power plants, the main worry is that terroristswould turn a reactor into a sort of giant radiation-dispersal device.Disabling a plant's safety systems could lead to a catastrophicradiation release, similar to the one caused by the 1986 accident at theChernobyl nuclear plant. There, radiation releases contaminated a hugeswath of land, quickly killed several dozen people and exposed tens ofthousands of others to dangerous doses of radioactivity.
Like the Energy Department, the NRC runs mock terrorist raids againstpower plants. The NRC won't reveal specific results, but "there havebeen instances where infiltrators have gotten far enough inside andstayed long enough where they could have planted bombs," says an agencyspokesman.
But the NRC has halted the mock terrorist attacks, at least temporarily."This is not a wise time to be holding exercises," says Meserve, the NRCchairman. "It could be used as the cover for an actual attack." return to menu
B. Nuclear Terrorism
1. Nuclear Plants on Alert After 'Credible' Threat
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)
The prospect that Osama bin Laden might strike at an American nuclearfacility was raised yesterday as the atomic power plant at Three MileIsland received a "credible threat".
The alert came as nuclear authorities expressed concern that Mr binLaden's al-Qa'ida organisation was attempting to build an atomic bomb.
The airport at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was shut down for four hoursearly yesterday because of the security alert at the Three Mile Islandplant nearby. Temporary flight restrictions were put into effectthroughout a 20-mile radius around the airport, until federal officialswere able to discredit the threat.
They said later that the plant, whose reactor had been shut down formaintenance earlier this month, remained under high alert.
As fears of germ warfare spread into the nuclear safety field, arepresentative of the international nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, wouldnot rule out the possibility of "rogue state" backing for Mr bin Laden'sattempts to acquire an atomic bomb.
A key prosecution witness in the New York trial stemming from the 1998bombings of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, which handed downsentences yesterday, told the court in February that Mr bin Laden hadattempted to buy uranium in 1993-94.
The witness, Sudanese national Jamal Ahmad al-Fadl, said he wasinstructed by a senior al Qa'ida operative to meet with a contact inKhartoum who wanted to sell South African uranium for an arranged priceof $1.5m (£1m).
"They took us inside house in Bait el Mal and after a few minutes theybring a big bag and they open it, and it is a cylinder, like this tall,"Mr al Fadl told the court, gesturing to a height of two to three feet.
He said he remembered the cylinder was marked "South Africa" with aserial number. But he also said he was not told whether al Qa'idaactually purchased the uranium, which was to be tested in Kenya.
South Africa's nuclear weapons programme was shut down in 1991-92 andthe arms destroyed under international supervision.
The New York representative for the International Atomic Energy Agency,Gustavo Zlauvinen, said yesterday there was "no evidence" to prove thatMr bin Laden's network had obtained the uranium, nor was there anyevidence that subsequent attempts had succeeded.
Mr Zlauvinen said: "It's one thing to get your hands on radiologicalsources, you can get it through hospitals and engineering sources.
"But it is highly improbable that non-state organisations could acquirea nuclear weapon. That would require much more effort than anorganization alone could provide, because of the technical complexity.The Iraqis tried for many years, and still they didn't succeed.
Mr Zlauvinen said there was much more concern about so-called "orphansources" of highly enriched uranium finding their way into terrorists'hands. These are the radiological sources that were produced for Sovietnuclear weapons and research reactors, and the nuclear waste fromcivilian reactors.
"Not even the Russians know where all those sources are," Mr Zlauvinensaid. "We are helping the Russians to track down those sources."
He said that Iraq and North Korea appeared to be the most likely stateswho might be prepared to pass on their nuclear know-how to terroristgroups.
The UN weapons inspectors have been refused entry to Iraq since December1998. "We cannot give any kind of assurances that Iraq has not beeninvolved in another clandestine programme," Mr Zlauvinen said.
The IAEA has also been refused entry into North Korea, to verify thatits atomic arms programme has been frozen in line with a 1994 agreement.
With regard to North Korea, the IAEA director general, MohammedElbaradei, said on Wednesday: We are still where we had been a yearago." return to menu
2. Police Suspect Bin Laden Making 'Dirty' Nuclear Bombs
October 17, 2001
(for personal use only)
Police in Canada, Britain and Bulgaria are urgently investigatingsuspicious activity involving atomic energy research facilities as fearsgrow that Osama bin Laden may be attempting to build crude nuclearweapons.
Terrorists could build a "dirty" radiological bomb with little effortcapable of killing 2,000 people and contaminating thousands more,according to a report from the Center for Defense Information, a thinktank in Washington.
A U.S. defence official has said bin Laden's al-Qaeda terrorists haddeveloped chemical and biological weapons and possibly nuclear-relatedarms.
"If there's any nuclear capability, it is liable to be more radiologicalthan fissile," the official said, according to The Washington Times.
Radiological weapons -- or dirty bombs -- combine radioactive materialwith conventional explosives to increase their deadliness. A fissilenuclear device produces a nuclear blast.
British intelligence officials are reportedly tracing the activities ofa Pakistani scientist, connected to bin Laden, who is believed to havetried to obtain nuclear waste materials in England. Also beinginvestigated is a scheme by the bin Laden organization to set up a fakeenvironmental company to obtain radioactive material from a nuclearpower plant in Bulgaria.
In Canada, police continue to follow leads on a Kuwaiti man found withsensitive documents about Canadian atomic energy facilities.
In a report, Mr. Blair says a radiological bomb is an expedient weapon,in that radioactive waste material is relatively easy to obtain and notas well guarded as nuclear weapons. He estimated the worst-casecalculation for a noon-hour explosion in downtown Manhattan to be morethan 2,000 deaths.
"There's a potential for that type of action," said John Thompson, whostudies terrorism trends for the Mackenzie Institute, a Toronto-basedthink-tank. "I don't think you would create a large number ofcasualties, but you would certainly generate a lot of panic."
Canadian defence analyst David Rudd notes bin Laden would be courtingthe demise of his cause if he used a nuclear weapon against the UnitedStates. Such an action would turn supporters among the Arabestablishment against him and spark massive retaliation from the U.S.government against any country to give him sanctuary.
"All bets would be off if he used nuclear weapons," said Mr. Rudd,director of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies.
Bin Laden has voiced his desire to have a nuclear bomb. In May, 1998, heissued a statement arguing it was necessary to obtain nuclear weaponsand that it was the duty of Muslims "to prepare as much force aspossible to terrorize the enemies of God." In a 1998 interview withTime, bin Laden dodged the question of whether he actually had such adevice. "If I have indeed acquired these weapons, then I thank God forenabling me to do so," he said.
One of his former aides, Jamal al-Fadl, testified during a terrorismtrial this year he was directly involved in an attempt to purchaseuranium for bin Laden in 1993. He was instructed to meet a Sudanesemilitary officer, who supposedly possessed radioactive material to sellfor $1.5-million.
Mr. al-Fadl arranged for the purchase of a device to determine whetherthe material was radioactive, but he was taken off the job. Mr. al-Fadltestified he did not know if the purchase was completed.
Earlier this year, customs officers from Uzbekistan seized 10 lead-linedcontainers at a remote border crossing with Kazakhstan. Intelligenceanalysts say they were filled with enough radioactive material toconstruct dozens of crude radiological weapons. The containers werebeing shipped to a company in Quetta, Pakistan, but since Pakistanalready has an arsenal of nuclear weapons, most analysts believe itwould have no need for such material, prompting speculation it wasdestined for bin Laden.
There is also the possibility bin Laden has built or obtained a nuclearbomb, stolen from the stockpile of the former Soviet Union. In 1998, anArabic news magazine reported bin Laden's organization paid Chechengangsters US$30-million for 20 Russian nuclear warheads. The plan,according to the magazine, was to detonate the bombs in U.S. cities.
The Russian government denies any of its warheads are missing. Butaccording to Republican Congressman Curt Weldon, the former Soviet Unioncannot account for 48 of its 10-kiloton suitcase nuclear weapons. return to menu
3. Romanian Intelligence Service Denies Reports on Nuclear Trafficking.
October 17, 2001
(for personal use only)
Media reports claiming that Romania's territory is being used for thepurpose of smuggling nuclear materials are attempts to discredit thecountry's international image, Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI)spokesman Marius Bercaru told Mediafax on 16 October. Bercaru reacted toa report by the Moldovan BASA Press claiming that Interpol isinvestigating the trafficking of nuclear materials between theTransdniester and Bosnia via Romania. BASA Press attributed the reportsto Italian media. It cited Paolo Sartori, the chief of Italian Interpol,as saying in an interview on national television that the investigationbegan after a group belonging to Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda organizationwas uncovered in Bosnia. MS return to menu
C. US-Russia Relations
1. Shanghai is not About Economics Only: Putin and Bush To Discuss Strategic Issues, Too
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)
As the abbreviation APEC suggests, the Shanghai summit coming over thisweekend is mainly about promoting economic co-operation in theAsia-Pacific area. But in times likes these, and with leaders of worldpowers participating, the focus will be also on strategic issues. Atleast, that is what George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin are expected totalk about when they meet face to face on Sunday.
As the US president indicated the other day, he plans to use thisoccasion to convince the Russian leader to join America in foreclosingon the 1972 ABM Treaty. But while this is an important and controversialissue, it can wait until the two meet again in Texas. The events of andfollowing 11 September have made NMD sound rather academic compared withthe more pressing issues of what to do in and around Afghanistan andvis-à-vis international terrorism in general. The two former superpowersare newly born allies and their immediate agenda is getting to see eyeto eye on most strategic issues involved. The future of ABM is not onthat critical path.
One immediate issue is agreeing on the aims of war in Afghanistan andthe post-war organisation of that country. The US is actively involvedin talks about this with Pakistan, the former Afghan king and some othergroups. But so far, there has been no serious effort to include in theseconsultations either Russia or China, two large neighbouring powers withdirect national security concerns. The Afghan Diaspora abroad numberstoday a few millions, some 150 thousand of them in Russia. Many comefrom the educated elite forced to leave their country. It is thiseducated part of the Afghan society, not the Pakistani military, that isbest qualified to lead in building up a stable and modernisedAfghanistan. Ignoring them is wrong, and the Big Two should discuss waysof integrating them into the process.
Shanghai is also the right time to clarify US intentions about othercountries that are said to be "hosting terrorists". The American mediahas carried stories about expert groups in the Pentagon working outplans of military operations in Iraq. The US has officially put the UNon notice that it may strike at unspecified countries if it feels likeit. Because of good relations that Russia maintains with some of thesenations, it has a right to know what exactly is on Mr. Bush's mind.
Iraq is a case with a clear history. When it attacked neighbouringKuwait there was no question as to Moscow's position. Saddam Khussein isnot an easy customer but his involvement in supporting internationalterrorism today is far from obvious. Bush and Putin should have theirintelligence services jointly review all the relevant evidence aboutIraq before military action is considered. Colin Powell and Igor Ivanovshould be asked to jointly weigh the possible backlash in the Arab worldbefore agreeing on a political decision.
Economic implications of any such move should also be considered.Invading Iraq could disrupt oil markets, trigger skyrocketing fuelprices and thus aggravate the already delicate world economic situation.Do we want to add to forces deepening the current recession or do wewant to avoid steps that might provoke a depression of the worst kind?
One of the stories leaked out of the Pentagon is that of a cute plan,under which the US would occupy the southern oil-rich part of Iraq,install there an opposition regime and use the proceeds from sellingIraqi oil for financing that government and its anti-Saddam operations.With all due respect, this plan strikes us as bordering on fantasy. Verylikely, such an operation would end up in the oil wells of Basra beingblown up before the US commandos reach them. This would destroy the planitself and disrupt oil markets for long. As an oil exporter, Russiawould benefit from higher prices. But the resulting additional politicaland military instability near Russian southern borders is hardly worththose economic gains.
It might also be useful to bring more frankness into how Bush and Putinsee terrorism in Chechnya. The Russian president should share with hisUS colleague available intelligence on the continuing close ties between"Al-Qaida" and the separatist Chechen leadership, not only with the Arabterrorists there. The American president would benefit by knowing moreaboutSaudi financing of the terrorist international, including its affiliateson Russian territory. Perhaps, he could also profit from informationabout the double game played by the authorities in Tbilisi vis-a-visChechen terrorists hiding on Georgia's territory.
War is war, and relations between countries allied in pursuit of acommon military goal should be clear and above the surface. When high USofficials talk about the need to "construct a new concept of relationsbetween our countries", they surely mean concrete co-operation, notmeaningless generalities. Vladimir Putin should take them at their word,and establish a working relationship with George W. Bush. Shanghai is agood time and place to start. return to menu
2. Russia Expects USA to Reciprocate for Closing of Radar Centre in Cuba
October 18, 2001
(for personal use only)
Spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry Aleksandr Yakovenko haswelcomed the statement of US President George W. Bush, who describedMoscow's intention to close the radar centre in Lourdes, Cuba, as a signof the end of the Cold War.
Russia, "naturally expects reciprocal moves from the United States",Yakovenko told the press today.
"American radio-electronic intelligence centres, which were opened inthe Cold War epoch and are still functioning, are situated in countriesneighbouring Russia," the diplomat said.
"We have said more than once that we have serious questions about thestation in Vardoe, Norway," he said.
"The world is changing, and the nature of challenges, which areconfronted by the international community and can be neutralized only byjoint efforts, are changing as well," Yakovenko noted.
Russia "is ready to build its relations with the United States on a newbasis of pragmatic cooperation, which will provide for strategicstability on the planet and take into account the interests of othercountries", he said. return to menu
3. Russia Offers Calm Antidote to U.S. Anthrax Alarm
October 17, 2001
(for personal use only)
Russia is offering its anthrax antidotes and expertise to a UnitedStates gripped by anxiety over bioterrorism attacks, but experts sayAmericans need more help coping with their fears rather than a massvaccination program.
For centuries Russia, where 15-20 people still contract anthrax eachyear, has lived with the bacteria that can cause skin rashes, flu-likesymptoms, putrid sores and death in the most serious, but rare cases.
President Bush says there is as yet no evidence linking the U.S. anthraxoutbreaks to Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born militant Washington blamesfor the devastating September 11 hijacked airliner attacks on the UnitedStates.
Experts and ordinary Russians have looked on the panic sweeping theUnited States -- where one person has died after opening infected mailand a dozen others have been exposed to anthrax -- with a mixture ofconsternation and some bemusement.
``We have big (vaccine) stocks, so if the Americans are short of them wewill be able to help,'' said Benjamin Cherkassky, a senior scientist atMoscow's Central Institute of Epidemiology.
``But in my opinion we need to protect the Americans not from anthrax,but from the feeling of fear. I'm serious. Panic is even worse than thedisease.
``In my opinion, there's no point in launching a mass vaccinationprogram,'' added Cherkassky, one of Russia's leading anthraxspecialists.
A breakdown in veterinary procedures since the demise of the SovietUnion and a failure to vaccinate livestock in some parts of the Volgaregion and volatile North Caucasus has stymied efforts to eradicate thebacteria that cause anthrax.
Health Minister Yuri Shevchenko said on Monday Russia could help withmedicines and vaccines, a know-how gleaned in part from Soviet-era germwarfare programs.
One institute in the Volga region city of Saratov has already offeredhelp.
``We certainly welcome the spirit behind that offer, the spirit ofsolidarity,'' U.S. ambassador Alexander Vershbow told a news conference.``And as the problem in the United States continues I wouldn't excludethat we will be seeking assistance from our Russian friends.''
The Soviets built up a formidable arsenal of germ agents, some of whichcould be loaded onto multi-warheaded SS-18 ballistic missiles targetedat the United States.
``The aim was to use it after a nuclear strike simply to clean outsurvivors from a nuclear strike,'' said Jean Pascal Zanders, projectleader of the chemical and biological warfare project at Stockholm'srespected SIPRI think-tank.
At its height, the Soviet ``Toxic Archipelago'' of biological andchemical warfare plants stretched from western Ukraine to Siberia,Kazakhstan's shrinking Aral Sea and east toward China.
In a December 1999 research paper, bioweapons specialist Amy Smithson ofthe Washington-based Stimson Center said conservative U.S. governmentestimates put at 10,500 the number of key biological and chemicalweapons specialists ``that pose a proliferation risk'', but otherexperts cast doubt on such figures.
In a bid to keep their know-how out of the hands of states like Iran,Iraq and North Korea -- viewed as ``states of concern'' in Washington --the United States launched a multi-million dollar program in the early1990s aimed at keeping such scientists in jobs not related tobioweapons.
The anthrax outbreaks in the United States are of a milder strain thanthose found in Russia, say experts, who doubt Russia could be the sourceof the spores used in U.S. anthrax mail.
Nikolai Shestopalov, head of Russia's State Epidemiological SupervisoryBody, said stocks of deadly germs were guarded as tightly as nuclearfacilities.
That has not stopped a spate of anthrax mail alerts in Moscow in recentdays, though Russian medical officials say the country has vaccines anddrugs to tackle any outbreaks. return to menu
D. ABM Treaty/National Missile Defense
1. Bush Plans How to Exit ABM Treaty; Mulls Steeper Cuts to Assuage Russia
Wall Street Journal
Carla Anne Robbins and Andrew Higgins
October 19, 2001
(for personal use only)
In a test of their warming relationship, President Bush is expected totell Russian President Vladimir Putin that the U.S. plans deep,unilateral cuts in offensive nuclear weapons, but will give notice byyear end that it will withdraw from the ABM treaty banning missiledefenses.
The president's top aides were debating last night how many nuclearweapons the U.S. will retain, though officials say they expect Mr. Bushto present a firm number to the Russian leader at their Sunday meetingin Shanghai.
Mr. Putin, whose own arsenal is decaying, has called for both countriesto cut back to 1,500 long-range weapons, while U.S. nuclear plannershad been resisting cuts much below 2,500.
The U.S. has 7,000 long-range weapons deployed, while Russia has 6,000.
Mr. Bush's expected move would be an important step toward his goal ofbuilding an ambitious, and costly, national missile-defense system.While considerably sweetened by a pledge of steep reductions ofweapons, Mr. Bush's proposal still is high-risk, especially as he triesto keep together an international coalition for military action inAfghanistan and a broader war on terrorism.
Both Russia and China, the host for this weekend's Asian economicsummit, have fiercely opposed Mr. Bush's plans to jettison the 1972Anti-Ballistic Missile treaty, which bars construction of nationalmissile-defense systems.
The Russians, who have neither the technological nor economic might tomatch the U.S. in missile defenses, fear that abandoning the treaty willundermine what is left of Moscow's strategic parity with the U.S.
The relationship between the two countries has warmed since the Sept. 11terrorist attacks in the U.S. Mr. Putin has aligned his country firmlywith the U.S.-led campaign against terrorism, sharing intelligence,offering fly-over rights and accepting the basing of U.S. troops andplanes in two former Soviet republics in Central Asia. In a furthersign of Mr. Putin's new thinking, Russia announced this week that itwould close a listening post in Lourdes, Cuba, built during the ColdWar.
U.S. officials say they expect Mr. Putin eventually to go along with Mr.Bush's missile-defense plans -- almost certainly not this weekend, butperhaps by mid-November, when the two men are expected to meet again atMr. Bush's ranch in Texas.
"The Russians get that this is a new relationship, and it's a lotbroader than strategic arms," a senior U.S. official said.
Mr. Bush also is expected to sweeten the pot with pledges of newcooperation on economic and trade issues, as well as in the militarysphere. Mr. Putin is eager to have the U.S. endorse his efforts to jointhe World Trade Organization -- Commerce Secretary Don Evans, in Moscowlast week, pointedly encouraged those efforts.
It still may be politically difficult for the Russian leader to acceptthe U.S. withdrawal from the ABM treaty without serious protest. "Theymay be reading Putin right, but they're misreading the domestic politicsthere," says Michael McFaul, a Russia specialist at Stanford Universityin California.
Russia clearly is eager to have the U.S. reduce its stockpile ofoffensive weapons, at a time when its own arsenal is slipping intodisrepair. At the same time, negotiated arms-control treaties are one ofthe last vestiges of Russia's superpower status, and many members ofRussia's defense establishment fear that without a formal treaty, theU.S. could decide to build up its weapons at some point.
Another U.S. official said that, depending on the strength of Mr.Putin's opposition, the White House may have to reconsider its aversionto formal treaties and agree to codify "parallel" nuclear cuts in somewritten format.
Many analysts -- both in Moscow and Washington -- predicted that theSept. 11 terrorist attacks would cool Mr. Bush's enthusiasm for missiledefenses and focus U.S. attention on other threats. It hasn't.
In a news conference last week, the president said the terrorist attackswere an example of "the new threat" the U.S. faces. He said he plannedin Shanghai to "ask my friend" Mr. Putin "to envision a world in which aterrorist thug, and/or a host nation, might have the ability ... todeliver a weapon of mass destruction via a rocket." return to menu
E. Russia-Iran Cooperation
1. Putin Pleased with Iranian Ties as Moscow Offers Tehran Plans for New Nuclear Reactor.
October 18, 2001
(for personal use only)
President Putin said on 17 October that Russia is pleased with thedevelopment of bilateral ties with Iran, ITAR-TASS reported. The sameday, Russian officials presented the Iranian government with afeasibility study for the construction of another nuclear reactor inIran, Russian and Western agencies reported the same day. PG return to menu
F. Russia-India Cooperation
1. India to Lease Russian Nuclear Bombers
BBC Monitoring Service
October 16, 2001
(for personal use only)
India is to lease from Russia four TU-22 bombers which are capable ofcarrying nuclear warheads, Indian Doordarshan TV reported on Tuesday.
The two countries will sign an agreement on the lease in November, theTV reported.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi on Tuesday, Russian DeputyPrime Minister Ilya Klebanov refused to comment on the possibility ofalso leasing nuclear submarines to India, the TV said.
Source: Doordarshan television, New Delhi, in English 0840 gmt 16 Oct 01 return to menu
G. US Nuclear Forces
1. Buyer Discusses U.S. Use of Nuclear Device
October 18, 2001
(for personal use only)
U.S. Rep. Steve Buyer, R-Ind., said Wednesday that he would supportlimited use of a nuclear device under certain specific circumstances.
Speaking to reporters for WTHR (Channel 13) at IndianapolisInternational Airport, Buyer said that if the United States can prove acausal link between the anthrax and bin Laden's organization, "I wouldsupport the use of a limited precision tactical nuclear device. Whatdoes that mean? When there are hardened caves that go back a half a mile. . . don't send in Special Forces to sweep. We'd be naive to thinkbiotoxins are not in there. Put in tactical nuclear devices and closethese caves for a thousand years."
He added: "I am not a warmonger. I am not someone who says use offensivenuclear weapons. We're the ones attacked. This is a bio-attack. It'salso important to figure out who is doing it. But I want you to know . .. if he (Bush) has to make difficult decisions -- like Truman did tosave lives -- that he'd have support here."
Buyer added that he has yet to speak with anyone in the administrationabout the topic. return to menu
H. Nuclear Safety
1. Latvia, Ukraine to Cooperate in area of Nuclear Safety
BBC Monitoring Service
October 18, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Baltic news agency BNS
Riga, 18 October: Latvia and Ukraine closed an agreement on informationexchange in the area of nuclear safety, the Interfax agency reported.
The agreement was closed during the visit of Latvian EnvironmentProtection and Regional Development Minister Vladimirs Makarovs toUkraine.
Under the agreement the two parties also undertake to notify each otherimmediately in the event of a nuclear catastrophe.
Ukrainian Nuclear Regulation Committee reported to Interfax the twoparties in the event of a nuclear catastrophe will cooperate inelimination of consequences, protection human lives and health, propertyand environment from radio-active pollution.
Under the agreement the authorized institutions of the two countries -Latvian Environment Protection and Regional Development Ministry andUkrainian Nuclear Regulation Committee - are to hold meetings asfrequently as may be necessary but no less than once a year.
Makarovs' visit to Ukraine will last until today.
Source: BNS news agency, Tallinn, in English 0630 gmt 18 Oct 01 return to menu
2. Ukraine, Belarus Pledge to Boost Cooperation.
October 17, 2001
(for personal use only)
Ukrainian Premier Anatol Kinakh and his Belarusian counterpart HenadzNavitski on 16 October spoke in favor of broadening bilateral economicand trade cooperation, Interfax reported. Navitski was in Kyiv on hisfirst official trip in his capacity of prime minister. The two sidessigned five agreements, including on cooperation in the spheres ofsecurity, on nuclear safety, on energy conservation, and on customs andborder control. Kinakh told journalists that this December the twocountries hope to resolve the issue of Ukrainian enterprises' debts toBelarusian partners, but failed to mention what amounts are involved.Trade turnover between both countries in January-July 2001 stood at $422million, down 17 percent from the same period last year. JM return to menu
I. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
1. Kazakhstan Should Reconsider Nuclear Power Station Project - Premier
BBC Monitoring Service
October 18, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report by Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency
Astana, 18 October: Kazakhstan should be in no hurry to build a nuclearpower station near Balkhash Lake (central Karaganda Region), KazakhPrime Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev believes.
Speaking in the parliament today, he said that the project should firstbe studied thoroughly since on the one hand there are inherentenvironmental risks whilst on the other it is expedient from theeconomic point of view.
As was reported, earlier the Kazakh government excluded the project fromthe blueprint for the development of the republic's nuclear sector.
Source: Interfax-Kazakhstan news agency, Almaty, in Russian 1024 gmt 18Oct 01 return to menu
1.The Bush Administration's Response to September 11th and Beyond
Text of an Address Delivered to the Council on Foreign
October 15, 2001
...International terrorism exemplifies what can be called the dark side ofglobalization.
In international terrorism, we face a true transnational threat.Al-Qaida and its cousin terrorist networks have twisted the benefits andconveniences of our increasingly open, integrated, globalized world toserve their destructive agenda.
Usama bin Laden is a man without a country. His al-Qaida network is amultinational enterprise with operations in over sixty countries. Itscamps in Afghanistan and its bank accounts have been a veritable trustfund for terrorism. Its global activities are coordinated by not onlypersonal couriers but also the communication technologies emblematic ofour era-cellular and satellite phones, encrypted email, Internet chatrooms, videotape, and laserdisks. Like a skilled publicist, bin Ladenknows how to exploit the international media to project his imageworldwide.
Members of al-Qaida travel from continent to continent with the ease ofa vacationer or business traveler. In an age marked by unprecedentedmobility and immigration, they readily blend into communities whereverthey move. They pay their way with funds raised through frontbusinesses, drug trafficking, credit card fraud, extortion, moneylaundered from covert supporters, and possibly even the manipulation ofstock markets. They use ostensibly charitable organizations for fundingand recruitment. Money for their operations is transferredsurreptitiously through numerous banks and money exchanges around theworld-some legitimate and unwitting, others not. And in their hands theairplanes that connect families and businesses became human guidedmissiles that snuff out thousands of innocent lives.
These terrorists are also transnational in another, more fundamentalway-their victims. Belgium, El Salvador, Germany, Greece, India, Italy,Japan, Pakistan, Russia, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United Kingdom alllost at least seventy citizens in the September 11th attacks. Someeighty nations suffered casualties that one horrific day alone....
...We are now engaged in-in President Bush's words-a "different kind ofwar. It's not the kind of war that we're used to in America." So ourtraditional language of "war"-and the images, metaphors, and memories itconjures up from a previous era-does not fully capture the challengeposed by international terrorism. A decisive, permanent "victory" overinternational terrorism is unlikely. The language of war might leadsome to unrealistic expectations and sow the seeds of laterfrustration. Moreover, it implies that we will use primarily militarymeans to confront this challenge when other tools of statecraft willsometimes predominate.
Another way of looking at the challenge is to view internationalterrorism as analogous to a terrible, lethal virus. Terrorism lives aspart of the environment. Sometimes dormant, sometimes virulent, it isalways present in some form. Like a virus, international terrorismrespects no boundaries-moving from country to country, exploitingglobalized commerce and communication to spread. It can beparticularly malevolent when it can find a supportive host. Wetherefore need to take appropriate prophylactic measures at home andabroad to prevent terrorism from multiplying and check it from infectingour societies or damaging our lives. We need, for instance, betterborder control regimes and improved international counterterrorismcooperation across the board. We also need to make sure that the virusdoes not mutate into something even more deadly through the acquisitionof nuclear, biological, or chemical weapons of mass destruction.
The challenge of terrorism is thus akin to fighting a virus in that wecan accomplish a great deal but not eradicate the problem. We can takesteps to prevent it, protect ourselves from it, and, when an outbreakoccurs, quarantine it, minimize the damage it inflicts, and attack itwith all our power. Therefore, the ultimate goal of our campaign isprogress through the steady accumulation of individual successes.Patience and persistence will be the watchwords for this campaign.
American leadership will be key. As the campaign progresses, we willwork with our coalition partners to develop long-term strategies andmechanisms to address the terrorist threat in all its forms. Ourapproach will be comprehensive. We will use all the tools in our toolkit. And we will tailor our response to the diverse challenges that wewill face in this sustained and shifting multidimensional campaign. Ourgoal is to foster a world where terrorists find it hard to ply theirtrade and where people can lead their lives in peace, without inordinatefear.
We are working with our allies to ensure the alliances forged in thepast century continue to be relevant and powerful in this one. WitnessNATO's unprecedented invocation of Article 5 of its Treaty, Australia'sinvocation of Article 4 of the ANZUS Treaty, and our Western Hemisphereallies' invocation of the Rio Treaty. And witness our allies' activesupport of the military operations now underway in Afghanistan.
We are also working to integrate countries like Russia, China, India,and Japan, as well as the EU, into the international campaign againstterrorism. Similarly, we are seizing this opportunity to recast ourrelations with Pakistan and other frontline states in this campaign.Together, these efforts are helping to redefine key relationships interms suited to this post-Cold War, global era.
We will strive to integrate the world in such a way as to protect ourinterests and ensure that the values we believe in are embraced asstandards, not exceptions. And by integrating new partners-countrieslike Russia, China, and India-into a shared international order, we willexpand the reach of practices and institutions that both uphold ourvalues and interests and, at the same time, protect against those actorsand forces that threaten our peace and prosperity.
Stepping back from the challenges immediately before us, we see how thecampaign against terrorism provides a model for U.S. foreign policy inthis new century. American will continue to lead. But no matter howmuch we may want to solve all the problems we face entirely byourselves, we cannot single handedly triumph over enduring,transnational challenges like international terrorism. We will,therefore, forge coalitions to respond to such transnationalchallenges. We will seek to bring new partners into our efforts tocreate a better future. "Results," President Bush has stressed, are whatmatter. Countries' and organizations' willingness to work with us inthe future-not the animosities of the past-will guide our efforts. Andjust as the challenges we face will not be surmounted quickly, we willbuild structures of cooperation that will last for the long haul.
I have, therefore, one final thought I want to leave you with.Counterterrorism is our top priority-but it cannot be our only priority.We simply don't have the luxury of ignoring important parts of ourforeign policy agenda. So even as we confront the challenges ahead, wecannot lose sight of the opportunities of this era. We must use thecooperation against the threat of international terrorism to find commonground on how to respond to a host of other bilateral and transnationalchallenges and opportunities, such as developing a strategic frameworkthat transcends the legacies of the Cold War, stemming the proliferationof weapons of mass destruction, fighting infectious diseases likeHIV/AIDS, and promoting world trade. We also now have real prospectsfor making meaningful progress in ameliorating tensions between regionalrivals in South Asia and the Middle East.
As President Bush said during his recent visit to the State Department:"In our grief and in our sadness, I see an opportunity to make the worlda better place for generations to come. And we will seize theopportunity."
1. For Immediate Release: Nuclear Waste May Be Transported To Russia This Week
October 18, 2001
Minatom wants to transport spent nuclear fuel from Bulgaria immediately,demonstrates no attention to the terrorism' threat and violates Russianlegislation
Import-export branch of Russian Ministry of atomic power (Minatom),"Tehsnabexport" company, is trying to organize the transportation ofhigh-level nuclear waste from Bulgaria to Russia this week, saidECODEFENSE! environmental group in its statement today. Paying noattention to the threat of terrorism, Minatom sent special train thatable to carry spent nuclear fuel to Bulgaria. Presently, train iswaiting near Bulgarian Kozloduy nuclear plant for "Tehsnabexport"managers to receive necessary license from Russian nuclear control bodyGosatomnadzor (GAN), Health Ministry and other governmental bodies, aswell as transit permission from the state of Ukraine. Attempt toorganize this transportation is so secret that Minatom did not even askfor the license and permissions in advance.
According to contract, signed by summer 2000 between Kozloduy nuclearplant and "Tehsnabexport", about 41 ton of spent nuclear fuel must bedelivered to Krasnoyarsk-26, closed city where the spent nuclear fuel'storage is located. Bulgaria must pay about $620 per Kg of spent fuel.Such price was declared "unprofitable" by the previous head of MinatomEvgeny Adamov who claimed Russia can make its profit if the charge forspent fuel storage and reprocessing will be lifted to $1000 per Kg.
As it was discovered by ECODEFENSE!, Yury Vishnevsky, head of Russiannuclear control agency GAN, sent an angry letter to "Tehsnabexport" onTuesday, October 16, where pointed out that nuclear transportation haveto be licensed by GAN. Moreover, according to new laws allowing theimport of spent nuclear fuel by Russia which were approved last summer,every project that includes bringing nuclear waste into the country mustbe approved by the Ministry of natural resources (thorugh environmentalexpertise process) and special presidential committee. "Tahsnabexport"must also prove that the profit from Bulgarian contract will benefit theenvironmental protection in Russia. All of the mentioned levels wereignored by Minatom and "Tehsnabexport".
There is about 14,000 ton of high-level radioactive waste, or spentnuclear fuel, stored currently across Russia. There is no solution tothis problem found so far. Reprocessing of this waste would generategreat amounts of radioactive waste additionally. The only Russianreprocessing plant - "Mayak" near Chelyabinsk city, in Ural mountainregion - accumulated the amount of radioactivity equal to 20 Chernobyls,or about 1 billion of Ci in waste of reprocessing.
"Tehsnabexport" contract to import Bulgarian nuclear waste violatedRussian legislation, it's economically unprofitable and environmentallydangerous. Moreover, train carrying nuclear waste is extremelyvulnerable to the terrorist' attack", said Vladimir Slivyak, co-chairmanof ECODEFENSE! in Moscow. "We demand this contract and transportation tobe cancelled!"
For more info: +7(095) 2784642, 7766281 - Vladimir Slivyak or AlisaNikulina, return to menu