WASHINGTON (CNN) It was a fascinating two-day bio-terrorism exercise.On June 22-23, several former high-ranking U.S. officials gathered atAndrews Air Force Base just outside Washington, D.C. Their mission:simulate an outbreak of a terrorist smallpox attack in three cities:Philadelphia, Atlanta and Oklahoma City. The exercise was named "DarkWinter." Former Senator Sam Nunn played the president. Former WhiteHouse adviser David Gergen was his national security adviser. Former CIADirector James Woolsey was appropriately the CIA Director.Oklahoma Governor Frank Keating was also very appropriately theOklahoma Governor and so on.
"It became very obvious very quickly that we did not have enoughvaccine," Nunn, a former chairman of the Senate Armed ServicesCommittee, told me. "We did not have enough to take care of the threestates, let alone the whole country. The only way you can really headoff smallpox, which is highly contagious, unlike anthrax, which is notcontagious, is to vaccinate people who may have been exposed and put afire break around them. And the only other way, if you give out avaccine, which we did [in the exercise] after about two weeks, is toisolate people."
Nunn, like other participants in Dark Winter, concluded that the nationwas woefully unprepared for a bio-terrorist attack. That was, of course,before September 11. Nunn sees some silver lining in what he regards asa wakeup call to the American people and their elected leadership sincethen.
"We've lost our sense of invulnerability since September 11, but we havealso lost our sense of complacency," he said. "This is not just anattack on America; it is an attack on the world."
As dangerous as the current anthrax attacks are, Nunn and other expertsagree that other scenarios are much worse, beginning with smallpox. Whatespecially worries Nunn is the nuclear threat perhaps a small, crudenuclear device smuggled into the United States in a suitcase or atugboat. "I've been concerned about that for years and years," he said."It could happen. I don't think it is likely to happen, but if the oddsagainst that are a thousand to one, we want them 10,000 to one. And ifthey're 10,000 to one against it happening, we want it to be a millionto one."
That means working with other countries around the world especiallyRussia and the other states of the former Soviet Union. "That's where somuch material is in terms of material that is not up to our securitystandards," he said.
Nunn, who is now chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, which seeksto reduce the threat posed by nuclear weapons and other weapons of massdestruction. "We have a long way to go," he says. "And at the rate weare going, we are not going to get there for another 20-25 years in thesense of having that weapons grade material under safe and secureconditions."
The nightmare scenario is some disgruntled nuclear scientists might selltheir material and know-how to terrorists a scenario that is by nomeans remote. return to menu
2. A Chance to Avoid Nuclear Disaster
Los Angeles Times
October 28 2001
(for personal use only)
SANTA BARBARA The catastrophic terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 sent anurgent and long overdue wake-up call to America to take seriously thecontinuing efforts by terrorist groups to acquire nuclear weapons. Hadany of the attacks involved a nuclear device, we might now be discussingtens of thousands of fatalities, millions of casualties and potentialradiation victims, and trillions of dollars in collateral damage. Wewould also be discussing America's failure to take seriously Russia'slongstanding offer to sell its enormous under-secured nuclearstockpilesthe most likely source of terrorist nuclear capabilitytothe U.S. for use as fuel in nuclear power plants and other peacefulpurposes. Fortunately, a deal is in the works to secure Russia's "loosenukes" before they start slipping into terrorists' hands.
When the Soviet Union was breaking apart 10 years ago, many Americansexcitedly toasted the "end of the Cold War." Most Americans failed toask a crucial question: Wasn't the impending collapse of a nuclearsuperpower's entire social, political and economic system cause forconcern? A decade later, the discussion has definitively shifted fromhow much safer the world is now to how much more dangerous it hasbecome. The collapse of the Soviet system has revealed a nuclear weaponsinfrastructure without reliable controls, protections or accountability.Some 700 to 800 tons of highly enriched uranium (HEU) and 150 to 200tons of weapons-grade plutonium (WGP) are stored in makeshift warehousesprotected by five-dollar combination locks. The government has noaccounting system capable of keeping track of it all.
It would only take 15 to 20 pounds of HEU, or an even smaller amount ofWGP, to arm a device capable of leveling downtown Washington or lowerManhattan. The blueprints and non-nuclear components necessary to buildcrude but highly effective nuclear weapons are readily available. Smallamounts of stolen or diverted Russian HEU and WGP have already beenconfiscated by European law enforcement from sellers looking for buyers.The U.S. currently lists more than a dozen rogue states and terroristorganizations, including Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda, that are lookingfor sellers. If any of them get their hands on enough material to arm adevice, we won't be talking about a 30-minute warningwe may not getany warning at all. One could say we're already living on borrowed time.
Against this backdrop of loose nukes, rogue states, arms traffickers,and terrorist groups flush with cash has emerged one of the greatestopportunities of the post-Cold War era: buying Russia's excess nukes.For several years, Russia has been hinting that it would be interestedin selling its enormous stockpiles of excess weapons-grade uranium andplutonium to the United States for use as fuel in nuclear power plants.A deal was struck in 1993 by then-President Clinton and former Russianleader Boris N. Yeltsin for the United States to purchase all theuranium from the warheads Russia is dismantling in compliance with theStategic Arms Reduction Treaties. Extending this agreement to includethe rest of Russia's excess fissionable materials, including both HEUand WGP, would seem to be the next logical step in this process.Unfortunately, the idea has never caught fire on Capitol Hill, despite arelatively low $10-billion price tag.
A group of international financiers has now come forward offering tounderwrite the entire amount necessary to secure all of Russia's excessfissionable materials. The money would be raised in the form ofindependently issued, government-backed bonds. Just before Congressadjourned for its August recess, Sen. Pete V. Domenici (R-N.M.)introduced a bill that establishes a framework for how such atransaction might take place. Now Rep. Lois Capps (D-Santa Barbara) willintroduce a bill on the House side in the next few days. Under theDomenici bill's provisions, the U.S. government would guarantee loans toRussia in increments of $20 million, up to $1 billion at any one time,accepting Moscow's nuclear materials as security. For each $20-millionloan, Russia would place one metric ton of HEU and one metric ton of WGPunder International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) safeguards at a facilityin Russia that is mutually acceptable to both Russia and the IAEA. Aspart of the deal, Russia would guarantee that the materials placed underIAEA safeguards would remain there indefinitely, meaning until they aretransformed into nuclear fuel or otherwise permanently disposed of.Without unforeseen delays, this entire process could likely be completedwithin a decade.
The current proposal is not without flaws. Among them, the billcurrently sets an expiration date of Dec. 31, 2004, for extending newloans, failing to take into account the time frame necessary to completethe process under even optimal circumstances. And it puts a $1-billioncap on loans at any one timean obvious potential roadblock that couldbring the entire process to a halt should the Russians deliver thematerial to the IAEA-approved sites faster than it can be reprocessedand sold.
Still, Domenici's bill is a giant step forward, and it provides avaluable foundation for what should become the first major nuclear-armsreduction agreement of the 21st century. Moreover, it represents atremendous potential bargain for the American people, considering thatinternational investors would be financing virtually the entire deal.The only significant cost to the U.S. taxpayer would be $10 million ayear for the cost of administration in the U.S., and up to $15 million ayear to help cover the expenses of the IAEA. This should appeal even tothose members of Congress who are most reluctant to lend the Russiansmoney for anythingeven when their nuclear stockpiles are in jeopardy.If we let this opportunity slip away through inaction or partisanship,we will have no one to blame but ourselves when we run out of borrowedtime. return to menu
B. Nuclear Terrorism
1. The Real Danger Is Nuclear: The Big One
The New Republic
November 5, 2001
(for personal use only)
Runs on gas masks in major cities. Arguments about the relative efficacyof Cipro versus doxycycline. The House of Representatives temporarilyrelocating. As the war on terrorism enters its second month, fear offlying is giving way to fear of opening the mail.
Psychologically, it may be that society can only concentrate on onethreat at a time. But if that's the caseanthrax lettersnotwithstandingthe focus is in the wrong place. Biological weapons arebad, but so far none has ever caused an epidemic or worked in war. Andit is possible that none ever will: Biological agents are notoriouslyhard to culture and to disperse, while living things have gone throughfour billion years of evolution that render them resistant to runawayorganisms. Having harmed only a few people thus far, the anthrax scaremay tell us as much about bioterrorism's limitations as about itsdanger.
There is, on the other hand, a weapon that we know can kill in vastnumbers, because it already has: the bomb. If detonated in a majormetropolitan area, a crude atomic weaponof the sort that could becarried in a truck or SUVcould kill 100,000 people or more and renderthe vicinity uninhabitable for years. In Washington, D.C., such anattack would destroy democracy's seat and kill most of America'sleaders. Enemies of the United States probably have the technicalcapacity to make atomic weapons and have definitely tried to obtain thematerials necessary to build them. And we know that if they succeed,Cipro will be of no use whatsoever.
The leading atomic threat is Iraq, which has been pursuing weapons ofmass destruction throughout Saddam Hussein's ugly reign. Building atomicweapons essentially requires two things: engineering skill and a supplyof plutonium or enriched uranium. Iraq appears to have the first and hasmade repeated efforts to obtain the second.
A crude atomic bomb basically consists of conventional explosives timedto go off in such a way that two units of plutonium or enriched uraniumslam together, creating a chain reaction. That takes mathematical andengineering knowledge, but the basic process is no longer secret. A 1998report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace noted thatseveral college students have designed apparently workable models ofatomic bombs, using only information from open technical literature.(Nuclear fusion weapons or hydrogen bombs are far more powerful thanatomic bombsa single nuclear bomb might destroy all of Washington andkill millionsbut also far more complex, and therefore probably beyondthe reach of terrorists and rogue states. Most analysts believe that noteven atomic powers India and Pakistan have built nuclear bombs.)
According to the nonprofit Wisconsin Project on Nuclear Arms Control,documents obtained from Iraq after the Gulf war included designs for atleast two apparently workable atomic bombsone weighing around a ton,and the other a little more than half a ton. The apparent goal was abomb light enough to mount atop a Scud missile capable of strikingIsrael or Saudi Arabia. Currently Iraq has no missile able to reach theUnited States. But if Iraq could smuggle in the components, a half-tonbomb could be installed in an SUV, driven into Washington or Manhattan,parked, and detonated.
What is not known is whether Iraq has the plutonium or enriched uraniumto fuel its designs. But if Saddam lacks fissile material, it is not forlack of trying. His opening move was to build, near Baghdad, a"research" reactor whose true purpose was to generate fissile materialfor bombs. Israeli warplanes destroyed the reactor in 1981. (The UNgeneral assembly "strongly condemn[ed]" Israel for bombing a "peaceful"facility.) At the time, Iraq had obtained about 250 tons of uranium but,due to the reactor's destruction, it could not enrich it into a formusable in atomic weapons. Saddam has not tried to build another reactor,perhaps because he assumes that if one were built, Israel would attackagain. But he did begin exploring centrifuge technology. Centrifuges canenrich uranium without a reactor and can, in theory, operate in deepunderground bunkers secure against Israeli bombsand the pryingelectronic eyes of satellites. Whether Iraq currently has an enrichmentcentrifuge is unknown. Saddam effectively barred UN inspectors fromaccess to Iraqi weapons research almost four years ago and, since 1998,no UN inspector has entered the country.
In addition to producing fissile materials, Iraq may also have tried tobuy themin particular, from one of the former Soviet states. Accordingto the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, the former Sovietstates may contain as much as 20 tons of "surplus" plutonium and 500tons of surplus highly enriched uraniumenough to fashion thousands ofcrude bombs. The international community has not pressured Russia for aninventory of its surplus bomb materials, so no one knows how much may bemissing. The International Atomic Energy Agency has documented 16 theftsof fissile materials, but these are only cases in which the culpritshave been caught. "Of what iceberg are we seeing the tip?" asks MatthewBunn, a nuclear arms expert at Harvard.
Given this, it is hardly encouraging that earlier this year the Bushadministration proposed cutting $100 million from the program underwhich the United States provides advanced security at former Sovietnuclear weapons sites. Bush has also considered ending a nascent programunder which the United States would pay Russia to render plutoniuminutile for weapons use by burning it at atomic power plants. Thoughthe program is not without controversy, the chance that some of thisplutonium, unburned, could end up in the hands of someone like Saddamseems greater than the threat of Saddam making fissile materialshimself. The Wisconsin Project estimates that Iraq is at least fiveyears away from enriching enough uranium for an a-bomb, but couldassemble one "within weeks" of obtaining the materials on the blackmarket.
Besides the fissile materials, Saddam has been trying to obtain theother components necessary to construct a bombsometimes with the helpof our Western allies. Now that Iraq's oil export ban has beenessentially liftedthe United Nations allowed Iraq to sell $17 billionworth of petroleum last yearSaddam has cash and has been spending iton the high-tech market. In 1998 Iraq ordered from a German company sixlithotripsy devices, extremely expensive machines that treat kidneystones without surgery. Why did Iraq require lithotripsy when millionsof its citizens lack basic antibiotics? Presumably because thelithotripter employs an incredibly high-speed switch modeled on thehigh-speed switches in atomic warheads. Justified as a medical purchase,Iraq obtained eight of the switches, one in each machine plus twospares. Initially Iraq ordered 120 spare switches, a figure totallyunrelated to the normal operation of lithotripters, and one that shouldhave made Saddam's real purpose unmistakably clear. The German companybalked at the purchase order for 120 switches, but happily sold theeight.
While Iraq may be the state sponsor of terrorism most likely to developatomic weapons, it is not the only one trying. Iran is completingconstruction of a Russian-designed reactor in the port city of Bushehr.The purpose is ostensibly peaceful energy production, but it could alsobe used to enrich uranium. In an overlooked statement released just afew days before the September 11 attacks, the CIA reported that Iran isactively trying to build atomic warheads. Israeli officials estimatethat like Iraq, Iran is about five years away from being able to make ana-bomb. Lack of fissile materials seems to be Iran's main obstacle.
Then, of course, there is Al Qaeda. Here as well, the primary obstacleis obtaining the fissile materials. And, here as well, they are trying.In testimony widely ignored at the time, Al Qaeda member Jamal al-Fadlsaid in federal court last winter that he had helped Osama bin Laden'soperatives arrange meetings aimed at acquiring black market fissilematerials, probably from former Soviet states. The Wall Street Journalrecently reported that last spring a draft report on nuclearproliferation by the International Atomic Energy Agency said bin Laden'sgroup was "actively seeking" an atomic bomb.
If Al Qaeda or another terrorist group got its hands on plutonium orenriched uranium, it could do great harm even without the engineeringskills necessary to build an a-bomb. A simpler "radiologicaldevice"basically ground-up radioactive material entwined withexplosiveswould not flatten a city, but would spread so much falloutthat thousands or tens of thousands would eventually die from radiationsickness. It is likely that more Hiroshima deathsan estimated100,000resulted from eventual fallout sickness than from the blastitself. Health care has improved since Hiroshima, but there is nothing,like an antibiotic, for high radiation exposure: Physicians can onlymake you comfortable while you die.
One reason Americans may not worry about the atomic threat is that welived through a half-century of cold war nuclear standoff, and neitherWashington nor Moscow pushed the button. But much of the reason was"mutually assured destruction"the knowledge that if one side launched,it would also be hit. That logic might well prevent Saddam fromdirecting an atomic bomb at the United States or Israelbecause hewould know that the counterstrike would be horrific beyond words. (It isbelieved that during the Gulf war, Washington warned Saddam that if hegassed coalition troops, the United States would go nuclear; Iraq putits chemical weapons away.) But Saddam might try to escape retaliationby transferring a bomb to some hard-to-trace third partyAl Qaeda or asimilar groupfor anonymous use against the United States or Israel. Andnuclear deterrence may not work if the enemy can't be foundif theUnited States does not know what cave in Afghanistan bin Laden is hidingin, even nuclear warheads cannot kill him.
More important, nuclear deterrence only obtains if the other side isrational. And many terrorists are not; they actively court death. Indeedthere's an eerie sense that bin Laden is actually pleased that theUnited States is now bombing Afghanistan, because the ensuing civiliandeaths might spark the general conflict between Islam and the Westandamong Islamic countries themselvesthat he desperately desires. AnAmerican nuclear attack, by Al Qaeda's grizzly logic, might be evenbetter than an American conventional attack, since death would come bythe millions.
All of which leads to a series of deeply unpleasant choices. Should webegin bombing Iraq's weapons plants againjust in case one containsuranium enrichment centrifuges or other atomic hardware? Should Israelbomb Iran's reactor now, before it can make anything? If Iraq iscreating atomic materials in a reinforced underground facility, shouldwe use nuclear weapons to destroy the sites? (Nuclear force would be theonly way to be sure.) If we learn of a terrorist bomb being stored in asponsor nation such as Syria, should we attack? What if Pakistanwhichhas atomic weaponsfell to Taliban-like fundamentalists? Should weimmediately attack Pakistani installations?
In 1991 the first Bush administration let Saddam stay in power ratherthan extend the Gulf war. George H.W. Bush found it easier to postponethe tough choices and pretend that a nice-nice system of UN inspectionswould bring Iraq to heel. Through the 1990s, the Clinton administrationsimilarly put off any meaningful action against bin Laden or Saddam,instead firing cruise missiles into empty buildings and watching as theIraqi sanctions regime crumbled. But we know nowas we didn't beforeSeptember 11that our enemies will use whichever weapons they have attheir disposal. And that means we must expend greater effort, takegreater risk, and endure greater international condemnation to keep theultimate weapon out of our enemies' hands.
In retrospect, the United States was shockingly unprepared for theattack of September 11simple security steps might have prevented ahorror. If an atomic bomb someday explodes on American soil, inretrospect it may seem a thousand times more shocking that we did nottake other steps while there was time. We can no longer say we were notwarned. return to menu
2.Russian Experts Discuss Bin-Ladin's Possible Nuclear Plot
BBC Monitoring Service
October 28, 2001
(for deposit only)
Text of report by Russian Centre TV on 27 October
[Presenter Aleksey Pushkov] As you see, Bin-Ladin could obtain a nuclearcharge from many sources [reference to the previous item about nuclearpotential of Pakistan, India, Iran and Israel]. However, the Westernpress is given to think that, in case Bin-Ladin really possesses nuclearweapons, he got them from Russia rather than from Islamic countries. SeeAleksey Dubnov video report for details.
[Correspondent] While, according to some information, the Pentagon doesnot rule out precise nuclear strikes on Bin-Ladin's bases, pressarticles began to appear more and more often saying that the TerroristNumber One already has a nuclear device, at least a primitive one.
US intelligence says that Bin-Ladin and his people have been hunting fora nuclear bomb for a long time. They said more than once that thesearch for weapons of mass destruction was their duty. Moreover, expertssay that it is not so difficult to produce a home-made nuclear device.
[Vladimir Belous, captioned as leading research worker of the Instituteof International Economy and International Relations under the RussianAcademy of Sciences and Doctor of Military Sciences] I would give justone simple example. In 1975 a university student in America assembled anuclear device using only information from open sources. Expertsexamined it and said that, if the device was staffed with a fissilematerial, it could explode and cause serious damage.
Now foreign press is trying to prove that, if Al-Quidah really possessesa nuclear device, it must be of Soviet origin. In particular, `TheTimes' has said that Bin-Ladin's accomplices are trying to buy aportable nuclear device, namely a so-called nuclear rucksack allegedlycreated by Soviet specialists in the 1970s. It weighs just 30 kg andconsists of silver-zinc accumulators, a nuclear charge and a startingsource of neutrons.
[Well-known Russian military commander and politician, now KrasnoyarskTerritory governor] Aleksandr Lebed was the first to say that suchrucksacks could exist. In 1997, being a secretary of the [Russian]Security Council, he claimed that dozens or even hundreds of portableA-bombs had gone missing in early 1990s. The newspaper [`The Times']said that Gen Lebed had even named the weapon systems: RA-115 andRA-115-01.
Meanwhile, all this was refuted long ago not only by Russian but also byforeign experts. Even [well-known Russian environmentalist] academician[Aleksey] Yablokov, who once supported Lebed, later acknowledged thatthis was impossible.
Another source of nuclear terrorism might be illegal purchase ofradioactive materials. `The Times' says that the International AtomicEnergy Agency in Vienna confirmed hundreds of cases of nuclear smugglingafter the collapse of the USSR and draws a conclusion that, if a nuclearblack market really existed in the Soviet Union and in Russia, thanradioactive materials could have been bought by Bin-Ladin. However, suchmarket could exist in Iran, Iraq or some other country.
There are even more audacious theories. The Arab magazine Al-Watan joinsin the hysteria. It went as far that said that Bin-Ladin had struck abig deal in the beginning of 1999. The Chechen mafia allegedly obtainedfor him no less than 20 nuclear warheads for 30m dollars and two tonnesof opium.
However, it appears that foreign media that accuse us are guided by asimple assumption: if somebody has something and somebody else wantsthis, that second one always gets what he wants. Experts are laughing atthis, because in early 1990s all [Russian] tactical nuclear weapons wereevacuated deep inside Russia and placed to storage dumps managed by theRussian Defence Ministry.
[Belous] When this procedure was over, it was clearly and officiallystated that no nuclear charges had been stolen, lost anywhere or sold,as some politicians claimed. If this had happened, today we would bewell aware of this. It could not lay somewhere for such a long time notbeing used. In this case it would lose its combat capabilities. It mustbe stored under certain strictly determined conditions.
[Correspondent] Meanwhile, no complex nuclear device is necessary todisseminate panic, fear and chaos.
[Ivan Safranchuk, captioned as head of the Russian bureau of the centrefor military information,interviewed in his office] An explosion of some usual explosivesubstance mixed with radioactive materials would be enough. There wouldbe no chain reaction. There would be no A-bomb or H-bomb, just aconventional bomb in which some radioactive materials are used, but forthe public opinion, for the population this would be a nuclearexplosion.
[Pavel Felgengauer, captioned as independent military expert] If thishad happened in Manhattan, a certain part of Manhattan would become adeserted area for 1,000 years, like the town of Pripyat in the Chernobylzone [in Ukraine]. We tried to clean up Pripyat, but it is practicallyimpossible to clean up a modern city from radioactive dust. It isimpossible to find all grains of sand hidden somewhere. It would beimpossible to live there.
[Correspondent] Finally, experts say that another hijacked plane may betargeted at a nuclear facility. In this case the consequences would beeven more tragic than those of the attack on the World Trade Centre inNew York.
[broadcast at 1613 gmt; video shows archive footage of Islamic fighters;the interior of physics labs; experts commenting]
3. Terrorists Twice Tried to Approach Russian Nuclear Storage Facilities
October 26, 2001
(for personal use only)
Colonel General Igor Valynkin, the chief of the Defense Ministry'sadministration responsible for the Russian nuclear arsenal, said on 25October that terrorist groups twice this year attempted to gain accessto Russian nuclear munitions dumps, Russian news agencies reported. Thefirst attempt took place eight months ago and the second two monthslater. Valynkin said his agency successfully repulsed the groups and isnow putting additional security measures in place with the help of theUnited States. Valynkin said he does not exclude the possibility thatterrorist groups may directly attack nuclear installations but does notbelieve they will succeed if they do. VY return to menu
4. Bin Laden's Nuclear Threat
Philip Webster and Roland Watson
Times of London
October 26, 2001
(for personal use only)
OSAMA BIN LADEN and his al-Qaeda network have acquired nuclear materialsfor possible use in their terrorism war against the West, intelligencesources have disclosed. The Western sources say that the suspectedmastermind of the September 11 attacks on America does not have thecapability to mount a nuclear attack but fear he would do so if hecould.
They believe that he obtained the materials illegally from Pakistan,which has a nuclear capability.
The knowledge that bin Laden has components for a nuclear weapons devicein his arsenal is believed to lie behind the regular warnings fromPresident Bush and Tony Blair that he would commit worse atrocities thanthe suicide assaults on New York and Washington if he were able to.
They may also explain the speed with which the decision was taken to goafter bin Laden and his terrorist network, even if that meant topplingthe Taleban regime in Afghanistan first.
The disclosure comes as MPs prepare to learn today the details ofBritish troops earmarked for deployment to Afghanistan. They willinclude a commando group of about 1,000 Royal Marines, currently onexercise in Oman, as well as a large contingent of special forces andspecialist support units. The force will be based on ships that havealso been participating in the huge tri-Service exercise. They areexpected to include the aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious, stripped ofher Harrier jets so she can be used as a platform for helicopters, orHMS Ocean, a dedicated helicopter carrier, two anti-aircraft destroyersto protect the carrier, the assault ship HMS Fearless, and two RoyalFleet Auxiliary support vessels.
Yesterday Mr Blair sought to reassure Muslim leaders that the militaryaction in Afghanistan should be over as quickly as possible. He told theIslamic Response to Terrorism Conference in North London: "I hope youunderstand that what is important is that we make sure at the same timewe take the action necessary now in order to hold to account those whocommitted the actions of September 11."
There has been clear evidence for several years that bin Laden's agentshave been trying to buy, steal or smuggle nuclear systems in order toattack the West. He has said that it was his "religious duty" to seek toacquire chemical, biological and nuclear weapons of mass destruction.
An informed source has told The Times that bin Laden appeared to haveamassed a "terrifying" range of weapons although he was insistent thathe did not have the capacity to launch a nuclear attack.
Intelligence sources, however, have voiced concerns about bin Ladenobtaining radioactive material for a "dirty bomb". Rather than beingused in an atomic weapon, the material would be dispersed in a way thatwould seriously contaminate a small area. In an urban environmenthundreds of people could die and thousands more be exposed to radiationpoisoning.
In 1993 a senior bin Laden operative, Jamal al-Fadi, met a Sudanesemilitary commander in Khartoum to try to negotiate the sale of acylinder of enriched South African uranium for a black market price of$1.5 million (£1.2 million). A separate al-Qaeda attempt to buyweapons-grade nuclear material through the Russian mafia was foiled inPrague when several kilograms of highly enriched uranium were seized,according to a German TV report last week.
Earlier this week two former government nuclear scientists in Pakistanwere detained amid fears about their links with the Taleban. Bashiruddin Mahmood was project director in Pakistan's nuclear programmebefore its 1998 tests. Since retiring from the Pakistan Atomic EnergyCommission three years ago, he ran a group which carried out relief workin Afghanistan, and was known to be supportive of the Taleban. ChaudryAbdul Majid was a director of the commission in 1999.
Intelligence officials have long been aware of the potential forcontraband uranium to be turned into an atomic "suitcase bomb". Aneasier outcome is a radiological weapon a conventional weapon with aradioactive core which has the ability to contaminate large areas.
George Tenet, Director of the CIA, told the Senate IntelligenceCommittee last year that bin Laden was trying to obtain nuclearmaterials.
However, some are convinced bin Laden already has a nuclear capability.According to a book about the terrorist leader, The Man Who Declared Waron America, Chechen rebels facilitated the sale of nuclear suitcasebombs in the late 1990s from a range of former Soviet republicsincluding Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Russia.
Quoting Russian and Arab intelligence sources, the author, YossefBodansky, says that bin Laden's go-betweens paid the Chechens $30million in cash and gave them two tonnes of heroin with a Western streetvalue of up to $700 million for a number of bombs.
In 1998 bin Laden issued a statement entitled "The Nuclear Bomb ofIslam", which said: "It is the duty of Muslims to prepare as much forceas possible to terrorise the enemies of God." return to menu
5. No Terrorists Have Tried to Enter Russian Nuclear Weapons Stores - General Staff
BBC Monitoring Service
October 25, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian news agency Interfax
Moscow, 25 October: There have been no attempts by terrorists to getinside nuclear munitions depots, the Russian Defence Ministry saidThursday.
"There have been no attempts to get inside our sites. Terrorists haveonly tried to reconnoitre them," head of the 12th main department of theRussian Armed Forces General Staff Col-Gen Igor Volynkin has told thepress.
"We have taken a number of measures to upgrade the technical security ofthe sites," Volynkin said. "The United States has helped us a lot bysupplying advanced technical security means for our C sites [depots ofnuclear munitions - Interfax]," Volynkin said.
The 12th department supervises nuclear security in the Russian ArmedForces.
Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 1306 gmt 25 Oct 01 return to menu
6. Soviet-Era 'Suitcase Bombs' May Be in Terrorist Hands
October 25, 2001
(for personal use only)
"Kommersant-Daily" on 24 October reprinted a story in "The Times"reporting that there is growing concern that dozens of portable nuclearmunitions (the so-called "suitcase bombs") from the Soviet arsenal inthe 1970s may have disappeared and found their way into the hands ofinternational terrorist groups. Former Russian Security Council headAleksandr Lebed noted in 1997 that most of the more than 100 such"suitcase bombs" built had gone missing, describing them as "ideal forblackmail and terror" (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 23 September 1997).According to "Kommersant-Daily," agents of Osama bin Laden have tried toacquire such portable nuclear weapons, which were vulnerable to theft ordisappearance because they were at the disposal of the Soviet securityservices. In contrast, the Soviet conventional nuclear arsenal was wellguarded by the Soviet military. VY return to menu
7. How We Can Prevent a Nuclear Nightmare
October 24, 2001
(for personal use only)
DESPITE the panic-inducing attractions of chemical and biologicalweapons, terrorists have generally preferred blasts to bugs: blast ismore predictable, easier to deploy effectively, more likely to killlarge numbers in one go - and there are no antidotes.
The greatest danger is, therefore, not plague or anthrax but deploymentof the ultimate blast: nuclear.
Imagine the scenario. A small nuclear device is secretly assembled in amerchant ship, then detonated when the ship sails into New Yorkharbour. About a square mile is incinerated, and casualties are inseven figures. Afterwards, on the Al-Jazeera television network, binLaden gleefully promises that another device will be detonated inanother city if the US does not immediately cease all support forIsrael, remove its forces from the Middle East, hand over President Bushto the Taliban and convert its people to Islam.
What makes this scenario just about feasible is that the expertise andmaterials needed for making a nuclear bomb are available. They come fromtwo sources, and they have a common origin: the break-up of the oldSoviet Union after the Cold War.
In 1993, Russia was believed to possess about 32,000 nuclear warheadsand about 177 tons of weapons-grade plutonium. Since then, there hasbeen no reliable inventory of what has gone where, nor any proper recordof the nuclear materials distributed to research institutions.
There are also graveyards of Soviet nuclear submarines with fuel rodswhich, if re-processed, could provide plutonium for a bomb. And therehave long been reports that some of Russia's 3,000-odd underpaid andneglected nuclear weapons workers have sold off fissile material.
The other source of black-market nuclear proliferation is people ratherthan material.
In 1990, there were 1.6 million people working in Soviet science; thenthe money dried up and, a decade later, half of them were no longerinvolved or had disappeared. Some, it was reported, sold nuclear secretsor materials to Iran. Others sold their brains.
If a terrorist group has been able to put that expertise together withblack-market materials, we have the makings of a nightmare scenario.
The recent New York trial of some of those responsible for the 1998American embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania heard how the bin Ladennetwork tried to buy South African enriched uranium in the early 1990s.
They may well have succeeded since then. Uranium has become moreavailable rather than less, particularly in Pakistan and former Sovietstates.
Earlier this year, four men were arrested in the Black Sea port ofBatumi, Georgia, after police found 4lb of weapons-grade uranium intheir hotel room. Its final destination was not known.
The danger is probably more from expertise and materials that leaked afew years ago than from anything coming out of Russia now. Westernintelligence agencies alerted their governments to the problem early inthe last decade and managed to disrupt, divert or deny would-beproliferators.
The Americans have also intervened, either buying up dangerous materialor paying the Russians' disposal and decommissioning costs.
But, like counter-terrorism itself, counter-proliferation was always oneamong a number of competing priorities. Even if you threw all yourresources at the problem, you couldn't guarantee complete success -especially as the country most intimately concerned did not itself knowwhat was happening to all its constituent parts.
Although the theory of constructing a nuclear device is well known, itis actually quite difficult to make a working bomb. Our ill-wishers willkeep trying, however, and we should assume that one day they willsucceed. What can we do?
Three things. First, we must do all we can to delay or prevent them.That will take money, patience and determination, all of which will buytime for the second, parallel course of action.
This is the long-term political task of educating those states andgroups into some wider sense of political responsibility, making themfeel that the world community is something they are part of, rather thanapart from.
Third, anyone who dreams of committing nuclear terrorism must be made tobelieve that it would result in the destruction not only of themselves,but of everything for which they stand.
When the Iranians seized the American embassy hostages in Teheran, therewas a story that the Russian ambassador had sought urgent audience withthe Iranian government. He had one brief, brutal message from Moscow:"If anything happens to the Russian embassy, tomorrow there is noTeheran." Even if the story is apocryphal, you could believe, in thosedays, that the Russians really meant it.
A credible reputation for ruthlessness may not sit comfortably withWestern liberal self-perceptions and involve actions in apparentcontradiction to the political process- but it may also be one of thenecessities for survival. return to menu
C. US-Russia Relations
1. Second Chance With Russia
November 5, 2001
(for personal use only)
The monstrous events of September 11 have given the United States asecond historic chance, after the squandered opportunity of the 1990s,to establish a truly cooperative relationship with post-CommunistRussia. Such a relationship is essential for coping with today's realsecurity dangers, which exceed those of the cold war and make the UnitedStates so vulnerable that even it can no longer meaningfully beconsidered a "superpower." Indeed, both the decay of Russia's nuclearinfrastructure since 1992 and the "low-tech, high-concept" attacks onAmerica in September may be omens of an unprecedented dark age ofinternational insecurity. None of its dangers can be dealt witheffectively without Russia, the world's only other fully nuclearizedcountry and its largest crossroad of civilizations.
President Vladimir Putin's agreement to cooperate with Washington'smilitary campaign against terrorism, specifically in neighboringAfghanistan, opens the way to such a relationship, but it will requiremajor revisions in US policies that existed before September 11. Thoseunwise steps had led to a Russia seething with anti-American sentimentand a cold peace between the former cold war rivals. They included theClinton Administration's policies of virtually imposing shock-therapyeconomic measures, along with crushing foreign debt, on Moscow in thename of "reform"; violating a US promise to the Kremlin in 1990-91 notto expand NATO eastward; and bombing Serbia, Russia's fellow Slavnation.
During its first eight months in office, the Bush Administration alsobased its policy on the prevailing myopic notion that "Russia no longermatters." Disdaining serious negotiations with Moscow, it declared itsintention to push NATO all the way to Russia's borders by including theformer Soviet republics of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, and tounilaterally abrogate the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, whichMoscow considers vital to its nuclear security.
Despite grudging applause for Putin's decision to participate in the USantiterrorism campaign, there is no sign of any American official ormedia rethinking of these policies. (It does not seem to matter, forinstance, that since September 11 Russia has become more important to USobjectives than are most NATO members.) There are instead reaffirmationsof those policies and dire editorial warnings against making anysubstantial concessions in return for Moscow's participation,particularly in regard to the Kremlin's brutal war in Chechnya.
But it is unlikely that Putin can stay the American course againstterrorism without significant US concessions, if only because he issurrounded by political elites deeply distrustful of Washington andunhappy with his decision. They are already reminding him of thedespised "Gorbachev-Yeltsin syndrome"a pattern of far-reaching Russianconcessions in the 1980s and 1990s that were met only by broken Westernpromises and aggrandizement. They are warning, for example, that theBush Administration will transform permission to use bases in Uzbekistaninto a permanent US military presence in former Soviet Central Asia;exploit Russian assistance in Afghanistan to install a pro-Americanregime in Kabul; and use the "coalition" to settle accounts with Iraq, amove long opposed by Moscow.
Nor is a softening of US opposition to the Chechen war, which has alwaysbeen mostly rhetorical, high on Putin's list of needed concessions. Ofmuch greater importance are NATO expansion (few people on either sidetake seriously the talk of Russian membership), the ABM treaty andMoscow's inability to invest in its ravaged economy and impoverishedpeople while servicing its foreign debt of some $165 billion.
US policy changes on all three issues are both necessary and desirable.Can we really expect Moscow to support NATO's war against terrorismwhile that same cold war alliance is creeping toward Russia? Can weexpect Moscow, whose defense budget is only some 15 percent ofWashington's, to bear the costs of military cooperation in Afghanistanand possibly elsewhere without debt relief? And can the White House askthe Kremlin to trust its intentions after the United States no longerneeds Russian help while continuing to refuse to negotiate on missiledefense and the ABM Treaty?
Still more, all of these "concessions" would be in America's long-termnational interest. A Russia whose Western borders are menaced by NATO,whose nuclear security is undermined by US strategic unilateralism andwhose economy is in bondage to Western debt will eventually respond bydoing what the United States should hope it will not doby seekingreliable allies in the East, by further overloading its decrepit nuclearinfrastructures with more weapons and by selling more arms to statesWashington has accused of sponsoring terrorism.
Thus the events of September 11 confront George W. Bush with not one buttwo historic challengesto defend America from unprecedented dangersand to develop an unprecedented relationship with Russia. Properlyunderstood, they are inseparable. return to menu
2. Eliminate the Tools of Future Terrorism
Mikhail S. Gorbachev
(for personal use only)
TWO WEEKS AGO marked the anniversary of the historic exchange of mutualcommitments between the United States and the Soviet Union on nuclearde-alerting and disarmament. Together, these commitments amount to oneof the deepest and most comprehensive programs to reduce the nuclearthreat to date.
I am reminded of the importance of these historic Soviet-Americanagreements by the tragedies of Sept. 11. My first reaction to theattacks on the United States was to send a cable to President Bushexpressing my profound condolences and feelings of solidarity with theAmerican people. These terrible crimes were committed not only againstthe United States but against all humankind, which is now facing anunprecedented challenge.
Only by common efforts will we be able to find the effective response tothis challenge. Included in any long-term response must be a thoughtfulanalysis of the root causes of violence, fanaticism, and terrorism, anda strategy for dealing with them. It must be responsible, wise, andeffective.
The tragedy of Sept. 11 was a heartbreaking reminder of the fragility oflife and civilization. Like the Chernobyl disaster of 1986, it shouldmake us think hard about the dangers posed by today's society, inparticular weapons of mass destruction.
The detonation of just one nuclear warhead equals the impact of 100Chernobyl explosions. We must work together in reducing this ultimatedanger, especially now during this time of crisis and uncertainty. Itherefore encourage efforts to control the threat of nuclear weapons,too many of which are still intact more than 10 years after the end ofthe Cold War, still on alert within minutes of launch.
Indeed, one of my greatest regrets and concerns is that the decade ofthe 1990s was not used effectively to do away with the political,military, and environmental legacies of the Cold War. The opportunitiesopened up by the end of that decades-long confrontation were missed; toooften, the inertia of Cold War thinking defined the actions of ourpolitical leaders. Not nearly enough was done to redirect the resourcesof the world's leading powers to essential preventive tasks such asbridging the gap between rich and poor nations, healing the environment,feeding the impoverished, and keeping peace between potential enemies.Herein lie the roots of today's extremism.
I believe the steps that former President George Bush and I took 10years ago to take nuclear weapons off high alert and to securereductions in nuclear stockpiles can serve as a model for action today.A good place for both nations to start would be to abandon the Cold Warpolicy of launch-on-warning.
If the United States and Russia were to stand down the thousands ofnuclear weapons they still maintain on hair-trigger status, it would bea major step toward reducing the threat of nuclear war.
The time has come to relegate to the past the Cold War mind-set anddismantle the dangerous apparatus that it created. Let us remember thatthe United States and Russia are under the obligation they assumed bysigning the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to eventually eliminate andabolish all nuclear weapons.
I attach equal importance to unilateral arms-reduction commitments andto bilateral and multilateral disarmament treaties. It would be a causeof great concern if major nuclear powers abandoned or neglectedmultilateral forums, or took steps that would endanger the entirestructure of arms control treaties, many of which, such as the 1972 ABMTreaty, are of as much value today as they were during the decades ofnuclear confrontation.
Nuclear powers should display special responsibility setting an examplefor the rest of the world and avoiding any steps that might lead to theproliferation of weapons of mass destruction. I address this request toall nuclear powers, not just Russia and the United States. It is timefor the nuclear powers to reconsider their positions and to join theComprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
In my role as president of Green Cross International, I have continuedto build upon the work we began with the INF, SALT, and START treaties,the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the 1991 unilateral commitments ofthe United States and Russia.
Our organization has been a key player in the United States and inRussia to eliminate the threat of chemical weapons, to build newcoalitions to facilitate their environmentally safe dismantlement, andto help encourage public engagement in the disarmament process. Now weare expanding our work toward reducing the threat of nuclear weapons,the single greatest environmental threat we face.
We will also need international institutions like the United Nations toplay a much greater role if we are to deal successfully with the threatsand challenges we are facing in this new century. But first andforemost, we must use this historic opportunity of heightened publicawareness and concern to continue on the path toward the ultimateabolition of all weapons of mass destruction - nuclear, chemical, andbiological - before they abolish us. return to menu
3. Russia Plays Down U.S. Missile Decision
Susan B. Glasser and Peter Baker
October 27, 2001
(for personal use only)
MOSCOW, Oct. 26 Russian officials and analysts today called the U.S.decision to suspend missile defense testing a promising sign thatindicated the two nuclear powers could reach a landmark arms agreementnext month, but the Kremlin took care not to invest too much meaning inthe move.
Although Washington's postponement of two tests was seen as a gesture inresponse to Russian cooperation in the fight against terrorism, Russianlawmakers and analysts said it would be meaningful only if itforeshadowed greater concessions at next month's summit meeting betweenPresidents Bush and Vladimir Putin in Texas.
"We welcome the announcement of the defense secretary of the UnitedStates and assume this might be the first swallow," Dmitri Rogozin, headof the international affairs committee of the State Duma, the lowerhouse of parliament, said in an interview.
"It's a very important and significant move from the U.S. administrationat this sensitive moment," said Andrei Kokoshin, former secretary of theRussian Defense Council. "This is important not just from the point ofview of negotiations on [missile defense] and Russian-Americanrelations. It's important also as a demonstration of U.S. willingness tocomply with existing treaties and to be a country that observesinternational law."
Yet if the test delays were intended as consideration for Putin's helpin rallying support for the war in Afghanistan, the Russian presidentchose not to play it that way. Far from trumpeting it as a victory forhis stance against a U.S. antimissile system, Putin did not even commenton the decision today; nor did his aides or ministers of defense orforeign affairs. And state television made no mention of it on tonight'sbroadcasts. The only public remark was a statement praising a separatecongressional measure supporting the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty of1972.
The silence represented a significant shift in the dynamics of themissile defense debate. In the months leading up to the Sept. 11terrorist attacks on the United States, Russia wasted few opportunitiesto inveigh against the Bush plan or promote its perceived deficiencies.
Now Putin appears serious about finding a compromise, possibly duringhis first official trip to the United States, scheduled for Nov. 12-14,when he will meet with Bush in Washington and travel to the president'sranch in Crawford, Tex. Putin reported progress in their discussionsduring this week's meeting in Shanghai on the sidelines of anAsia-Pacific economic summit.
"Both presidents are prepared to make the meeting in Crawford a success,and success means compromise," said Lilia Shevtsova, an analyst at theCarnegie Moscow Center, a research organization. "They will find a wayfor the United States to experiment with missile defense while alsosaving Russia's face on the treaty. They will save face and keep theirrapprochement, because neither president can afford to fail just now."
Despite Putin's upbeat assessment in Shanghai, U.S. officials saidlittle tangible movement had occurred behind closed doors. Putin's toppriority is to win deep mutual cuts in strategic nuclear warheads, whichRussia can no longer afford. Bush sounds willing to move toward Putin onthis issue but has insisted on scrapping the ABM Treaty, while Putin hasagreed only to consider amending it to accommodate limited testing.
Russian politicians were quick to see the Pentagon's new position as anacceptance of Putin's premise that the ABM Treaty should be updatedrather than scrapped.
"I wouldn't call it a concession; I would call it an improvement inunderstanding," said Anatoly Kulikov, a former Russian interiorminister. "Unilateral withdrawal from ABM is not the best variant forensuring security for the United States in the first place. Butcertainly, after 30 years, some amendments are necessary."
Perhaps even more pressing for Moscow is Russia's huge Soviet-era debt.In a phone call Thursday, according to Russian news agencies, Secretaryof State Colin L. Powell told Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov that the Bushadministration might back a deal in which debts would be written off sothe money could fund Russian nonproliferation and nuclear securityprograms.
U.S. Ambassador Alexander Vershbow sounded optimistic that a pact couldbe finalized by next month, noting the "extraordinary transformation inthe relationship," that has brought the countries closer than any timesince World War II. The Shanghai meeting, he said in an online newsconference today, "opened the way for a possible agreement, perhaps asearly as Putin's visit to the United States, on a complex of issuesrelating to strategic offensive and defensive arms." return to menu
4. A Brave New Russia
Edward Lozansky and Paul Weyrich
October 26, 2001
(for personal use only)
Recent dramatic moves by Russian President Vladimir Putin towards arapprochement with the United States and NATO in our opinion can becompared on a geopolitical scale with the far-reaching impact that thecollapse of communism had in 1991.
Secretary of State Colin Powell is talking about seismic changes in U.S.- Russian relations while in Moscow a communist newspaper denounced Mr.Putin as an enemy who was a thousand times worse than Boris Yeltsin.
This is hardly disputable for any die-hard communist if you look at Mr.Putin's deeds, not just his words. He has demonstrated real leadership,pulling Russia to support the United States and providing more help thanmany traditional American allies in what seems to be the most importantinternational battle of the 21st century. Mr. Putin delivered CentralAsian republics to the antiterrorist coalition, closed the massiveeavesdropping facility at Lourdes in Cuba and a similar one in Vietnam,and has made strong overtures to NATO. This is what is known publicly,but we are sure that there are many other classified matters, which willmake the above list even more impressive. One could say withoutexaggeration that Russia under Mr. Putin has become a de facto Americanally, as it had been during World War II.
Well, this is great and Americans are applauding, but what aboutRussians? So far we do not hear too much about any comparable Americanmoves and this is terribly wrong because in the world of politics youcannot have a one-way street all the time. Mr. Putin is popular inRussia and he has a strong majority in the Duma, unlike Mr. Yeltsin,whose popularity quickly waned after l993. Mr. Putin's move toward theWest, however, is not without risk for him, especially if oil pricesremain depressed for much longer. The Russians are a very patient peoplebut there is a limit to their patience. There are demagogic elementsinside Russia ready and willing to blame Mr. Putin's shift to the Weston any problems which may come up. One headline in a Russian newspapersaid: "Putin joins the West, Russia may follow later."
May or may not depends on our reciprocity and the United States needs tolook at things we can do which will give Mr. Putin some breathing room.Clearly it is in the American national interest to keep Russia on itsside not only in the fight against radical Islamic fundamentalists buton a more permanent basis. And the Russian people must understand thatbeing an American ally brings substantial dividends.
One could start with the matter of the foreign debt, which Russiainherited from the Soviet Union. This debt goes back many decades andmost of it is owed to Europe and not the United States. The country andits European allies should either write it off or restructure it in sucha way that it is not a burden for Russia, or follow the example ofSpain, which agreed to turn its portion of the Soviet debt intoinvestment.
Second, we should find a more positive approach to one of the mostcontroversial issues, which is America's intended development anddeployment of the ballistic missile defense system (BMD). We are strongsupporters of this initiative but from our point of view, the best wayto deal with it is by engaging Russia in the BMD development. It is nosecret that there are still serious and widespread doubts about theeffectiveness of the present U.S. version of BMD. It is also broadlyunderstood that, despite all the difficulties of the last ten years,Russia's scientific potential, especially in the area of pioneeringresearch in physics (such as laser technologies that can be used inmissile defenses), is among the best in the world. Therefore, we believethat cooperation between Russian and American scientists, withappropriate financial support from the American side, would not onlyensure the workability of the new defense system, but also certify thatthis system would not pose a threat to the national security of Russia.
Our preliminary contacts with the Russian Academy of Sciences and someDuma deputies indicate that such an idea will have wide support inRussian society, and once Congress and the U.S. government come uppublicly with such an initiative, this support will be much stronger.
Third, we should start serious discussions and negotiations on closeNATO Russia collaboration. This would include working out a jointthreat analysis and a joint NATO-Russia strategic concept and developingjoint contingency planning between the Western and Russian militaries.We should also seriously consider taking Mr. Putin up on his commentabout Russia joining NATO, in order to see if there is any chance ofagreement with him on practical terms and in any case, taking the onusoff NATO for having previously dismissed the idea out of hand.
We have mentioned only three starting proposals to the Bushadministration but this list should be much longer and we invite theWhite House, Congress, as well as experts and American public to come upwith other good ideas.
Many undertakings in the history of the U.S.-Russian relations did notseem viable when they were just beginning, but they were the ones thateventually brought the most serious changes into world politics. In thepast, the United States has sought alliances with nations and used theirleaders only to leave them high and dry at the moment of truth. The Shahof Iran comes immediately to mind. We cannot let this happen to Mr.Putin. The man is taking remarkable risks these days. He even invitedthe pope to visit Russia, which if you have followed the issue, makesthe Russian Orthodox patriarch foam at the mouth. Mr. Putin is day byday proving himself to Mr. Bush and other Western leaders and we musttake advantage of this remarkable development.
Edward Lozansky is president of the American University in Moscow. PaulWeyrich is president of the Free Congress Foundation. return to menu
D. Russia-Iran Cooperation
1. Israel: Russia Understands Our Stand
October 24, 2001
(for personal use only)
Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Natan Sharansky said Wednesday that he hadfound understanding among Russian officials for Israel's tough stancetoward the Palestinians, but that there was still a strong dividebetween the two countries over providing military technology to Iran.
``Israel expects tougher steps from Russia to step up control over theflow of technologies to countries such as Iran,'' Sharansky was quotedas saying by the Interfax news agency. ``Although certain progress hasbeen made here, we believe that Russia can do much more.''
The United States and Israel have voiced concern over Russia's ties withIran, saying they may lead to the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia agreed in March to provide Tehran with dlrs 7 billion worth ofarms over the next several years. Moscow says it would only supplydefensive weapons and promises to avoid sending any dual-purposetechnology that may help Iran develop its nuclear weapons program.
There is also concern in Israel and the United States that a nuclearpower plant Russia is building in Iran may help Tehran develop nuclearweapons and say Iran has already received some missile know-how fromRussia. Russia has dismissed the allegations.
Sharansky met Wednesday with President Vladimir Putin and on Tuesdaywith Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov. He also held a series of meetingswith Russian Jewish community leaders and gave several interviews toRussian media in which he defended Israel's position.
Both Russia and the United States are concerned by the latest round ofIsraeli-Palestinian violence that included the assassination of anationalist Israeli Cabinet minister and Israeli incursions intoPalestinian-controlled areas.
In his meeting with Sharansky, Ivanov ``noted the importance ofactivating efforts for the soonest reduction of tension, overcoming thePalestinian-Israeli consultation on the basis of fulfilling the Mitchellplan,'' the Foreign Ministry said in a statement issued Wednesday.
Sharansky told a news conference that ``any talks with the Palestiniansat the moment would be a concession to terrorism,'' Interfax reported.
He said that the Russian side had ``shown understanding'' on this issue,Interfax said.
But a group of Russian legislators who recently visited the Middle Eastsharply criticized Israel on Wednesday.
In a statement, legislators Pavel Burdukov, Nikolai Bezborodov andViktor Cherepkov said the Israeli army shouldimmediately withdraw from the Palestinian territories. return to menu
E. Plutonium Disposition
1. "Hodges: Moving plutonium creates target for terrorists"
James T. Hammond and Tim Smith
October 27, 2001
(for personal use only)
COLUMBIA Gov. Jim Hodges on Friday accused the U.S. Department ofEnergy of "creating a new target for terrorism" as it packages plutoniumfor shipment at Rocky Flats, Colorado, in anticipation of sending thedeadly weapons material to South Carolina.
"DOE should not be gambling with the safety and welfare of our citizens.Given the risks of terrorism, this is not the time to be moving highlyradioactive material across the nation's highways. Given the lack of adisposition plan to process the highly dangerous material, it makes nosense for plutonium to be dumped indefinitely in South Carolina," Hodgeswrote to Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham.
DOE spokesman Joe Davis said Abraham would respond officially to Hodges'letter.
But he added that DOE has not changed its position.
"We have consistently maintained that we have an agreement that we wouldlet the state of South Carolina know if we intend to transportmaterials. We have continued with our packaging operations at RockyFlats in preparation for transport, but we are not close to shipment,"Davis said.
"We will abide by our agreement, and try to get resolution of theplutonium issues at Savannah River Site," Davis said.
Hodges is renewing his public opposition to the plutonium shipmentsafter a hiatus caused by the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on Washingtonand New York. He cited reports that DOE intends to immediately beginloading plutonium onto trucks at Rocky Flats for transportation to SouthCarolina.
His previous opposition was based primarily upon suspicions that theBush Administration wanted to abandon a Clinton Administration pledge tobuild plutonium disposal facilities and create new jobs at SRS. ButHodges now sees a new danger in the shipments. He wrote to Abraham thatmerely moving the material represented an unacceptable risk in the wakeof the terrorist attacks.
"DOE is pursuing a reckless policy that could endanger the lives andcitizens in as many as 20 states. By trucking this volatile materialacross the thousands of miles of America's highways, you are creating anew target for terrorism," Hodges wrote.
Hodges cited assurances by Undersecretary Robert Card on August 27 thatthe plutonium would not be moved until DOE and South Carolina leadersagreed upon "a clear exit strategy" to ensure the plutonium is eitherconverted to commercial nuclear fuel or immobilized for future permanentburial.
"Preparations to ship plutonium suggests Undersecretary Card and othermember of your staff are not acting in good faith on their promises toSouth Carolina," Hodges wrote.
On August 23, Card abruptly ended talks with Gov. Hodges'representatives, saying their discussions were fruitless so long asHodges threatened to use Highway Patrol Troopers to block the plutoniumshipments to South Carolina.
On August 24, Card met in Washington with House Speaker David Wilkinsand Lt. Gov. Bob Peeler, and told them DOE would suspend the plutoniumshipments until state and federal officials agreed upon a long-termstrategy for plutonium disposal that was acceptable to all sides.
DOE previously had said it hoped to start the shipments by mid-October.
Meanwhile Friday, SRS officials, who have been largely mum on securitymeasures at the complex since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,acknowledged they have shut down public access to their computer website and increased security checkpoints.
Bill Taylor, a DOE spokesman at SRS, said the site also had createdvehicle-free zones around some buildings, added security personnel andincreased briefings with state and federal law enforcement agencies. Hesaid he could not provide any further details about the securitychanges.
The web site did not contain classified data, Taylor said, but didcontain general information about what goes on at the complex and a mapof the facility.
SRS is expected to share in some of the $40 billion in emergency aidapproved by Congress following the Sept. 11 attacks, Taylor said, tohelp pay for added security measures. He said he did not know how muchmoney SRS would receive.
SRS now uses about 700 private security personnel. A report earlier thismonth by a Washington-based government watchdog group criticized thesecurity system at SRS and nine other nuclear weapons sites, saying thejob of protecting the materials should be handed to military units. return to menu
F. Nuclear Waste
1. Russian Atomic Ministry: No Plans to Bury Nuclear Waste
BBC Monitoring Service
October 27, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian news agency ITAR-TASS
Moscow, 26 October: The Russian Atomic Energy Ministry said in astatement today it had no plans for burying irradiated nuclear waste ofeither Russian or foreign origin.
The ministry issued the statement in a reaction to media reports thatquoted a certain group, Ekozashchita (Ecology Defence), as saying thatwork had been underway since 1998 to build a nuclear waste burial sitesome 25 to 30 km away from the Krasnoyarsk-26 nuclear centre.
The ministry press-service confirmed that research had started on agranitoid geological platform, close to Krasnoyarsk-26, in 1992 to findareas for building reliable burials of radioactive waste.
But the project envisioned that solidified radioactive productsresulting from nuclear waste recycling would be buried there uponarrival from a new waste utilization facility in Siberia.
The ministry stressed that the project had nothing to do with irradiatednuclear fuel.
"It fully meets international standards for the use of stable geologicalformations for long-term storage of hazardous waste," the ministry said.
Source: ITAR-TASS news agency, Moscow, in English 1418 gmt 26 Oct 01 return to menu
2. Environmentalists Protest Shipment of Spent Nuclear Fuel Across Ukraine.
October 26, 2001
(for personal use only)
Five Russian environmental groups on 25 October appealed to theUkrainian parliament and President Leonid Kuchma to halt plans totransport some 40 tons of spent nuclear fuel in a train from Bulgaria'sKozlodui power plant to Russia through Ukraine, AP reported. Theenvironmental organizations said in an open letter that half of allnuclear fuel accidents occur during transportation. "At present, themovement of nuclear materials outside nuclear power plants creates thepossibility for terrorist attacks," they noted. The shipment wasauthorized by a 1997 agreement among Ukraine, Russia, Moldova, andBulgaria. JM return to menu
3. Duma Keeps Nuclear Waste Opponents Off Commission
October 25, 2001
(for personal use only)
The Duma on 24 October voted to name as its five members of the specialcommission that will oversee the importation of nuclear wastes onlydeputies who supported the measure in the parliament, Interfax reported.As a result, representatives of the Union of Rightist Forces (SPS) andYabloko were kept off and protested their exclusion. Meanwhile,activists opposed to the importation of such nuclear wastes staged aprotest by lying down across the tracks of the Trans-Siberian railway atmany points along its path, the news service reported. The Duma on 24October voted 358 in favor to one against on first reading for anamnesty that would release approximately 24,000 inmates from Russianprisons, Russian and Western agencies reported. The amnesty would coverconvicts who committed crimes while minors, women with underage ordisabled children, pregnant women, women over 50, and some inmates withdiseases. Those in these categories convicted of murder, rape,terrorism, or other grave crimes would not qualify for the amnesty. PG return to menu
G. Nuclear Safety
1. Lithuania Practising Evacuation, Protection of Civilians in Emergency Situations
BBC Monitoring Service
October 23, 2001
(for personal use only)
Text of report in English by Russian AVN Military News Agency web site
Vilnius, 23 October: A practice of organizing civilians' evacuation andprotection in an emergency situation at the Ignalina nuclear power plantstarted on Tuesday [23 October], Arunas Sukta, deputy director of theNational Defence Ministry civil protection department, toldInterfax-Military News Agency.
The exercise involves over 300 students of secondary education schoolsin Vilnius, Zarasai and Ignalina Districts. It aims to practiseinteraction of ministries and agencies in the event of an emergency. Thetraining was arranged beforehand, Sukta said.
The previous exercise of that kind took place here in 1999 but stoppedat the evacuation stage. During the current training its participantsare to practise the complete set of measures that are to be taken in anemergency. The exercise will end on Wednesday.
Source: AVN Military News Agency web site, Moscow, in English 1502 gmt23 Oct 01 return to menu
H. Russian Nuclear Power Industry
1. Ukrainian Foreign Minister, EBRD Discuss Funds for New Nuclear Reactors
BBC Monitoring Service
October 24, 2001
(for personal use only)
Kiev, 24 October: During today's meeting with Ukrainian Foreign MinisterAnatoliy Zlenko, who is now on an official visit to the United Kingdom,the first vice president of the European Bank for Reconstruction andDevelopment [EBRD], Noreen Doyle, welcomed the Ukrainian government'ssteps and measures to reform the economy.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry told UNIAN that it was noted during themeeting that the EBRD continues to be willing to fruitfully cooperatewith the Ukrainian side.
For his part, Zlenko said that Ukraine has fulfilled all therequirements to receive the loan package approved by the EBRD board ofdirectors to complete the construction of two reactors at the Rivne andKhmelnytskyy nuclear power plants. In particular, the Chernobyl nuclearpower plant has been completely shut down; a Ukrainian nuclearregulation agency has been set up; cooperation between Ukraine and theInternational Monetary Fund has been resumed under the Extended FacilityFund programme; and Ukraine's debt to the Paris Club of creditors hasbeen restructured.
"We are not asking for money but are proposing that the EBRD finance theprojects, which are vital for Ukraine and profitable for the EBRD,"Zlenko said. This has to do, among other things, with the completion ofthe construction of reactors at the Rivne and Khmelnytskyy nuclear powerplants; the construction of a Eurasian oil transport corridor, inparticular, its Odessa-Brody line; and the introduction of energy-savingtechnologies.
"Ukraine now awaits appropriate actions by the EBRD," Zlenko said. Doyleassured Zlenko that as soon as the EBRD receives permission from creditand export agencies [as received], in particular, the USA, France andSpain, the EBRD will be ready to grant Ukraine 215m dollars in loans tocomplete the construction of reactors at the Rivne and Khmelnytskyynuclear power plants. According to Doyle, this will be the EBRD'slargest ever loan.
[Passage omitted: Background information - covered in earlier reports]
Source: UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1415 gmt 24 Oct 01 return to menu
1. OVER 200 ACTIVISTS WENT ON RUSSIA'S LARGEST RAILROAD TO PROTEST NUCLEAR WASTE TRANSPORTS
October 25, 2001
PRESS-RELEASE Moscow, October 25, 2001
Additional information: +7(095) 278-46-42, 776-65-46 - Vladimir Slivyak, ECODEFENSE! 124-79-34, 124-71-78 - Victoria Kolesnikova, press-service of the Socio-Ecological Union
OVER 200 ACTIVISTS WENT ON RUSSIA'S LARGEST RAILROAD TO PROTEST NUCLEAR WASTE TRANSPORTS Anti-nuclear action day marked with demonstrations in 8 cities locatedon the Trans-Siberian railroad of Russia
Russian environmental groups in 8 cities across the country went to protest transportation of nuclear waste on October 24. National action day was initiated and sponsored by ECODEFENSE! and Socio-Ecological Union, environmental groups fighting to stop governmental plan aimed at import of nuclear waste on commercial basis.
Actions took place in cities of Yaroslavl, Ekaterinburg, Novosibirsk, Tomsk, Blagoveschensk, Belogorsk, Birobidzhan and Ussuriysk. Everywhere actions were not permitted by authorities but widely supported by local citizens. Protesters went to railroad stations, bridges and offices of responsible governmental agencies to demonstrate the opposition to planned import of nuclear waste to Russia.
In Ekaterinburg city, center for Ural region and 3th largest Russiancity, activists staged protest on the railroad that lasts from Moscow toVladivostok in the Far East. "We stand right on the road today to showwe are ready to block it anytime nuclear waste transport would arrive",- activists from Movement against violence and Ural Ecological Unionstated.
In Novosibirsk city, political center for Siberia, "Siberian Scientistsfor Global Responsibility" climbed up the bridge of Trans-Siberianrailroad to put up the banner "Trans-Sib is nuclear free zone!"
In four of the Far East' cities activists went to the railroad stationsto make demonstrations and collect signatures under appeal to Russianpresident. In the appeal it's demanded that Russian nuclear industry'plan to import nuclear waste be cancelled immediately.
Ministry of atomic power (Minatom) pretend to import about 20,000 ton ofspent nuclear fuel from different countries to make up to $20 billionfor own survival. This plan would cause up to 670 nuclear transports, or1-2 transports each week during 10 years.
Last week, ECODEFENSE! disclosed information on Minatom' plan totransport 41 ton of spent nuclear fuel from Bulgaria to Russia duringOctober 2001. This attempt violates several legislative acts onlicensing and environmental expertize. Participants of October 24 Actionday demanded from Russian president to stop such illegal activity ofnuclear industry. "After President approved the legislation allowing theimport of nuclear waste, he is personally responsible for security ofthe nation and have no right to be inactive", - anti-nuclear group saidin their statement.
October 24 action organizers are: Siberian Scientists for GlobalResponsibility, Youth environmental club, Tomsk Environmental StudentInspection, Youth for sustainable development of Siberia, Amur'Socio-Ecological Union, Druzhina for environmental protection (DOP) ofthe Yaroslavl' State University, DOP "Bars", DOP "Berkut", DOP"Ussuriysky bear", DOP "Taiga", Committee for workers international,Green Branch, Movement against violence, Ural ecological union. return to menu