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26 October 2011


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William R. Cumming

Thanks for the reminder. No military use under any theory for NUKES but great for political use in diplomacy. Wonder why no collapse of N.Korea or invasion as opposed to several other countries like Iraq and Libya and possibly Syria and Iran. NO NUKES in those countries invaded so far.

What few realize is how deeply nuclear power is implicated in proliferation of weapons issues. And the leading proliferator for that technology guess who? US!


I think the rail program you're describing was part of the MX Missile program. Mobile launchers and distributed shelters designed to make sure land based ballistic missiles would survive a Soviet First strike. IIRC it was spiked by under Reagan.

Medicine Man

What I've been told a few times regarding North Korea is that the mass of conventional artillery they have on the DMZ, within range of Seoul, is the real deterrent they possess. The delivery systems for their few nukes could be quickly disabled by US and South Korean air power in the event of a conflict.

Allen Thomson

This is perhaps a little tangential to your posting, but one of my minor hobbies is to understand Israel's stand that it "will not be the first to introduce nuclear weapons" into the region. I've gathered up various statements on the matter going back to 1963 and have a speculation that 1) the assertion is arguably true while 2) recognizing that Israel has had nukes for a long time. Not to tease, the speculation involves Wheelus AB.

Any other thoughts or opinions?

Babak Makkinejad

Mr. Seal:

Is there a basis for your assertion that Israel has thermo-nuclear weapons - as opposed to fission bombs?



There was no invasion of North Korea from '54 until the acquisition of nuclear weapons either. I disagree with your implications over commercial nuclear power use. Nuclear power plant utilization is not the causation of acquiring nuclear weapons, the latter is a political decision.

R Whitman

Mr Sale:

Can you enlighten us on the part played by the disappearance of fissionable material from Numec in Apollo, Pa in the early 60's?


"By 1959, American U-2s overflying Dimona, made clear what was happening there, but President Eisenhower chose to ignore it".

I cannot believe that Eisenhower, of all people, "ignored" the acquisition of nuclear weaponry by Israel.

He must have green lighted it.

Thanks, Ike.

Allen Thomson

@ Babak Makkinejad:

Mr. Seal can provide his own answer, but the assertion that Israel has two-stage fusion bombs goes back to, as far as I know, Mordechai Vanunu:


Note that there's some confusion in the story between "boosting", which is a way of using deuterium-tritium fusion to make single-stage fission weapons better and peppier, and true two-stage devices. FWIW, I think that Israel could do either on their own and without testing, at least at a basic level . Although there is the Vela event, which could have been a test of something a bit more advanced:


And it is not to be ruled out that they have other nations' designs sitting in their file cabinets.

In any event, I'm not sure it matters a lot. For its interests, I'd guess Israel could get by just fine with bombs of a few dozen kilotons yield, maybe up to a hundred.


I recall that back in early 2003 I had a (well, one of many) discussion with a fervently gung-ho pro-Iraq war American. The topic of WMD cam up and I mentioned that Israel had nukes and was in that respect the elephant in the living room everybody chooses to ignore.

He, and I don't make that up, very earnestly scolded me for speaking it out, adding that it was not a matter to be spoken about publicly and that I was endangering Israeli national security.

The surprise soon gave way for laughter. Americans were in an odd mood back then.



"He, and I don't make that up, very earnestly scolded me for speaking it out, adding that it was not a matter to be spoken about publicly and that I was endangering Israeli national security."

This is part of the process of "perception management." Silence the voices and that of which they speak no longer exists in the public mind. pl

Roy G.

The sequel to this story is Israel's activity in proliferation; Peres offered nukes to the apartheid era South African govt., who were evidently seen as kindred spirits.

John Waring

One possible reason no one wants to speak of Israeli nukes is their elimination/destruction would be the quid pro quo for Iran to give up its nuclear program. I think that's the trade the Iranians want, and that's the trade the Israelis are bound and determined to prevent.


Roy G.,

And,......'who' has Israel been helping proliferation wise? How much U.S. Nuke tech have the Israelis purloined and handed over (for a profit) to both the Russians and Chinese?

Babak Makkinejad

Allen Thomas:

Thank you for your reply.

In the United States, is it a capital crime to disclose the design details of nuclear weapon?

Or in France?

Does any one know?

Babak Makkinejad

In my opinion, the Iranian program has nothing to do with Israel.

It has to do with the war of Iraq against Iran in 1980 and the nuclear tests of Pakistan and Inida in 1998.

No responsible Iranian government will ever give up on the Iranian nuclear program.


"It has to do with the war of Iraq against Iran in 1980 and the nuclear tests of Pakistan and Inida in 1998."

True, when one is on the recieiving end of a 144 round mustard gas artillery barrage for your daily wake-up call,
you'll wish to see your nation acheive a break out capacity in your children's future.


Iraq is no longer a threat to Iran.


Before such a totally numb-minded operation as a pre-emptive attack on Iran takes place I would like to point out that we have already taken our country several steps down the primrose path to perpetual failure and such an operation might only be a final nail on our own, not necessarily only the Iranian's, coffin. We need to consider letting the Iranians and Israelis work out their problems without our interference and keep both at a distance. By the way, look at North Korea - what a trash pit - let them sit there and rot. We don't need to stir up the pot, but we do need to realize that they may eventually implode on their own, so why even give them the privilege of "negotiations" - let them implode on their own. By the way, reference our Neocon swaggers, on this and other national survival issues, speaking with simplicity and force does not necessarily mean with intelligence and understanding.

William R. Cumming

Again recommend Paul Bracken's 1989 book "Fire In the EAST"! WAPO indicating in a story about drones an Ethiopian base.


There are today two countries that say that vis a vis Iraq there are is and has to be a 'military option'. If I was an Iranian I would read it as what it is - a threat.

Much like Israel with their inane 'strategic ambiguity' Iran is hedging, and wants to make sure they have the ability to build nukes if they absolutely have to, and in the meanwhile, to be able to continue their peaceful nuclear program unobstructed, which is, after all, their inalienable right. The US and Israel care little about that.

The problem with Iran is not that Iran has nukes, or the threat posed by Iran to ever use nukes, but the significantly improved strategic position that Iran has been enjoying over the last decade (courtesy of US foolishness) and the greater freedom of action and influence that has come with that.

Iran already pursues policies like supporting Hamas and Hezbollah. These are policies Israel and their US allies abhor, as they run counter to Israeli ideas about 'isolating Hamas on the Gaza battlefield' (or Hezbollah in Lebanon) to crush them once and for all.

Much to Israel's and Neo-Con chagrin, Iranian support makes that currently unachievable (clearly it must be that way, since there is no fault to be found in their own plans or notions of their adversaries). The Israelis and the Neo-Cons can't have that and search for ways to 'transform', 'reshape', 'game-change' in order to get that ever elusive decisive victory in favour of Israel and have them impose a 'Siegfrieden' on their adversaries. That is what it is about.

IMO the accusation that the Iranians build nukes is all but a pretext to build pressure on Iran, much like WMD were the excuse to go after Iraq. Ultimately, the goal Israel and the US have vis a vis Iran is, as it was in the past, regime change.

Afterthought: When the US leave Iraq, and if they leave Afghanistan, that will significantly improve Iran's strategic position. As of now, they have two sizeable US armies to the west and to the east. The nuts called hawks may see that development as forcing their hand.

Babak Makkinejad

Add to that the fact that every day some one dies of the effect of chemical warfare in Iran - soldier and civilian.

The United States, USSR and EU states taught Iran and indeed the entire world that international instruments of disarmament are worthless.

In the process, they made the world a much more dangerous place.

I guess their leaders considered themselves immune and invincible.

Babak Makkinejad


I ask again. does any one know the laws governing unauthorized disclosure of nuclear weapons design in US, UK, or France?

Allen Thomson

>I ask again. does any one know the laws governing unauthorized disclosure of nuclear weapons design in US, UK, or France?

This information goes under the name "Restricted Data" in the US and the applicable law is:

TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 23 > Division A > SUBCHAPTER XVII > § 2274

§ 2274. Communication of Restricted Data

Whoever, lawfully or unlawfully, having possession of, access to, control over, or being entrusted with any document, writing, sketch, photograph, plan, model, instrument, appliance, note, or information involving or incorporating Restricted Data—

(a) communicates, transmits, or discloses the same to any individual or person, or attempts or conspires to do any of the foregoing, with intent to injure the United States or with intent to secure an advantage to any foreign nation, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by imprisonment for life, or by imprisonment for any term of years or a fine of not more than $100,000 or both;

(b) communicates, transmits, or discloses the same to any individual or person, or attempts or conspires to do any of the foregoing, with reason to believe such data will be utilized to injure the United States or to secure an advantage to any foreign nation, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a fine of not more than $50,000 or imprisonment for not more than ten years, or both.

Babak Makkinejad

Thank you for your reply.

So it is illegal to disclose this information.

Now, this seems to be rather linient compared to penalties under espionage.

I do not understand the relationship between this and the legal codes under which the Rosenberg's were convicted and executed.

I am confused.

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