October Surprise and the 'Axis of Evil'
by Gordon Prather
the dismay of the neo-crazies, the Iraqi puppet government has just
reported to the International Atomic Energy Agency that 195 metric
tons of HMX, 141 metric tons of RDX and 5.8 metric tons of PETN
have gone missing.
report that to the IAEA? Because Iraq had imported or manufactured
all three of these high-explosives for use in their illicit nuke
program. Hence, the Iraqi stocks had been subject to the IAEA Safeguards
and Physical Security regime ever since they were discovered at
Al-Qaqaa in 1991.
long have they been missing?
IAEA last checked the integrity of their "seals" in March
of 2003, just days before Bush attacked Iraq. Bush has not allowed
IAEA back in Iraq since.
al-Sharaa, who headed, then and now, Iraq's safeguarded-site monitoring
department, says, "It is impossible that these materials could
have been taken from this site before the regime's fall."
IAEA spokeswoman says that after hearing of the looting at the principal
safeguarded site at Tuwaitha in April 2003, the IAEA formally expressed
concern "about the security of the [safeguarded] high explosives
stored at Al-Qaqaa."
not to worry. One of the Pentagon neo-crazies John A. Shaw,
the deputy undersecretary of defense for international technology
security has just told Gullible Gertz at the Washington Times
that he "believes" Russian special forces, working with
Iraqi intelligence, "almost certainly" took custody of
all those safeguarded high-explosives and smuggled them out of Iraq
to either Syria or Iran just before Bush invaded.
Shaw, Gertz nor even John Kerry seems to have grasped the import
of Shaw's accusations.
Bush administration weenie has just formally accused the Russians
of conspiring with the Iraqis, Iranians and perhaps the Syrians
to subvert the IAEA Safeguards regime and to assist Iran or Syria
acquire a nuke capability, in flagrant violation of the Treaty on
Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons!
it would help you to know what Shaw knows about HMX and RDX.
a first-generation implosion-type nuke like the Fat Man we
dropped on Nagasaki a spherical sub-critical mass of fissile
uranium is surrounded by "shaped charges" of chemical
high-explosives. When detonated, the high-explosives "shaped
charges" create a spherically symmetric imploding shockwave,
which compresses the 7-inch-diameter sub-critical sphere into a
teeny-tiny highly super-critical sphere. A fission "chain reaction"
is then initiated, which continues exponentially until enough fission
energy is produced to blow the supercritical mass apart.
half the nuclear yield comes from the last "generation,"
the art of the nuke designer is to compress the fissile material
as much and as quickly as possible and then to keep it supercritical
for as long as possible.
do that, the nuke designer needs a special kind of high-explosive
that didn't really exist in 1944. As a result, the Fat Man which
used conventional explosives had a low yield but weighed
about 10,000 pounds. So, to get the yield up and the weight down,
U.S. nuke scientists began developing their own high-energy, but
relatively insensitive, explosives.
1947, scientists at Los Alamos had created RDX, the first plastic-bonded
explosive. Soon afterwards, scientists at Lawrence Livermore developed
the even more energetic HMX. Most of the nukes in our stockpile
today utilize RDX and HMX plastic-bonded explosives.
the HMX and RDX the IAEA found at Al-Qaqaa was for Iraqi nukes.
They had built an RDX production plant at Al Qaqaa. It was destroyed
in the Gulf War and never rebuilt.
the Iraqis were unable to produce significant quantities of fissile
uranium, so the HMX and RDX stocks were never needed.
RDX and HMX can be used for other purposes, such as mining or tunneling
or demolition. Hence, the Iraqis were allowed to keep their stocks
of HMX and RDX safeguarded by the IAEA until they
could come up with plans for using their stocks peacefully.
now, the pre-election brouhaha has focused on the possible use in
Iraq of those "missing" hundreds of tons of "conventional"
in the extremely unlikely event that Shaw is not crazy, it might
be a good idea for Kerry to bring up the nuke programs the neo-crazies
allege Iran and North Korea have jump-started because Bush invaded
had RDX and HMX for nukes, but no fissile material. But both Iran
and North Korea have or soon could have fissile material
for nukes, but no RDX or HMX.
who says you're safer now than before Bush invaded Iraq?
James Gordon Prather [send
him mail] has served as a policy-implementing official for national
security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency,
the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department
of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department
of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for
national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla.
ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the
Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather
had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore
National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory
in New Mexico.
© 2004 Gordon Prather