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Security United States Science

Identifying Nuclear Scientists Willing To Sell Their Knowledge 358

Harperdog writes "This is an interesting piece on U.S. programs most people don't know about: programs to identify and win over nuclear scientists who might be willing to sell their know-how to non-nuclear countries. Fascinating discussion, and points to the alleged Russian scientist who is reported to have sold information to Iran. How could he have been stopped?"
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Identifying Nuclear Scientists Willing To Sell Their Knowledge

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  • by rim_namor ( 2454342 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:02AM (#38083736)

    It's being shown time and again that strong countries do not get attacked. All countries need to understand that it is really in their best interest to get nuclear weapons fast. Libya made a huge mistake for example, so did Iraq. I think at some point Iran will have their weapon - good for them.

    Good for them. They should get as many as they can possibly put their hands on. You get fucked in the ass if you can't fight back, that's what we really know today, everything else is bullshit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:04AM (#38083744)

    Free trade is only for big businesses. What would the world come to if ordinary people could start monetizing their assets? On the other hand, if you need an explanation why it happened anyway: the Iran nuclear scare is going to fill the coffers of "defense" companies worldwide. They can't wait for us to go to war against Iran.

  • by Hentes ( 2461350 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:14AM (#38083800)

    Libya made a huge mistake for example, so did Iraq.

    Yeah because it would have been great if one side had access to nuclear weapons in those civil wars wouldn't it? With smaller undemocratic countries the chances of nukes getting into the hands of some crazy rogue dictator is huge. Just look at all the suicide bombers, there are many people who don't care about death. If every country had nukes there would at least one dumb enough to use them.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:29AM (#38083862) Homepage

    This is the thing, though. Iran would benefit from having a nuclear weapon not because it could defend itself *directly* from the US but because they can start waving it at Israel if the Yanks start getting mouthy.

    The Iranian government is presumably nervous about the US coming over and "liberating" them with the same level of wholesale destruction and slaughter as in Iraq and Afghanistan. They've also got the Israelis who just love to herd Arabs into ghettos and kill them. Why *wouldn't* you want a nuke, with neighbours like that?

  • by jpapon ( 1877296 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:30AM (#38083868) Journal

    But I am for everybody having a nuclear bomb. Every single person. Unfortunately it's impractical, but every state should have their bombs.

    I'm assuming that's just hyperbole, because nuclear weapons are only a deterrent for mentally stable people. If someone has no problem sacrificing themselves to blow others up, the whole idea of MAD and deterrence breaks down.

  • by satuon ( 1822492 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:34AM (#38083892)

    Lack of knowledge isn't what prevents most countries from building a nuclear bomb, lack of uranium and plutonium is.

  • by Canazza ( 1428553 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:40AM (#38083926)

    Because the Arab ghettos are within the death zone of any nukes on the main population centres?

    That, and everyone would come and fuck you up in retaliation. Nuclear or not.

  • by mseeger ( 40923 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:42AM (#38083930)

    I would bet 100% of nuclear scientists are willing to sell their secrets. So the identification is the easy part.

    The only question is: at what price? One will spill for a drink at the hotel bar, the other only when offered critical medical services for his sick child.

  • No proof. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by siddesu ( 698447 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:44AM (#38083946)

    There was nothing close to believable evidence for most of the "damning" allegations in the report, no sufficient information to justify taking them seriously even while reading the 20 odd pages. Most of the report was based on stuff that was shown by "one member state", and it happens to be the same member state that manufactured "evidence" for the war against Iraq. Excuse me if I delegate it to the trashcan without more extraordinary and unambiguous evidence than a table in yellow, orange and red.

    From the rest of the report it was only evident that a) Iran has not succeeded in buying weapons tech or plans, b) Iran does not even have the fundamental science to develop weapons and c) all their efforts invariably end up in a brick wall.

    Finally, while I keep hearing these scary stories about everyone and their dog develop nuclear weapon based on Russian know-how, it is, as a Russian combinator would say, a medical fact that ALL non-NPT nuclear programs except the Chinese are based either on US or NATO expertise.

    Will we get a break from these scary, but largely baseless stories?

  • by c0lo ( 1497653 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @07:58AM (#38084030)

    The theory is that the more countries and NGO that have nuclear weapons, then the more likely they are to be used.

    Strange theory... last I know of, the only time a nuclear weapon was used in a war was at a time only one nation has had the technology.And they used it twice. And I heard/read some arguing that their use was gratuitous [], just for showing some muscles.

  • by dkleinsc ( 563838 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:00AM (#38084050) Homepage

    1. Iraq had no nukes. The US falsely claimed they did, and then used that as an excuse to blow them to smithereens.

    2. North Korea has nukes, as well as a military much weaker than Iraq did. The US has generally rattled sabers but left them alone.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:03AM (#38084060)

    Is there some benevolent use of nuclear weapons that I'm missing? You don't need to be able to weaponize the technology in order to build, say, power-generating nuclear reactors. The weaponry branch of nuclear technology is a scientific dead end, and the pun is very much intended. This is like saying that by stopping al'Qaeda from acquiring sarin nerve gas that we're just oppressing Arab chemists in their rational pursuit of novel uses for organophosphates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:08AM (#38084090)

    Laser guided bombs to try and minimize casualties of non combatants mean nothing to you? Check out how other countries deal with insurgents and militias, look up grozny. Better yet, look up rwanda or serbia where european UN troops stood by and let the people there to protect, get massacred. It seems that the rest of the world likes to either A: blow the town to hell even with civilians, or B: stand around and watch them die.

    "wholesale destruction and slaughter" was what japan did to china and SEA. You are either purposefully trying force a lie into being believed, or you are truly ignorant to the meaning of those words and the appropriate situations they apply.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:09AM (#38084094)

    Give up your nuke program in exchange for normalized relations. Didn't work out so well for Gaddafi.

  • by ciderbrew ( 1860166 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:18AM (#38084146)
    Let me almost fix that for you :).
    1. Iraq had no nukes AND OIL. The (G1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8 Nth economic clubs) which the US is one of claimed they did, and then used that as an excuse to blow them to smithereens. This got a lot of Tax money moving around the system. War does pay well and it only kills poor people.

    2. North Korea has nukes; but not as much oil, as well as a military much weaker than Iraq did. The US has generally rattled sabers but left them alone. When oil starts running ooohhhhh it's on baby.
  • by wmac1 ( 2478314 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:28AM (#38084196)
    Do you have any statistics or clue of how many each side (Muslims and non-Muslims) have killed from the other side? I bet more Muslims have been killed.

    What is your definition of Evil?

    Does it cover the thing which pushes a country to start/engage in at least 50 wars in 70 years and nuke civilian cities? Or just covers Muslims which fight occupiers in their lands?
  • by SpzToid ( 869795 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:37AM (#38084258)

    Sure I'm feeding the AC trolls here, but I'll reason that once Gaddafi gave up his nukes everything turned around for the better, as far as he was concerned. It wasn't until his people turned against him, and he chose to fight them, that things turned out badly for him.

  • by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:37AM (#38084260) Journal
    North Korea also has China as an ally. Invading North Korea would effectively mean declaring war on China (just as invading Poland prevented the UK from remaining neutral in the second world war). That's far more important than the nukes that NK claims to have (as I recall, they only had one test, which was underground and didn't appear to cause any detectable increase in radioactivity - I was in the USA at the time, and it was amusing that the test was front page news, but when the lack of radioactivity was discovered it was on the BBC but completely absent from the US news sources that had been trumpeting the test).
  • by aaaaaaargh! ( 1150173 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:41AM (#38084306)

    Islam is an evil religion that tells them to kill non muslims. They would use it if teh could get away with it.

    Sorry, whatever protection you have against terrorists is highly inefficient. The only reason you aren't dead is because no-one rellay wants to kill you.
    So no, you are wrong. Most muslims are good people that doesn't want to kill anyone.

    Exactly. Chrisq's commentary is based on utter ignorance. There was a large Gallup study about the Muslim community, the largest ever conducted about this topic, published as a book in 2008 []. In a nutshell, the study shows that Muslims are as peaceful as other people and share amazingly many views with e.g. most Americans. And, not very surprisingly, the very small militant minority among them is primarily motivated by political -- not religious -- reasons just like most other militants.

  • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) <<mojo> <at> <>> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:45AM (#38084336) Homepage Journal

    They were tests. Little was known about the effect on humans, animals, farmland and cities. They could easily have used their bombs on unpopulated islands or sparsely populated areas to for Japan to surrender (in fact one of the biggest factors in the decision was the threat of nuking Tokyo), but that wouldn't have told the much more than they already knew from tests on American soil.

    The US was aware that other countries were trying to develop nuclear weapons and was naturally worried about the effect they would have on US cities. The two bombs they dropped used different designs because they were trying to maximise the amount of data they could collect. Many non-military targets such as Kyoto were considered but in the end they decided that they should at least make some effort to claim they were attacking ports and manufacturing.

    Before the US became involved in the war they were against the targeting of civilians by British bomber raids on Germany. The British did it anyway in the grounds that the situation was desperate, even if it did violate the laws of warfare. That justification has been debated many times, but at least there was justification. Okay, in a conventional war more US soldiers would have died, but there was no chance of Japan invading the US or winning the war. Bad times indeed.

  • by Shoten ( 260439 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:46AM (#38084338)

    The theory is that the more countries and NGO that have nuclear weapons, then the more likely they are to be used.

    Strange theory... last I know of, the only time a nuclear weapon was used in a war was at a time only one nation has had the technology.And they used it twice. And I heard/read some arguing that their use was gratuitous [], just for showing some muscles.

    Actually, there's another theory...that the more countries (and in particular, the more unstable countries) have nuclear weapons, the more likely they are to fall into the hands of an actor where deterrence does not come into play. The best current example of this is Libya, who fortunately gave up their nuclear program before the recent rebellion and subsequent chaos. It isn't at all difficult to imagine that if weapons-grade material or even a nuclear weapon itself were somewhere in Libya during the uprising that there wouldn't be forces trying to locate and seize it that would be far more likely to use a nuke than a nation-state (which can be nuked in return). This is the real nightmare scenario, these days. As you've accurately pointed out, deterrence is remarkably effective at keeping nation-states from using nuclear weapons on each other, but when you put a weapon into the hands of a group that many countries are trying to hunt to extinction anyways, there isn't much to deter them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @08:47AM (#38084342)

    The muslims have been killing people and each other for thousands of years.

    I really don't give a fuck if they want to continue killing each other. But when they start targeting anyone else.. Again.

    Bomb the fuck out of them. We're going to have to do it someday.

    Their religion is not compatable with anyone else. And eventually we'll have to do something about it. The sooner we do it. The less dead people there will be.

  • by Chrisq ( 894406 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @09:57AM (#38084824)

    Yes, you remain ignorant.

    The first study you cite is irrelevant; you could just as well ask all British Christians whether they want the UK to be a Christian state and will probably get over 60% approval.

    Regarding the second study, it's a small study conducted on behalf of the telegraph and I wouldn't be very surprised if it weren't representative at all / not drawn from a proper and large enough random sample (i.e., basically I suspect it is meaningless crap). The Gallup survey is representative for 90% of the world's population of Muslims and was conducted all over the world. If Muslims in England were indeed so much more violent than anywhere else in the world then you should perhaps ask yourself what them so violent in the UK. Is it their dislike for tea?

    Anyway, your original statement remains as ignorant as before, whether you like it or not, because it was about Islam in general, i.e. all Muslims and not just the ones in the UK, and the Gallup study has clearly shown that Muslims are about as violent as Christians.

    Say what you want, despite the larger number of Christians in the UK we haven't had them setting of bombs on public transport in the name of their religion, trying to blow up aircraft, and driving burning vehicles into airports. They don't disrupt remembrance day services, hold banners saying "Freedom can go to hell", and "Britain will become an Islamic state" or "those who insult Jesus will be killed". There aren't reports of Christians killing relatives for marrying the wrong person or leaving Christianity every week. They don't demand that areas with lots of Christians become "Christian law" areas and say they will violently punish people who don't dress the way they like. Muslims do all these things.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:05AM (#38084912)

    They've also got the Israelis who just love to herd Arabs into ghettos and kill them.

    That is just the most ignorant thing I've read all day (although it is early here). If Israel 'loved' killing them there would be a lot more dead. Compare the number of Arabs killed by other Arabs to the number killed by Israel. The number killed by Israel is miniscule in comparison. Yes there's a lot of problems over there, but making up information, pretending that what's obvious isn't true, and misplacing the blame isn't going to get anything solved.

  • by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:47AM (#38085422)

    The US legitimately believed Iraq did have WMDs, because Saddam engaged in a program of misinformation to make it seem like they did, in an effort to deter Iran from attacking. Saddam bet that Iran was the greater threat, and he bet wrong. Even President Clinton

    One quibble - Iraq DID have WMD's. Nukes are a subset of WMD's, not the whole thing. Chemical weapons (which the Iraqis had been using in their little internal wars for years, count as WMD's.

  • by Dails ( 1798748 ) on Thursday November 17, 2011 @10:55AM (#38085522)

    Come on. It's always amusing to see people bash the US for things that, heads up, literally EVERY country does. Here's the cycle:

    1. My country can leverage x for economic gain (everything is about economic gain, even military power)
    2. Suchandsuch is happening that threatens our x
    3. Choose:
              a. Be fair, let it happen, watch your country grow poorer
              b. Be unfair, stop it from happening, allow your country to flourish

    If your responsibility as the leader of your country was to ensure the economic prosperity of your country, what kind of an idiot would you be to choose 3a? Would you stand before your people and say "Yes, we could have avoided this recession, but I really thought that deserved the money more this time."

  • by Alioth ( 221270 ) <no@spam> on Thursday November 17, 2011 @12:02PM (#38086490) Journal

    So all the sectarian violence in Northern Ireland (where Christians are killing Christians over trivial differences in their religious beliefs) doesn't count?

The amount of time between slipping on the peel and landing on the pavement is precisely 1 bananosecond.