We assert that the blood of the mujahid Sheikh Osama bin Laden, may God have mercy on him, is too precious to us and to every Muslim to be wasted in vain. And it will remain, with permission from God Almighty, a curse that haunts the Americans and their collaborators and pursues them outside and inside their country, and that soon, with God’s help, their joy will turn to sorrow and their tears will mix with blood, and we will realize Sheikh Osama’s oath: America, and those who live in America, will not enjoy security until our people in Palestine do. The soldiers of Islam, together or as individuals, will continue to plot tirelessly and without desperation … until they are struck with a calamity that will make the hair of children turn white.
-Excerpt from an abridged version of the statement issued by Al-Qaeda earlier this week on the death of Osama bin Laden (translation from Arabic by Reuters)(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
All the recent talk of retaliation by Muslim extremists for Osama bin Laden’s death brings back memories of a theorized terrorist attack on the United States in which Al-Qaeda uses nuclear weapons on several major U.S. cities. In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:
Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq.
Few military and intelligence officials question bin Laden’s ability to carry out this threat. US, Saudi, Pakistani, Russian, Israeli, and British intelligence sources have confirmed that al Qaeda possess a small arsenal of tactical nuclear weapons- weapons that are being prepared for the “American Hiroshima.”
(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)
Dr. Williams, who has served as a consultant for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, talked about the intel he claims exists regarding this plot. From the book:
At present, the consensus of global intelligence about the nuclear capability of al Qaeda can be summarized as follows:
1. There are fully assembled nuclear weapons in bin Laden’s arsenal. The only disagreement comes with the number. The Russians say twelve to fifteen; the Saudis claim forty to seventy.
2. Bin Laden obtained these weapons through his connections with the Chechen rebels and Russian Mafia.
3. The Chechen rebels helped to recruit Soviet scientists and SPETSNAZ technicians so that the weapons could be properly assembled and maintained.
4. The location of the weapons remains unknown, but a stockpile was in Afghanistan before the launching of Operation Enduring Freedom on October 7, 2001.
5. Several nuclear weapons, including suitcase bombs, mines, rucksacks, and crude tactical nuclear warheads, have been forward-deployed to the United States.
6. Thousands of sleeper agents are estimated to be in place throughout the United States.
7. Many of the agents, including Adnan el-Shukrijumah, Anas al-Liby, Jaber A. Elbaneh and Amer el-Maati, have been trained in nuclear technology.
8. Nuclear supplies and materials have been transported across the Mexican border into the US.
9. The next attack is planned to occur simultaneously at various sites throughout the country. Certain targets include Boston, New York, Washington, DC, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
10. Muslim terrorist organizations throughout the world, including Hezbollah, have been aiding al Qaeda in this massive undertaking.
Disturbing, to say the least. Do I buy it? Only Al-Qaeda and The Man above knows for sure about this nuclear arsenal. But who’s to say they haven’t built their own nuclear weapons? After all, a covert Pentagon operation in 1964, known as the Nth Country Project, showed that a couple of non-experts, without access to classified research, could successfully design a functioning nuclear weapon. And the material needed for the big bang? While successful intercepts of smuggled nuclear material continues to make headlines, I have to wonder how much has escaped detection by the authorities. Hopefully all, but in all probability, perhaps some? Enough to be used in a nuclear device? A number of experts warn of how serious the threat of nuclear terrorism to America has become. From the “About” page of this blog:
This debate asks how likely is it that terrorists will explode a nuclear bomb and devastate a great American metropolis. In the judgment of former U.S. Senator Sam Nunn, the likelihood of a single nuclear bomb exploding in a single city is greater today than at the height of the Cold War. Nuclear Terrorism states my own judgment that, on the current trend line, the chances of a nuclear terrorist attack in the next decade are greater than 50 percent. Former Secretary of Defense William Perry has expressed his own view that Nuclear Terrorism underestimates the risk.
From the technical side, Richard Garwin, a designer of the hydrogen bomb who Enrico Fermi once called, “the only true genius I had ever met,” told Congress in March that he estimated a “20 percent per year probability with American cities and European cities included” of “a nuclear explosion—not just a contamination, dirty bomb—a nuclear explosion.” My Harvard colleague Matthew Bunn has created a probability model in the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science that estimates the probability of a nuclear terrorist attack over a ten-year period to be 29 percent—identical to the average estimate from a poll of security experts commissioned by Senator Richard Lugar in 2005.
-Graham T. Allison, director of Harvard’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and author of Nuclear Terrorism: The Ultimate Preventable Catastrophe, in an April 2007 debate
“Text: Al Qaeda statement confirming bin Laden’s death.” Reuters. 6 May 2011. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/05/06/us-binladen-qaeda-confirmation-text-idUSTRE74563U20110506). 6 May 2011.
Burkeman, Oliver. “How two students built an A-bomb.” The Guardian (UK). 24 June 2003. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/jun/24/usa.science). 6 May. 2011.
Williams, Paul L. The Al Qaeda Connection. New York: Prometheus Books, 2005.
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