[lit-ideas] Re: Text of bin Laden Tape

  • From: Teemu Pyyluoma <teme17@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 23 Jan 2006 06:23:47 -0800 (PST)

Deleting and reading old mail, I can not but comment
on this particular claim by Lawrence:
> We did believe Al Quaeda had
> suitcase nukes and were
> extremely concerned about it for awhile.

The mere existence of suitcase nukes is mere
speculation, only piece of evidence that such devices
even existed comes from The Sixty Minutes interview of
Alexander Lebed, who wasn't exactly a disintrested
observer. Only known nuclear warheads that would fit
(in a very large and heavy) suitcase are the U.S.
designs for mini-nuke war heads. These had explosive
power of 10 to 250 tons, for comparison the Hiroshima
bomb yield was about 15 kilotons. The same effect both
in terms of explosion and radiation could be easily
duplicated by a dirty bomb, that is conventional
explosives in combination with some radioactive
material. Even if we assume that such devices ever
existed, the effort required to aquire such a suitcase
nuke compared to simply building a dirty bomb out of
less controlled radioactive material makes it very
unlikely that Al Quaeda would have pursued this. Or
maybe they bought one and realized it is useful for,
well taking a down a building and leaks radiation.

Helsinki, Finland

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