Crusader Corner: The Stuff of Nightmares – Terrorist and Nuclear Weapons

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Three scenarios illustrate the threat of a nuclear device in rogue hands

TO SEE a nuclear horror story unfold, look no further than YouTube. In “My Nuclear Nightmare”, a five-minute graphic film, Bill Perry, a former American defence secretary, describes how a breakaway faction of a rogue state’s security forces enriches 40 kilograms of weapons-grade uranium in a secret facility and then constructs what appears to be a crude bomb, similar in design and yield to the kind that obliterated Hiroshima. It then transports the bomb in a box labelled “agricultural equipment” by civilian cargo aircraft to Dubai and on to Washington, DC. It is soon loaded onto a delivery truck and driven to Pennsylvania Avenue, where it is detonated at the halfway point between the White House and the Capitol building.

What follows is excruciating. More than 80,000 people are instantly killed, including the president, the vice-president and every member of Congress present. Another 100,000 are severely injured. Phones are down. A little later, it gets even worse: TV news stations have received a message that there are five more such bombs hidden in five more American cities. One bomb will be triggered each week unless all American troops serving abroad are immediately sent home. Panic ensues as people stream out of cities, and with the administration wiped out by the blast there is a constitutional crisis. Martial law is declared as looting and rioting spread; military detention centres spring up across the country.

How plausible is Mr Perry’s gut-churning scenario? Even pariah regimes care a lot about nuclear security. The idea that a breakaway group would manage to set up a clandestine enrichment facility in a place like Iran or even North Korea thankfully stretches credulity. Regimes that invest in a nuclear-weapons capability, despite all the political and economic costs associated with such programmes, do so for one reason only: their own survival. They do not do it to empower terrorist groups, even those they might sympathise with. Attribution would be inevitable, as would retribution once it had been established.

But concern about rogue nukes is serious enough for Barack Obama to have made a major effort during his presidency to stop terrorists from getting hold of either a nuclear weapon or fissile material that could be turned into one. He organised four nuclear-security summits aimed at creating better global safeguards to prevent highly enriched uranium (HEU) and plutonium falling into the wrong hands. Progress has been made: HEU has been removed from 30 countries; many research reactors and isotope-production facilities have been closed or converted to use low-enriched uranium; security has been tightened at dozens of storage sites.

Despite those efforts, 24 states still have 1kg or more of weapons-usable nuclear materials, and nearly 2,000 tonnes of weapons-usable nuclear materials (1,400 of HEU, 500 of plutonium) remain stored around the world, much of it still vulnerable to theft, in the view of Sam Nunn, co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Initiative, an advocacy organisation. A terrorist group would not need much fissile material to make a nuclear bomb–about enough HEU to fill a 2kg bag of sugar or a quantity of plutonium the size of a grapefruit. Moreover, the world has about 17,000 assembled nuclear weapons (although all but 1,000 of them are in either America or Russia). Harvard’s Belfer Centre calculates that it would require the theft of only 0.01% of the stockpile to “cause a global catastrophe”.

Beware of dirty tricks

Al-Qaeda has long had the ambition to acquire a nuclear device and there is little doubt that Islamic State (IS), in Mr Obama’s words, is “seeking nuclear material to kill as many people as possible”. Thanks to its control of territory, oil revenues and ability to recruit qualified engineers, a nuclear-capable IS seems all too plausible one day if it survives long enough. In a scenario envisaged at the most recent of Mr Obama’s nuclear-security summits, held in Washington, DC, in April, IS buys nuclear material from a medical facility sold to it by “insiders” through the dark web, constructs several “dirty bombs” and then detonates them from commercially available drones flying over a city.

 Read the Remainder at The Economist

Terror Watch: German Gunman Shot Dead in Cinema After Taking Hostages

Let me guess…the shooter was a “mentally unstable” PEACEFUL Observer of Ramadan? -SF

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BERLIN (Reuters) – A gunman took hostages at a cinema in western Germany on Thursday before police shot him dead, a police spokesman told the N-TV television channel, adding that no other people were injured.

German television showed pictures of heavily armed police, wearing helmets and body armor, storming the Kinopolis complex in Viernheim and a couple fleeing the building.

German media said earlier that the masked man had opened fire at the cinema complex in the small town near Frankfurt.

Police shot the man dead after elite forces stormed the complex, the Mannheimer Morgen newspaper reported, citing the interior minister of Hesse state. The man was described as “disturbed”.

Bild daily said that according to police about 25 people had been exposed to tear gas.

(Reporting by Madeline Chambers; Editing by Andrew Roche)

Read the Original Article at Yahoo News

Crusader Corner: Orlando Shooter at Gay Night Club of Afghan Descent

Still way too early to comment as I am in the middle of gathering intel, but this is from Times of Israel. -SF

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Omar Mateen, 30, of Port St-Lucie, dies in firefight with police; FBI says he may have had links to Islamic terror

The suspected shooter who killed approximately 20 people at a crowded Florida nightclub on Sunday was identified by police as Omar Mateen, a US-born citizen to Afghani parents, according to local news outlets.

Authorities were checking whether Mateen, 30, from Port Saint Lucie in Florida, had ties to Islamic terrorism.

The FBI said there were “suggestions” Mateen had “leanings” toward Islamic terror. Authorities said he had no criminal history.

Wielding an assault-type rifle and a handgun, Mateen is suspected of opening fire at club-goers in Orlando, about a two-hour drive from Port St. Lucie, killing approximately 20 people and wounding 42 others before dying in a gunfight with SWAT officers. Mateen also took hostages during the attack.

Police Chief John Mina also said the shooter had some sort of “suspicious device.” He said the suspect exchanged gunfire with an officer working at the club around 2 a.m., then went back inside and took hostages among more than 300 people inside.

Read the Remainder at Times of Israel

Terror Watch: ISIS Thugs Urge Attacks on American Soil During Ramadan

FYI: Ramadan this year is June 5th thru July 5th, so keep your head on a swivel and Stay Frosty. -SF

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BEIRUT, Lebanon – The Islamic State group appeared to try to keep morale high among its supporters in a new audio message released on Saturday, which also called for attacks on the US during the holy month of Ramadan.

The audio recording reportedly featuring IS spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani was posted online late Saturday evening after much fanfare by IS supporters on Twitter.

“Will we be defeated if we lose Mosul, or Sirte, or Raqqa, or all the cities, and go back to how we were before?” Adnani said.

The three cities are IS’s strongholds in Iraq, Libya, and Syria respectively.

“No. Defeat is only losing the desire and the will to fight,” Adnani continued, in his first voiced speech since October.

The spokesman appeared to mock the United States, which is leading a coalition of countries in an air war against IS in Iraq and Syria, for failing to definitively defeat IS.

He said even “20,000 air strikes” by the coalition had not destroyed IS.

Adnani also called for attacks on the US and Europe during the holy month of Ramadan, which starts in early June this year, an appeal he made at the same time last year when urging supporters to seek “martyrdom.”

On Friday, flyers apparently dropped by the coalition on Raqqa city in northern Syria urged residents to leave the city, perhaps ahead of an offensive by anti-IS forces to recapture it.

“It would appear IS is more clearly acknowledging its limitations in holding territory” while stressing the “idea of living on despite losses,” wrote jihadism expert Aymenn al-Tamimi in reaction to Adnani’s recording.

IS has seized swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq to create a self-styled “caliphate.” Its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, has received pledges of alliance from jihadist groups around the world.

Read the Original Article at Times of Israel