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Lecture 19

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Author: Grant Mathews


  1. Terrorism: the deliberate targeting of Civilians in order to undermine their support for the politics of their political leaders” (Caleb Carr 2002)
  2. Types of Terrorists
    1. Individual
    2. Political terrorism - nationalist
    3. Extreme political terrorism
      1. Left wing
      2. Right wing
    4. Single issue
      1. Radical ecologists
      2. Anti-abortion
    5. Religious Fundamentalism
      Religious fundamentalists are typically the most dangerous.  They believe terrorism is their divine duty, and that they are acting in response to a religious command.  They are thereby unconstrained by political, moral, or practical concerns.  They may be willing and even anxious to die for their cause, and even believe that ultimate destruction is the divine destiny and that they are the agents to carry it out.


    1. Islamic Fundamentalists:
      1. Hizbollah (the Party of God) fundamenalists - a Shia group also known as Islamic Jihad.  They believe secular govenments have no legitimate authority and proclaim their mission to establish universal Islamic law.
      2. Sunni fundamentalists - (which has many international groups, e.g. India, China, Russia, Algeria, Pakistan,Egypt, Saudi Arabia).  This includes Al Qaeda (the Base) as well as cells in in USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, and the Arab world.
      3. Note: It is important to note that these groups in and of themselves do not necessarily signify fundamentalism.  However, groups may be found within these organizations that follow fundamentalist interpretation of their statutes.
    2. AUM (Supreme Truth)
      AUM is a blend of Eastern and Christian beliefs.  They are responsible for the 1996 Tokyo nerve gas attack.  In the past, they have tried to develop: Anthrax, Botulinum toxin, and Ebola.  In addition, they have tried to develop laser isotope separation technology, and they have attempted to purchase a Soviet nuclear weapon.
    3. White Supremacist Groups
      1. Aryan Nation
      2. Order
        This group believes the “End of Days” or the Day of “Tribulation” (Armageddon) is soon to come.  They therefore stockpile weapons and foods to persevere them against the coming holocaust.

    Use of WMD

    1. Terrorists believe they are acting for a cause.  Their aim is to change society. 
    2. Publicity is the “Oxygen” of terrorism. The greater the destruction an action may have, the greater the TV coverage.  
    3. Types of Attack
      1. Chemical
        1. Easiest to make
        2. Literature easy to find
        3. Easy to acquire needed supplies/equipment
        4. Dispersion is easy
        5. Already employed by AUM
        6. Less lethal and only local.
      2. Biological
        1. Can be stolen or obtained from natural sources
        2. Literature easy to find
        3. Easy to acquire needed supplies/equipment
        4. Dispersion is easy
        5. Already employed by AUM, Order of the Rising Sun, Rajneesh Cult, Red Army Brigade, Aryan Nation
        6. Greater psychological impact
        7. Once established, they can multiply and become more dangerous over time.
      3. Nuclear
        1. Conventional weapons attack more likely; But a successful nuclear attack would provide high visibility and ensure long term impact.
        2. Logistical problems include: Generating nuclear material (235U, 239Pu); huge industrial effort requires breeder reactor and diffusion or centrifugal based separation facilities (~10-20 years); difficulty in finding provisions of nuclear bomb material (235U, 239Pu), as it is only possible from stockpiles of exiting nuclear powers (Israel, Pakistan, North Korea) or leftover supplies from former nuclear powers (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine).

    Dirty/Radiological Bomb

    1. Reported weapons-usable nuclear Material seizures:  (May, APS News, 17, No. 4, 8, 2008)
      1. 1992: Podolsk Rissia 1.5 kg HEU
      2. 1993 Vilnius Lithuania 100 g HEU (60%)
      3. 1993 Murmansk, Russia: 4.5 kg HEU (20%)
      4. 1993 Andreeva Guba, Russia: 1.8 kg HEU (30%)
      5. 1994 St. Petersburg, Russia: 3.0 kg HEU (90%)
      6. 1994 Tengen, Germany 8 g Pu (99.75% Pu-239)
      7. 1994 Munich Germany, 400 g Pu (87% Pu239)
      8. 1994 Prague, Czech Republic: 2.7 kg HEU (87.8%)
      9. 1995 Prague, Czech Republic: 0.415 g HEU (87.8%)
      10. 1995 Prague, Czech Republic: 17 g HEU (87.8%)
      11. 1999 Ruse, Bulgaria: 4 g HEU (72%)
      12. 2000 Batumi, Georgia: 920 g HEU (30%)
      13. 2001 Paris, France: 2.5 g HEU (72%)2003 Georgia/Armenian Boarder 170 g HEU
      14. 2006 Georgia: 100 g HEU (~90%).
    2. The classical version of the Dirty Bomb seeks to enhance the production of long-term radioactivity by adding “seed material” for neutron capture, e.g. cobalt bomb.  However, the theorized cobalt bomb is, on the contrary, a radioactively "dirty" bomb having a cobalt tamper. Instead of generating additional explosive force from fission of the uranium, the cobalt is transmuted into Co-60, which has a half-life of 5.26 y and produces radiation. The half-life of Co-60 is just long enough so that airborne particles will settle and coat the earth's surface before significant decay has occurred, thus making it impractical to hide in shelters.
    3. The New “Radiological” Version
      1. The radiological dirty bomb would contain a small or medium conventional explosive (10 to 50 pounds [4.5 - 23 kg] of TNT, for example) with a small amount of low-level radioactive material (say a sample of Cs-137 or Co-60 from a university lab or more likely from a hospital radiology department).
      2. An “effective” dirty bomb involves substantial logistical delivery problems.

    Medical Sources of Radioactivity

    1. These sources are mainly designed for the radiation treatment of cancer patients
    2. Theletherapy units
      1. There are more than 10,000 medical sources of Co-60.
      2. Each capsule contains 10,000 pellets with each pellet 100 GBq.
      3. Third world countries prefer the less expensive Cs-137 sources (T1/2˜30y) which comes as highly dispersible CsCl salt..
    3. An example of careless handling: Goiania, Brazil
      A radiotherapy unit had been abandoned in a clinic which was being demolished. The unit had a source consisting of 1,375 curies of cesium-137 in the form of cesium chloride salt, sealed within two nested stainless steel containers to form a 5-cm diameter capsule. Two individuals dismantled the unit and extracted the source. Both began vomiting on 13 September. The unit material was sold to a junkyard, a blue glow from the source container was observed that night; a number of people came to view the capsule. On 21 September the source material was removed and distributed among several people, some of whom spread it on their skin. Around 23 September junkyard employees were exposed while further dismantling parts of the unit.
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