• Iran: Stuxnet infected industrial computers cleaned

    Iran claims that Stuxnet, the sophisticated virus which has infected more than 30,000 computers used in industrial control systems in Iran, has been removed; Iranian officials also denied that the Bushehr nuclear reactor was among the addresses penetrated by the worm

  • Norway bans testing of Israel-bound submarines

    Israel is buying additional submarines for two purposes: first, move some of its nuclear second-strike capabilities to sea in order to enhance its deterrence posture; second, have more cruise missile-carrying submarines available to position off the Iranian coast for possible attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities; Norway, which is critical of Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories, has informed the German builder of the Israel-bound submarines that Norway will no longer allow deep-water testing of these submarines in the Norwegian submarine base the German company had leased

  • Civil wars in Africa have no link to climate change

    Some researchers have argued that environmental variability and shocks, such as drought and prolonged heat waves, drive civil wars in Africa; a new paper investigates the empirical foundation for the claimed relationship in detail, and concludes that climate variability is a poor predictor of armed conflict; instead, African civil wars can be explained by generic structural and contextual conditions: prevalent ethno-political exclusion, poor national economy, and the collapse of the cold war system

  • Russia cancels S-300 delivery to Iran

    The Russia-made S-300 is the most sophisticated air defense system in the world, and Iran signed a contract to buy them in order to protect its nuclear weapons facilities; Russia has now decided to abrogate the contract — meaning that Iran’s nuclear facilities remain exceedingly vulnerable to destruction from the air, and that the option of attacking these facilities is less daunting than would have been the case otherwise

  • U.S. much safer today than it was in 2001

    Leading analyst says the United States is much safer today than it was in 2001; the successful policies of the Bush and Obama administrations have whittled al Qaeda “central” down to about 400 fighters; the real threat of al Qaeda was that it would inspire some percentage of the world’s 1.57 billion Muslims, sending out unstoppable waves of jihadis; in fact, across the Muslim world, militant Islam’s appeal has plunged; the real danger is America’s overreaction, both abroad and domestically

  • UN: Iran accelerates nuclear weapons work, hampers monitoring

    Iran has now built up a stockpile of 2,803 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, despite being ordered by the UN to cease all such activity until the IAEA can determine the true nature of Tehran’s nuclear drive; at the end of August, a total 8,856 uranium-enriching centrifuges had been installed at Natanz, up from 8,528 in May; the number of machines being fed with UF6 — uranium hexfluoride — had declined to 3,772 from 3,936, though, owing to on-going technical difficulties (some of which caused by Israeli and U.S. covert sabotage campaign); Iran has now produced at least 22 kilograms of higher-enriched uranium, bringing the Islamic republic closer to levels needed to make the fissile material for a nuclear bomb

  • Small thorium reactors could lead to fossil-fuel-free world within five years

    An argument is made that nuclear reactors which use thorium as an accelerator (hence the technical name: Accelerator Driven Thorium Reactors, or ADTR) could lead to fossil-fuel-free world within five years; thorium is an abundant mineral deposit, with 3 to 5 times more thorium in the world than uranium; more importantly, virtually all of the thorium mined can be used as fuel compared to only 0.7 percent of the uranium recovered in its natural state, this means, in energy terms, that one ton of thorium mined is equivalent to 200 tons of uranium mined, which is equivalent to 3.5 million tons of mined coal; ADTRs also enjoy proliferation resistance advantages compared to other reactor systems

  • U.S. persuades Israel Iran nuclear threat is at least a year away

    American officials say the Obama administration, citing evidence of continued troubles inside Iran’s nuclear program, has persuaded Israel that it would take roughly a year — and perhaps longer — for Iran to complete what one senior official called a “dash” for a nuclear weapon; “We think that they have roughly a year dash time,” one of Obama’s top adviser on nuclear issues says; “A year is a very long period of time”

  • Iran gearing up for a post-attack retaliatory campaign in Western Hemisphere

    In February 2007, Iran Air launched flight 744 — a bimonthly flight that originates in Tehran and flies directly to Caracas with periodic stops in Beirut and Damascus; passengers cannot book a seat on the flight because it has never been opened to the public; U.S. intelligence services have been worried for a while now that the flight is used for two purposes: first, for smuggling nuclear weapons-related materials into Iran, and, second — in cooperation with Venezuela — for setting up a network of Iranian operatives to retaliate against U.S. targets and Jewish communities in the Western Hemisphere in the event of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities

  • Bolton: Israel should attack Iran's reactor by this week's end

    Since 1960, Israel relied on covert — and, at times, less covert — campaign to prevent Egypt, Iraq, and Syria from acquiring nuclear weapons; in the cases if Iraq (1981) and Syria (2007), Israel destroyed these countries’ nuclear reactors before they became critical; the reason: destroying nuclear reactors before they become critical eliminates the risk of radioactive radiation from the destroyed reactor spreading over large areas, as was the case with the Chernobyl reactor following the 1986 accident; Russian state firm Rosatom announced last week that it would be starting loading nuclear fuel into the Bushehr facility on 21 August, and that the plant would become operation on that day; will Israel launch a strike against the plant before that date?

  • How serious is the threat of an "EMP Pearl Harbor"?

    In 1962 the United States conducted a high-altitude nuclear test above Johnston Island, 825 miles southwest of Hawaii; detonated 400 kilometers above the island, the resulting nuclear blast knocked out street lights across Hawaii and tripped circuit breakers, triggered burglar alarms, and damaged a telecommunications relay facility on the island of Kauai; could terrorist, or a nuclear-armed rogue state, launch an EMP Pearl harbor against the United States?

  • A U.S. attack on about a half-dozen nuclear facilities would "defang" Iran

    Iran has many potential nuclear weapons-related targets, but only about a half-dozen facilities are so critical that, if destroyed, would set back the program significantly; John Pike of Global Security.org: “Almost all [the high-value targets] are in isolated areas where civilian casualties would not be much of a problem. Most of them have co-located staff housing. Bomb the housing, kill the staff, set back the program by a generation”

  • U.S. intensifies covert campaign against Iran's nuclear weapons program

    Since 1960, Israel relied on covert — and, at times, less covert — campaign to prevent Egypt, Iraq, and Syria from acquiring nuclear weapons; Libya, too, was persuaded to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons; during the past decade and half, both the United States and Israel have been directing their covert anti-nuclear efforts toward the Iranian nuclear program; one analyst notes that sabotage campaign is a tactic, not a diplomatic strategy — but the history of successful non-proliferation efforts is often a history of kicking the nuclear can down the diplomatic road until new leadership comes to the conclusion that it has more to gain by abandoning illicit nuclear activity than by acquiring a bomb

  • Iran shipped advanced radar systems to Syria

    Iran has supplied Syria with advanced radar system which would make it more difficult for Israel to over-fly Syrian air space in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities; the radar would also offer protection to thousands of Hezbollah medium- and long-range missiles warehoused on Syrian soil just across the border with Lebanon

  • U.S. has no plan to keep nuclear bomb materials from crossing border

    In 2006 the George W. Bush administration announced a $1.2 billion project to deploy thousands of scanners for screening vehicles and cargo at U.S. ports to block the importation of radioactive materials that could be used to make a bomb to protect the United States; the scanners — known as the advanced spectroscopic portal (ASP) machines — proved a failure, and in February, following one setback after another, officials abandoned full-scale deployment of the machines; GAO says that the attention and resources invested in the ill-fated ASPs delayed the creation of a “global nuclear detection architecture” to protect the United States