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Astronomers Fear an ME Impact Event Could Precipitate a Nuclear Holocaust

Exclusive YOWUSA Interview With Dr. Brian Marsden, Associate Director of the Smithsonian Astrophysics Observatories Reveals a New and Frightening Post-911 National Security Risk

YOWUSA.COM, 10-November-01
Marshall Masters 

Astronomers Fear an ME Impact Event Could Precipitate a Nuclear HolocaustDuring a joint news conference with French President Jacques Chirac last Tuesday, President Bush warned the world of the specter of a nuclear catastrophe as a result of Osama bin Laden's likely acquisition of nuclear weapons from maniacs like Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein  Further, The Sunday Telegraph (London) just published an article regarding new evidence that Iraq was struck 4000 years ago by a 150-meter meteorite which begs the question: Should an unexpected meteorite impact event happen in the Middle East today, could it trigger a nuclear exchange given the present instability in the region?   According to Astronomer Dr. Brian Marsden, it could, and that our chance of detecting a 150-meter meteorite prior to impact in a region like the Middle East is "somewhere between none and dumb luck."     

Why This Is a National Security Issue

The obvious answer is that President Bush has put the world on notice — these maniacs will soon if not already posses these weapons, and they will use them to start a global nuclear war!

CNN, November 6, 2001
Bush warns of potential 'evil weapons'

Osama bin Laden is "an evil man" whose threats to use weapons of mass destruction should be taken seriously, President Bush said Tuesday.

Bush said bin Laden has threatened in the past to use chemical, biological and even nuclear weapons, but said there is no evidence bin Laden or his al Qaeda terrorist organization possesses such weaponry.  

"We will not wait for the authors of mass murder to gain the weapons of mass destruction. We act now because we must lift this dark threat from our age and save generations to come," Bush said.

President Bush has good reason to warn the world.   It now appears that Osama bin Laden may have acquired a nuclear capability from Pakistan. 

USA Today, November 3, 2001
U.S. fears bin Laden got nuclear help

WASHINGTON -- Pakistan's recent detention of two prominent Pakistani nuclear scientists with ties to Afghanistan's Taliban regime has set off alarms within the Bush administration and among nuclear experts. Their worry: The possibility that the scientists, one of them a pioneer in Pakistan's nuclear energy program, might have helped Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa'eda terrorist network develop nuclear weapons. 

Usama bin LadenExperts say bin Laden would face huge technological obstacles in building a nuclear bomb, but a small-scale device would be within al-Qa'eda's reach if it could buy or create nuclear material. 

Analysts say bin Laden also might be able to build a "dirty bomb" that wouldn't cause a nuclear explosion but could spread enough radioactivity to kill thousands in an urban environment.

While the Pakistani majority does not support the Taliban and in turn, Osama bin Laden a large minority does and within that minority are high-ranking members of Pakistan's intelligence operations and nuclear weapons development programs.  This fact now presents a very real possibility that Osama bin Laden could obtain a substantial share of Pakistan's nuclear weapons.  For this reason, the country is seeking to protect its nuclear arsenal with the help of China.

The Indian Express, November 4, 2001
Pak considering shifting N-arsenal to China

LONDON -- PAKISTAN is under pressure to move all or part of its nuclear weapons to China for safekeeping from fundamentalists and it is apprehensive of pre-emptive strikes on its nuclear sites by America, India or Israel to prevent the weapons falling into fundamentalist hands, media report said today quoting Pakistani sources.

Pakistan MissileThe threat to weapons widely regarded as the Pakistan military's ‘‘crown jewels'' has forced Islamabad ‘‘to consider removing warheads to China, Pakistan's closest strategic ally in the region,'' the Sunday Times reported.

The prospect that loose warheads might be loaded onto helicopters or moved around a region foaming with fundamentalist turmoil is adding to fears in Washington that the war in Afghanistan might provoke a nuclear crisis.  

But even if Osama bin Laden is unable to obtain his own nuclear arsenal via high-ranking Pakistani sympathizers, there is always Saddam Hussein.  A known supporter of terrorism Saddam has been able to revitalize his nuclear arms development program since facing down President Clinton in 1998. In that showdown, Saddam prevailed, and was able to expel remaining U.N. arms inspectors from Iraq.    

Nuclear Control Institute, June 14, 2001
Overview of IAEA Nuclear Inspections in Iraq

The only IAEA visits to Iraq since Saddam kicked U.N. inspectors out in late 1998 have been two brief trips to verify the amount and status of Iraq's declared stocks of natural and low-enriched uranium. However, there have been troubling indications over the last two years that Saddam's nuclear-weapons program has not only survived, but been reinvigorated. 

Saddam and WMDIn a speech televised in Baghdad last September, Saddam told his nuclear energy officials that "the battle is your battle," that Iraq's enemies "will be defeated when their losses will be as huge as the gains they had hoped to achieve," and that "the Nuclear Energy [Association] has a big duty in this field."   

Salman Zweir worked for 13 years as an engineer for the Iraqi Atomic Energy CoMarshall Mastersission before defecting to the West in late 1998.  Zweir, who worked on the centrifuge uranium enrichment program, claims that Saddam recalled him and many other technical personnel to the nuclear-weapons program in the fall of 1998.  Zweir refused, was imprisoned and tortured, and eventually escaped to the West.Some other recent reports of alleged defectors are less credible. The general picture that emerges is an ongoing, active effort by Iraq to build nuclear weapons. <<

What is most dangerous about men like Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein is that they are violent Earth-crossing objectsopportunists who will strike provided they can avoid responsibility for their attacks.  In the event of an unforeseen meteorite impact, they would use the event as a pretext with "legitimate appearance" for the purpose of a first strike.  And this, has astronomers deeply worried because of the difficulties in finding Earth-crossing objects in the 150-meter size range.

Interview with Dr. Brian Marsden

In this November 6, 2001 telephone interview between Marshall Masters of YOWUSA and Dr. Brian Marsden, Associate Director of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, the possibility that an unforeseen impact event could be used a pretext by international terrorists to start a global nuclear holocaust was examined.

MARSHALL MASTERS: President Bush has just warned the world that Osama bin Laden is working to gather weapons of mass destruction including biological, chemical and nuclear devices.  Also, we know that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein has revitalized his nuclear weapons program.  Keeping this in mind, may I call your attention to an article in the published in the Sunday Telegraph of London last Sunday.  It suggests that an impact event in Northern Iraq, wrecked the ME civilization some 4,0000 years ago in the area of Mesopotamia.  Dr. Marsden, if such an impact event were to occur in the same area of the world today and without prior notice, could it trigger a regional or global nuclear exchange? 

The Sunday Telegraph, November 4, 2001
Meteor clue to end of Middle East civilizations

SCIENTISTS have found the first evidence that a devastating meteor impact in the Middle East might have triggered the mysterious collapse of civilizations more than 4,000 years ago.

devastating M.E. meteor impactSatellite images of southern Iraq have revealed a two-mile-wide impact crater caused by a meteor  

If confirmed, it would point to the Middle East being struck by a meteor with the violence equivalent to hundreds of nuclear bombs. 

"It was a purely accidental discovery," Dr Master (Dr Sharad Master, a geologist at the University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg) told The Telegraph last week. "I was reading a magazine article about the canal-building projects of Saddam Hussein, and there was a photograph showing lots of formations - one of which was very, very circular." 

Detailed analysis of other satellite images taken since the mid-1980s showed that for many years the crater contained a small lake.

The draining of the region, as part of Saddam's campaign against the Marsh Arabs, has since caused the lake to recede, revealing a ring-like ridge inside the larger bowl-like depression - a classic feature of meteor impact craters. 

The crater also appears to be, in geological terms, very recent. Dr Master said: "The sediments in this region are very young, so whatever caused the crater-like structure, it must have happened within the past 6,000 years."

BRIAN MARSDEN: Yes, an unforeseen impact like the one mentioned in The Sunday Telegraph article could certainly trigger a regional if not global nuclear exchange, and this new concern goes straight to the heart of a change that is taking place in the NEO (NEAR-EARTH-OBJECT) community. 

Prior to 911, the cause-and-effect relationship between an impact event and a global nuclear exchange was nothing more than a theoretical debate. However, since 911 it is no longer theoretical.  It is now a very real threat for the very reasons that President Bush pointed out during his press conference with President Chirac. 

MARSHALL MASTERS: If this is a new threat since the attack on America, what kind of impact event scenario could trigger as you say, "a regional if not global nuclear exchange." 

BRIAN MARSDEN: Before delving into any one scenario, we must first ask the question: could they see it coming?  if we suppose the Iraq feature mentioned in the Sunday telegraph was an impact event, the impactor was perhaps a 150-meter object.  That would be very tough for our best neo search programs.  As for Iraq, I do not ever recall seeing an neo sighting coming out of that country. 

Granted, there are probably people in Iraq who have read books and are knowledgeable about meteor impacts, but the question of their access to the leadership of Iraq is debatable.  Also, we simply do not know if Saddam Hussein will seek out their advice.   Therefore, Iraq really has little or no practical ability to differentiate between an incoming NEO impactor and a nuclear-tipped ballistic missile. 

This then brings us to two frightening possibilities for a scenario. Saddam could initiate a retaliatory nuclear or biochemical launch against Israel and NATO member states because of a sighting error or, he uses the event as a pretext to justify a first launch.   Either way, a great many people will die awful deaths from both the impact event as well as the ensuing war. 

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