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Fisk: Evidence of nuclear-type weapons used in Southern Lebanon

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:41 AM
Original message
Fisk: Evidence of nuclear-type weapons used in Southern Lebanon
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 10:44 AM by BurtWorm
Note to mods: Although this would, on face, seem to be on the parochial subject of Israel v. Arab neighbor, the fact that the subject is actually the possible use of a type of nuclear weapon in warfare seems to me to demand more widespread notice. So I am requesting that unless the discussion devolves into the usual back and forth of Israel-bashing and charges of anti-Semitism, this be kept in GD for the widest possible exposure.

I am also requesting that those who respond to this thread try to remain focused on the question of how, if this does turn out to have been a type of nuclear weapon, the world community can work to ban its use, and, closer to home, Americans work to get reassurance from their government that a) it had nothing to do with the manufacture or encouragement of the use of this weapon, and b) it will not use these weapons--least of all against civilians--in the future. Please do not use this thread as an excuse to engage in the usual, nonproductive shouting match over Israel and its neighbors.

The people of the world deserve to know whether a nuclear weapon was detonated in Southern Lebanon, and if it was used, how it came to be used, what type of weapon it was, and what the civilized response to the use of such weaponry ought to be.


http://news.independent.co.uk/world/fisk/article1935945...

Robert Fisk: Mystery of Israel's secret uranium bomb
Alarm over radioactive legacy left by attack on Lebanon
Published: 28 October 2006

...

But scientific evidence gathered from at least two bomb craters in Khiam and At-Tiri, the scene of fierce fighting between Hizbollah guerrillas and Israeli troops last July and August, suggests that uranium-based munitions may now also be included in Israel's weapons inventory - and were used against targets in Lebanon. According to Dr Chris Busby, the British Scientific Secretary of the European Committee on Radiation Risk, two soil samples thrown up by Israeli heavy or guided bombs showed "elevated radiation signatures". Both have been forwarded for further examination to the Harwell laboratory in Oxfordshire for mass spectrometry - used by the Ministry of Defence - which has confirmed the concentration of uranium isotopes in the samples.

Dr Busby's initial report states that there are two possible reasons for the contamination. "The first is that the weapon was some novel small experimental nuclear fission device or other experimental weapon (eg, a thermobaric weapon) based on the high temperature of a uranium oxidation flash ... The second is that the weapon was a bunker-busting conventional uranium penetrator weapon employing enriched uranium rather than depleted uranium." A photograph of the explosion of the first bomb shows large clouds of black smoke that might result from burning uranium.

Enriched uranium is produced from natural uranium ore and is used as fuel for nuclear reactors. A waste productof the enrichment process is depleted uranium, it is an extremely hard metal used in anti-tank missiles for penetrating armour. Depleted uranium is less radioactive than natural uranium, which is less radioactive than enriched uranium.


...
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Greeby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:47 AM
Response to Original message
1. The Ohlmert government had to be pretty sure it wouldn't affect them
That tends to rule out anything that has major fallout, right? :shrug:
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:52 AM
Response to Reply #1
5. That's right.
The theories Fisk sites seem to focus on small-blast weapons or ones that use uranium as a shell, as in depleted uranium tipped bunker busters.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:58 AM
Response to Reply #5
10. Very-small-yeild nukes are EXTREMELY difficult to build
I don't think anyone has been able to build one yet.

The "Nuclear Hand Grenade" is still years from being developed.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:07 AM
Response to Reply #1
15. More to the point about your specific point is addressed in the article
"When a uranium penetrator hits a hard target, the particles of the explosion are very long-lived in the environment," Dr Busby said yesterday. "They spread over long distances. They can be inhaled into the lungs. The military really seem to believe that this stuff is not as dangerous as it is." Yet why would Israel use such a weapon when its targets - in the case of Khiam, for example - were only two miles from the Israeli border? The dust ignited by DU munitions can be blown across international borders, just as the chlorine gas used in attacks by both sides in the First World War often blew back on its perpetrators.

Chris Bellamy, the professor of military science and doctrine at Cranfield University, who has reviewed the Busby report, said: "At worst it's some sort of experimental weapon with an enriched uranium component the purpose of which we don't yet know. At best - if you can say that - it shows a remarkably cavalier attitude to the use of nuclear waste products."
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
2. So people screaming about
enriched uranium are using it on other people. How fugging sick.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
29. The only way enriched uranium is a weapon
is when you squish it with an explosive lens. Then it goes boom.

EU has no conventional use. Period.

Don;t believe everything you read.
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Junkdrawer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:49 AM
Response to Original message
3. The lab results should tell the tale...
If the uranium fissioned in any way, there will be daughter products. My bet is that DU (in large quantities) was used as a means to enhance the kinetic energy, hence the ground penetration of the weapon.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:50 AM
Response to Original message
4. Another possibility is that the Uranium came from the target
Perhaps they blew-up labs where terrorists were building or storing nuclear weapons?

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:53 AM
Response to Reply #4
6. I wonder if that will be looked into.
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4bucksagallon Donating Member (324 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:55 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. That was what I was wondering, need more evidence to either prove or disprove.
I am not a big fan of Israel, but let's see where the chips fall before making accusations against either side.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:57 AM
Response to Reply #7
8. Here's a little more about what was actually found
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 10:57 AM by BurtWorm
From the Fisk article:

The soil sample from Khiam - site of a notorious torture prison when Israel occupied southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000, and a frontline Hizbollah stronghold in the summer war - was a piece of impacted red earth from an explosion; the isotope ratio was 108, indicative of the presence of enriched uranium. "The health effects on local civilian populations following the use of large uranium penetrators and the large amounts of respirable uranium oxide particles in the atmosphere," the Busby report says, "are likely to be significant ... we recommend that the area is examined for further traces of these weapons with a view to clean up."
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:01 AM
Response to Reply #8
11. Some red clays naturally contain Uranium
{PDF} Search for spontaneous fission tracks of superheavy nuclei in deep ...
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat
The uranium content of the albite was. (2-3)'10 -8 g/g; in the nodules it was (3-4)'10 -6 g/g; and in the red clay from the core it ...
http://www.springerlink.com/index/V6860799W6L6412R.pdf

Ask Mikey about Geology, Rock Types & Miscellaneous, Rockhounding ...
A shale having a red color is evidence that the clay underwent some ... those of the uranium or thorium series of the chemist's periodic table of elements). ...
http://rockhoundingar.com/askmikey/askMgeology.html

clayart - thread 'allergic reaction to red clay'
clay. Try another type of red clay from a different source, and see if ... be possible to use iron as the electron source to promote uranium = ...
http://www.potters.org/subject79780.htm
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:10 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. Presumably someone who works on nuclear issues
would be able to tell the difference between naturally occuring environmental doses and ones evidently added to the scene from an outside source.
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Ian David Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:12 AM
Response to Reply #16
17. Good point. n/t
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Toots Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:04 AM
Response to Reply #4
14. Ya that's the ticket...Saddam's nukes have been found and eliminated
:rofl: :rofl:
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:39 AM
Response to Reply #4
25. Or: space aliens intervened!
Really do you have any evidence at all for your assertion that Hezbollah has a nuclear weapons program and that, being total idiots despite having a nuclear weapons program, they are building or storing these weapons in front line bunkers in southern lebanon? Or perhaps you are just making shit up?

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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:57 AM
Response to Original message
9. Good luck! I tried to post this in GD a few weeks ago.
It was promptly exiled to the IP forum where even I forgot about it.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.ph...

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #9
13. It's difficult to tell if that mysterious weapon is the same as this one.
Does the DIME use a uranium product?
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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:14 AM
Response to Reply #13
19. Hmm,. maybe not >
i guess it's not the same thing. but equally horrifying.



http://www.guardian.co.uk/israel/Story/0,,1924524,00.ht...

The weapon is new and in the US is still in the early stages of development. It has a carbon-fibre casing and contains fine tungsten particles rather than ordinary metal shrapnel. It causes a very powerful blast, but with a much more limited radius than other explosives.

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:16 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. It's difficult not to suspect that the US had a hand in manufacturing
whatever these mystery weapons are:

Many Lebanese, however, long ago concluded that the latest Lebanon war was a weapons testing ground for the Americans and Iranians, who respectively supply Israel and Hizbollah with munitions. Just as Israel used hitherto-unproven US missiles in its attacks, so the Iranians were able to test-fire a rocket which hit an Israeli corvette off the Lebanese coast, killing four Israeli sailors and almost sinking the vessel after it suffered a 15-hour on-board fire.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:27 PM
Response to Reply #20
33. Also note that the Iranians are not developing those
anti-ship missiles, Russia or China are providing the technology. What we had in Lebanon was a classic cold war era proxy war, with both sides trying out new tech via their respective meat puppets on the ground.

plus ca change...
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Poll_Blind Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #13
35. This could be the Israeli version of DIMEs.
DIMEs are a classification of the type of weapon and not necessarily a specific weapon. From what I understand of DIMEs, they typically use carbon powder. But that's not to say that a DIME couldn't be jacketed or use some mix of carbon and depleted uranium powder or even entirely depleted uranium powder. The point with a DIME isn't conventional shrapnel but overpressure from the bomb driving tiny particles of a metal or ceramic into surfaces, effectively "eating" whatever it touches through friction.

  To use a DIME with depleted uranium is sort of counter-intuitive in the sense that a DIME's original purpose was to keep the collateral level of damage lower than with conventional shrapnel-based weapons. The thing, though, is that depleted uranium is at its most deadly to humans when it is used in powder or granulated form. This allows it to be inhaled or come to rest in the body in the form of micro-shrapnel which continues to deliver some measurable dose of radiation. And of course, the metal is toxic to the human body.

  Sort of a modern "salting the earth" approach.

PB
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:01 AM
Response to Original message
12. I wonder if it is possible to create a "micro-nuke"
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 11:18 AM by originalpckelly
using the kinetic energy of the weapon falling to the ground to compress an extremely small amount of enriched uranium to produce a small nuclear blast. That is the only thing I can think of using the fission process. It probably would produce a larger explosion than a normal bunker buster.



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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:14 AM
Response to Original message
18. Why use EU in a conventional bomb?
It'd be like stuffing the bomb with cash. Also, why bother with such small nukes? Anything below 1kt is just wasted funds that could've bought a lot of standard munitions to do the same job.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:17 AM
Response to Reply #18
21. Very good questions.
Of course sometimes thinking rationally about weapons development is taking the wrong tack toward understanding them. ;)
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:22 AM
Response to Reply #21
22. True, terribly true
With all the hand-shaking smiley-face deals and competing for research dollars and all that dirty business (in addition to the actual dirty business they're engaged in!), I guess you can't really cancel anything out with common sense. After all, common sense would dictate less bombs, not more, in the first place.
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Warren Stupidity Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:46 AM
Response to Reply #18
27. Why assume it was conventional?
We know that the US military has been working on small low fallout thermobaric nukes for use against deeply hardened targets (e.g. Iran's nuclear facilities). How about the IDF tested one or two of these out for us? How about there is a cooperative R&D and testing program between Israel and the United States for the development (secret funding of course, our official funding for the bunker buster program was officially terminated in 2005, but who thinks that is real?) of these weapons?
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goforit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:31 AM
Response to Original message
23. Israel citizens should be concerned about radioactive material drifting to
them. Nothing like being destroyed by their own.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:37 AM
Response to Original message
24. IF YOU THINK this is an important subject, please RECOMMEND it
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 11:38 AM by BurtWorm
so it at least spends a day on the Greatest Page. Otherwise, only I/P regulars will see this.

Thanks.
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spoony Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 11:41 AM
Response to Reply #24
26. Sorry it got moved
Edited on Sat Oct-28-06 11:41 AM by spoony
I'll rec it for being an interesting topic, certainly worthy of a look!

edit: it says I can't recommend threads from this forum! :o
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Stephanie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:24 PM
Response to Reply #24
30. I'm getting this message:
"You can't recommend threads from this forum."

Sheesh. That's not cool.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:56 PM
Response to Reply #30
31. Thanks for trying.
Makes it a little difficult to keep DUers informed of kind of important subjects concerning the Middle East, in my opinion.
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Pavulon Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:14 PM
Response to Original message
28. A pile of horseshit
DU Burns when it hits metal, its pyrophoric. So if DU was used this is the result. That is why it is used in kinetic weapons.

There is NO FUCKING way to hide a fission weapon. There are un hideable, undeniable, tells of a nuclear device.

It is not a nuclear weapon.

Suggested reading. R Rhodes. Or even a wiki article on fission, fusion, or the atom bomb.

Israel has a stated policy it will not be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 12:57 PM
Response to Reply #28
32. It doesn't have to be a fission weapon, according to the article.
But it doesn't appear to be DU either.
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 02:56 PM
Response to Original message
34. Or there's the suggestion it was spent fuel mixed with DU
The Khiam sample, with 108 parts U-238 to one of U-235 - just under one per cent - is clearly enriched - but not much. So, in the absence of any palpable military advantage, in terms of its mass and its ability to generate heat and fire compared with DU or natural uranium, why was this enigmatic material used? There are several possibilities. The first is that there was a simple mistake - that uranium with an elevated U-235 content was used instead of DU or natural uranium. The Khiam sample was very small - 25 grams. Contamination with soil could easily obscure a higher degree of enrichment. Spent nuclear fuel - after the power has been generated - typically contains 2.5 per cent U-235, but it can be as low as 1.5 per cent - close to the Khiam sample level. So the uranium in the Khiam projectile could just have been spent nuclear fuel.

One way to dispose of enriched uranium safely is to blend it with natural uranium, in such a way that the U-235 is extremely difficult to re-extract. That might well produce a substance with just under one per cent U-235, which was a component of the Israeli Khiam bomb.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article...


What's not clear is if any other tests were done to see if it could have a proportion of spent fuel in (I think there would be other elements present in unusual quantities if it was - but perhaps the sample was too small for them to be detectable). I'd also wonder what the margin of error is for the tests that were done.
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Oct-28-06 10:49 PM
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