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Urinated States of America

"Did Iraq conduct a clandestine
nuclear weapon test?

..As for the alleged decoupling effect, the maximum decoupling factor often quoted in the
scientific literature is 70, making a yield of around 700 tons, for example, appear to be 10
tons. In fact, a decoupling factor of 70 is highly unlikely and has never been observed for a
test with an actual yield greater than about 300 tons. The claim
that the alleged 10kt explosion was muffled to the extent that it
registered as a 2.7 magnitude seismic event is, therefore, implausible.
A fully decoupled 10kt explosion would more likely have
appeared as a 3.8–4.0 magnitude event, easily detectable by
global and regional networks at that time.
Moreover, a cavity that could successfully decouple a 10kt
test would have to be free-standing, in the order of 700,000
cubic metres and with a 55-metre radius. The geology around
Lake Rezazza encompasses significant areas of carbonates with
the potential to produce caves as a result of permeating water.
Yet the idea that a very large cave beneath the lake could
support the overpressures of a 10kt nuclear explosion, and
that such a cavity would be completely isolated from cracks,
joints or passageways to the surface, is not credible. The collapse
of a nuclear cavity under a lake would, of course, immediately
produce a telltale sudden drop in the water level, if not the
disappearance of the lake, a risky proposition for a country
attempting a clandestine test. Nothing remotely similar to this
scenario has been successfully tested in the US or the former
Soviet Union."

"Assuming that the reported magnitude 2.7, rather than
the reported kilotonnage, was a correct estimate, and using a
more realistic decoupling factor of 50, the maximum credible
yield of the alleged Iraqi test would have been around 900
tons or about 1kt. This would indicate a failed test. A state
attempting to conduct a nuclear test for the first time is unlikely
to be able to design successfully a device with such a small
yield. A larger, cruder device has been the norm for all initial
nuclear experiments (the first US highly enriched uranium
bomb, detonated over Hiroshima, was 13kt).
Such analyses strongly indicate that Iraq did not conduct a
nuclear test in September 1989. The worst-case scenario is an
explosion of 1kt or less. Although it is far easier to prove
something did happen than to prove that it did not, there is
no reason to believe that the Sunday Times story is anything
but a hoax."

Let it go, Ray.

Ray Robison

This report makes a persuasive argument. Maybe it was an attempted test that ended in a nuclear contamination event. Either way I am left wondering why Iraq had a uranium radiation mass casualty event and why they considered the radiation as still effecting the population in the region ten years after the claimed causitive agent, DU, was utilized. Because the fact is it wan't caused by DU. So what is your theory?

Jeff Rooney


I would not let it go. This person whom has posted responses lately - "Urinated States of America" wants you to let it go, but I have a gut feeling is because this poster thinks you are on to something. The only thing people on the left and people that are against the war in Iraq and/or President Bush have left now is to diminish or outright dismiss anything found in these documents. They do not care about the truth because it exposes it was they that lied to the world for three years. I come from a family of law enforcement personnel with a combined 46 years of experience between three brothers and I have 10 years of handling investigations and surveillance. My insticts are normally better than most, and I think you are headed down the right path. Jveritas, Sammy and yourself will locate answers to may questions that the left fears. Do not let them dissuade you.

Urinated State of America

"Either way I am left wondering why Iraq had a uranium radiation mass casualty event and why they considered the radiation as still effecting the population in the region ten years after the claimed causitive agent, DU, was utilized."

Why do you think there were radiation mass casualties? Not only that, but radiation mass casualties from an event that failed to leave forsenic evidence that the IAEA, Blix, Kay, Duelfer, the three-letter intelligence agencies and the alphabet soup of assorted DoD and DoE agencies could pick up on?
Don't you think that someone would have wanted to be the hero that saved the day for the credibility of the US intelligence community?

Given that Kay was quoted in Gwynne Roberts original report, don't you think that if there had been a shred of physical evidence or plausibility there for Kay to pursue, he would have tried to find it, if only so he didn't look like a schmuck for believing the original story?

""Urinated States of America" wants you to let it go, but I have a gut feeling is because this poster thinks you are on to something."

Indeed. They dyed those zebras so their stripes wouldn't show and then used advanced genetically-engineered gene therapy to change their zebra DNA to look like horse DNA.

In any event, there's a Nature article on seismic testing from which I'll post excerpts tomorrow, then I'm done here.

P.S. U-238 has a half-life of 4.5 billion years, U-235 0.7 billion years. Ten years ain't gonna make much difference, save dispersion over a wider area.

Lurking Observer

It would be very useful to remember that it's one thing to test a nuclear device, and something else entirely to develop a nuclear weapon.

The ability to test a device is relatively straightforward. Being able to miniaturize it, or even simply shrink it, to the point where you can then put it on an airplane (never mind a missile) often entails a significantly greater effort.

IIRC, the USSR tested a nuclear device in 1949, but it took perhaps a year or more before they could put it on a Tu-4 (B-29 knock-off).

So, IF this story is true, it does not necessarily mean Saddam had a nuclear weapon. And that's assuming the test was of a weapon and that it worked. Test a design that failed, and you've got a lot less to work with.

Citizen Deux

As much as I would like to believe the prospect of an Iraqi nuclear test, and I do believe it is possible, there are enough concerns to raise doubt. The post OIF exploitation teams did some pretty thorough scouring of regions formerly employed by the military. A post test site would have jumped right out at any detector. Additionally, any quantity of bodies dumped with radiation poisoning, unless entombed in concrete, would also likely show up to detection.

The documents in the file need more review. Some of the postings by our disrespectfully titled visitor seem to have validity. I am not a physicist, but I am an engineer. The subterranean effects are probably most convincing.

Ray Robison

CD, your points are well taken as to the testing. I personally am leaning more towards nuclear materials development causing the contamination. That was in full swing in Iraq in the late 80's. One thing about the detection of mass graves that were irradiated. We would only have identified it if we had been looking for it. I am not convinced that before these documents came out, there was any significant reason to go looking for the graves (in the public anyway). So they might very well be there and nobody has inspected them for radiactivity yet. There have been a lot of other things to worry about in Iraq for the last 3 years and this would be low priority.

Ray Robison

"Why do you think there were radiation mass casualties?" because a mass grave is used when there is a mass casualty event. Other wise it would be a cemetary. And since the IIS is planning on how to spin the discovery of mass graves and confirming the presence of radiation, and then proceding to order the documentation of more contamination, that absolutely indicates they believe there was a mass casualty event involving irradiation. Other wise, why do any of these things in conjuntion with the release of the GR story? Sometimes you have to take the political blinders off and at least admit to the obvious. Something happened there involving radiation and it was not DU.

Ray Robison

Okay, I also happen to be a biologist. All the laboratory testing in the world doesn't mean shit if the application of the depleted uranium doesn't contaminate the environment. The fact is, the Kosovo study proved that it doesn't. What this study you quote proves is that radioactive material can cause cancer. No shit! But guess what, you can create a laboratory test that will demonstrate too much of any chemical is fatal. We are made of water yet too much ingestion can kill you. It's toxicity and radioactivity is low in an application like we are talking here, because part of it oxidizes, part of it disperses reducing the concentration, and it is not a highly radioactive nuclear material to begin with.
What I love is that you have tried to discredit the one UN field test that went to the site of DU use that actually measured the contamination and found the radiation was so localized basicly to the bullet hole and in such low level as to be hardly noticable, yet you cite a petri dish study as more relevant than the Kosovo study. You sir are a piece of crap liar. I welcome different openions, but I will not have this site become yet another venue for you DU morons to spread your lies. You can post all you want, but it won't last long. Go back to the HuffPo with the rest of your liar friends Mr. Liar McLiar.

Ray Robison

Urin boy, I will answer your question but will delete your post. DU liars are not welcome here. It is such a disgusting lie. You can only detect radiation where you look for it, technology is not a magic wand, it has limits. If nobody tested in the area, then yes, it could easily be missed. The UN was constantly finding new things in Iraq (minus the 4 years they were not inspecting of course) that had been missed before.
DO I believe that a nucear detonation occured here, no. DO I think it is impossible, no. Because the limits people are putting on this possibilty are based on incorrect assumptions. It is unfortunately based on this view that we have some Star Trek like scanners and detectors. Our best technology still has technical limits and it is possible to get around it. Now if somebody shows me that this very site was checked out by a reliable source, then I will absolutely rule it out. Leone could very well be a crafty liar who tooks real things and turned them into a scare story to try to get the USA to attack Saddam. That probably is the case. But I won't rule it out just because it sounds impossible, we all learned the lesson of 9/11 there I hope. We are not invulnerable or infalable even though we are the best country in the world.



Your contention that Saddam's invasion of Kuwait exhibted new behavior is I think fallicious. Iraq had a territorial claim to Kuwait that dates back to the time of the Ottoman empire. In 1963 (before Saddam and the Baathists came to power), Iraq did mass a large number of troops on the Kuwaiti border with the intent to invade. They were deterred at the last minute when Great Britain sent warships and troops to aid the Kuwaitis. The British intent was clear, if Iraq invaded Kuwait, Britain would defend Kuwait and hurt Iraq. The Iraqis backed down. Fast-forward to July 1990, when Iraq was reeling from the economic warfare the Kuwaitis had engaged it in. Ambassador April Galispie's comments to Saddam at that time: "We take no position on Arab on Arab disputes", meaning that the US would not interfer with Iraq's claim to Kuwait, unlike Britain in 1963. So Iraq invaded and occupied a 14th century monarchy, complete with slave labor and women treated as 4th class citizens, and was condemened for it. So I don't think that Saddam changed his behavior; the invasion was illegitimate but I think that Saddam felt he had no choice after his economy was ruined during the Iran war.

I don't know anything about nuclear weapons so I'm not going to comment on the rest of the post.

Ray Robison

James said "I don't know anything about nuclear weapons so I'm not going to comment on the rest of the post."

You should have started this policy before the other crap you just spewed. The evaluation of Saddam's behavior is particular to SADDAM, not the history of Iraq. To defend Saddam's behavior while blasting the Kuwaitis is just insane. I hope everyone has a good look at the typical liberal insanity you puke up. Just believe me folks, I couldn't make this stuff up. This is the nonsense liberals like James actually believes.


1.) I am not a liberal, I am a Republican who voted for Bush.

2.) Saddam's behavior is not particular to SADDAM, he was following coherent Iraqi policies that had been established before he came to power. IF I told you that Reagan's invasion of Grenada was particular to Reagan's behavior of well being flighty and seeing threats where there were none, and not an extenstion of the Monroe Doctrine and the policy of containment/roll-back, you would call me crazy. So why can't the same principle be applied to Saddam? Because you don't like him? You responded to my coherent argument with an ad hominem attack, bravo.

3.) You thus did not address my argument at all regarding the policy implications of a decision by Saddam to "test" a nuclear device. I gave you a reason for Saddam's behavior in 1990,(the reasons for his invasion of Kuwait) the behavior you claim is proof that he had tested a nuclear device. You did not refute my argument ergo I see no reason to believe your assertions about Saddam's behavior and nuclear weapons.

4.) "I don't know anything about nuclear weapons so I'm not going to comment on the rest of the post."---This comment was made in deference to your obvious expertise in this area, to which you responded with an insult; how grown up of you.

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