Operation Neptune Spear and the Killing of Osama bin Laden

Final month, throughout routine scanning of cargo on the Heathrow Airport, the British police got here throughout a “very small amount of uranium “package deal. The undeclared materials was found on a passenger flight on December 29, 2022.  The Indian information businesses and Day by day Mail On-line reported “it was destined for an Iranian enterprise with   premises within the UK (David Barret, House Affairs Editor for the Day by day Mail and Brittany Chain for Mail On-line, Printed January 10, 2023). Being “not of weapon grade” the uranium was incapable of getting used for improvising a “soiled bomb” (a radiation dispersal machine). Nevertheless, some information businesses and uncanny specialists tried to whip up “soiled bomb” scare out of the incident. Hamish De Bretton-Gordon, former commander of the UK’s nuclear defence regiment lent credence to the unfounded scare. He stated: ‘Uranium can provide off very excessive ranges of toxic radiation. It may very well be utilized in a grimy bomb.  Indian information businesses and the Day by day Mail On-line, of their stories, magnified “a really small amount” into “a number of kilograms” of uranium. It was claimed that the package deal “originated” in Pakistan although it was headed for an Iranian enterprise in Britain.

 British Police Commander, Richard Smith clarified: ‘I wish to reassure the general public that the quantity of contaminated materials was extraordinarily small and has been assessed by specialists as posing no menace to the general public. ‘Though our investigation stays ongoing, from our inquiries up to now, it doesn’t look like linked to any direct menace.

‘As the general public would count on, nonetheless, we are going to proceed to comply with up on all obtainable traces of enquiry to make sure that is undoubtedly the case.

‘Nevertheless, it does spotlight the wonderful functionality we and our companions have in place to watch our ports and borders with a view to preserve the general public protected from any potential threats to their security and safety that is likely to be coming into the UK.’ ‘The fabric has been recognized as being contaminated with uranium.’


It’s unlucky that India in cahoots with some international media is all the time within the forefront to use such incidents and painting Pakistan as a nuclear rogue. For example, Time journal, in its article ‘Service provider of Menace’, reported some uranium hexa-flouride cylinders had been lacking from the Kahuta Analysis Laboratories (February 15, 2005).  Pakistan’ info minister and foreign-office spokesman each refuted the allegation.  The data minister instructed Geo TV channel, “We’ve checked all of the data and no cylinder is lacking from the KRL”. Masood Khan (international workplace) instructed reporters, “The story is a rehash of a number of previous tales”. Could learn N-Terror Risk the News Worldwide, August 27, 2009

India’s personal document is dismal. Allow us to reminisce a number of incidents It’s not understood why lack of radioactive materials from Indian labs is all the time out of the journal’s focus _ In accordance with worldwide media stories (February 25, 2004),

India itself reported 25 instances of “lacking” or “stolen” radio-active materials from its labs to the Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company (IAEA).  Fifty-two per cent of the instances had been attributed to “theft” and 48% to “lacking thriller”.  India claimed to have recovered misplaced materials in twelve of complete 25 instances.  She nonetheless admitted that 13 remaining instances remained mysterious.

Pot calling kettle black:India’s radio-active bazaar

India has a sprawling civil and navy nuclear programme that spreads over a number of states. In an article in The Diplomat, Sitara Noor highlighted shortcomings in security and safety of India’s nuclear amenities (India’s radio-active bazaar: Recurring incidents involving  theft  and sale of nuclear supplies reveal why India should  develop an impartial nuclear regulatory physique.)

<thediplomat.com/2022/03/India’s radio-active bazaar> [Accessed 14 January 2023].

She says: ‘Whereas world markets are taking a dip as a result of financial recession, India’s illicit uranium market appears to be flourishing. In February, eight folks together with two Indian officers had been apprehended in Nepal for illegally possessing and trying to promote“uranium like substance”.  The fabric was reportedly smuggled from India.  This was not simply one-off incident _ theft and sale of nuclear and radioactive materials in India is a recurring phenomenon. Earlier in Could 2021, stories of the seizure of seven kilograms of extremely radio-active uranium value 210 million Indian rupees from a scrap vendor raised severe concern about India’s nuclear safety capabilities. Over the previous twenty years over 200 kilograms of nuclear and radio-active supplies has reportedly disappeared from Indian amenities. Frequent incidents of loss and theft of nuclear and radio-active supplies in India point out the failure of the nuclear safety programs at a number of ranges. First there appears to be a spot within the materials accounting and management programs to make sure that not even an iota of fabric is left unaccounted.  Second, the character of incidents in India hints on the involvement of insiders_ somebody working on the nuclear amenities or mining websites working independently or colluding with an outsider. This means the intense danger of insider menace and a failure of the personnel reliability program. Third, the recurrence of nuclear safety lapses with such impunity signifies severe points with nuclear safety tradition in India…’

Is Soiled bomb a hoax?

Opinion in regards to the results of a grimy bomb is split.

A report by Henry Stimson Heart, Washington (adopted by a number of different stories) laments “…Nuclear and radiological terrorism stays a daunting chance in India and Pakistan, and the supply materials for nuclear terrorism may come from illicit transactions of poorly protected supplies originating exterior the area, in addition to materials from inside the area used for navy or civilian functions”.

This report was supplied to the US Senate Overseas Relations Committee to facilitate the Cooperative Risk Discount Program on nuclear proliferation in South Asia.

The report concludes that “though India and Pakistan have established regulatory our bodies to take care of the protection and safety of their nuclear supplies,’ these will not be enough to guard in opposition to each potential menace”.

One other report, authored by Kishore Kuchibhotla, Ph.D (Biophysics) from Harvard, and Matthew McKinzie, a nuclear physicist serving as a workers scientist with USA’s Nuclear Program on the Pure Sources Protection Council, argues that “…three different forms of occasions may immediate unintended escalation in South Asia: a terrorist use of RDDs (radiological dispersal units); a terrorist detonation of a nuclear weapon; and the unintentional explosion of nuclear arms — for instance at navy bases in both India or Pakistan… The report factors out that whereas nuclear weapons themselves are intently guarded, all kinds of radioactive materials may very well be present in analysis laboratories and hospitals that might present the fundamental supplies for the making of a grimy bomb…. Practically 10,000 radioactive sources are used all through India of which about 400 are significantly worrisome…”  The report predicts that “…soiled bomb detonation in Karachi, New Delhi, Mumbai and Islamabad” may end in “casualties that on the very minimal would quantity within the tens of hundreds”.   It’s eerie to notice that The Time (Pentagon) correspondent Mark Thompson asserts in his article what’s a ‘Soiled Bomb, “It’s unlikely to kill 10,000 folks”.)

It seems that the priority in regards to the “soiled bombs” is overblown.  Historical past of terrorism displays that “terrorists” are involved in symbolic targets (which may yield widespread publicity), not in mass killing (vide Verindre Grover’s Encyclopaedia of Worldwide Terrorism). 

A “soiled bomb” just isn’t identified to have been examined by any nation or detonated by any “terrorist” wherever on this planet.  So, its composition and scope of its harmful energy is shrouded in thriller.  Nevertheless, it’s usually believed to “include a bomb manufactured from standard explosives corresponding to TNT, salted with radioactive materials”.

Opposite to the “soiled bombs”, fall-out of the examined A-bombs is nicely recorded.  The main powers declared moratoriums on nuclear-bombs testing solely in 1992.  The pre-1992-period check scoreboard of the USA, former Soviet Union, France, and Britain is an explosion each 18 days, 21 days, 61 days, and 331 days (R Venkataraman Nuclear Explosion and its Aftermath). 


It’s a lot simpler and cheaper to make a chemical or organic bomb than a “soiled bomb” (It’s believed that the chemical bombs utilized by Saddam’s Iraq in opposition to Iran had been made with Indian know-how).  Although a “soiled bomb” has by no means been utilized by any “terrorist”, a bio/chemical bomb was really utilized by Japan’s former doomsday-cult Guru Shoko Asahara.  The Guru stands sentenced to loss of life “for masterminding the lethal 1995 nerve/chemical fuel (sarin) assault on the Tokyo subway and a string of different crimes that killed 27 folks”.

The cult’s quest for organic weapons was overshadowed by its chemical assault functionality.  The cult members had been attempting to develop botulinum toxin by utilising toxin of inexperienced Mamba snake and toxic mushroom spores,

Concerning use of chemical/organic weapons by “terrorists”, Professor Ramesh Chandra factors out in his World Terrorism (quantity 1, web page 27), “The US authorities signifies that these weapons are nicely inside the attain of terrorists.  In accordance with the Central Intelligence Company, ‘Terrorist curiosity in chemical and organic weapons isn’t a surprise, given the relative ease with which a few of these weapons might be produced in easy laboratories…  Though standard fiction and nationwide consideration have targeted on terrorist use of nuclear weapons, chemical and organic weapons are extra seemingly decisions for such teams’”.

Not solely sarin, but additionally a number of different chemical brokers like mustard, tabun, soman and VX are able to twin use as pesticides and as a chemical weapon.  Chandra (op. cit., web page 30) factors out, “chemical warfare brokers ‘can fairly actually be manufactured in a kitchen or basement in portions enough for mass-casualty assaults”.  Consultants agree that it’s tougher to fabricate Sarin fuel, utilized by the “terrorists” in Japan, than mustard, tabun, soman, et al. To some specialists, an efficient bio-terrorism facility may very well be constructed at $ 200,000 to 2 million.

Organic weapons, too, are simpler to fabricate than “soiled bombs”.  Viruses may trigger smallpox, Venezuelan equine encephalitis and hemorrhagic fevers like Ebola. The specter of  organic weapons is clear from the truth that: (1) The costs for anthrax, Q fever (Coxiella burnetti) and Venezuelian equine encephalomyeletus cultures from a number one US tradition assortment are about $ 45, $ 80, and $81 respectively.  Moreover, nature abounds with microscopic killers.  Bacillus anthracis resides in hides and carcasses of untamed or domesticated animals and plagues in prairie canine, chipmunks, black rats, deer mouse and coyotes. Chandra (op cit) states that “The fee estimates for a bio-terrorism facility differ fairly extensively from $ 200,000 to $ 2 million…Directions for mass produce, purify, and focus microbes might be present in textbooks and scientific journals”. 

Concluding reflections

The Heathrow nuclear materials is now seen as ‘lethal’ however the UK-based media company reported that the uranium was ‘not weapons-grade’ – and so couldn’t be used to fabricate a thermo-nuclear weapon, as per sources.

It seems that disproportionate emphasis on legendary “soiled bombs” vis-à-vis chemical / bio- bombs is supposed to press and exploit non-major or nuclear-threshold states.  “Soiled” or clear bomb assaults by “terrorists” must be understood and defined inside the broader body of “terrorism”. 

The US authorities have recorded over 175 instances worldwide of nuclear supplies (not bombs) being smuggled out of former Soviet Union territories and different international locations. The Federation of American Scientists, however, admits that “radiological assaults may end in some deaths however not lots of of hundreds of casualties that may very well be brought on by a crude nuclear weapon” . 

The US scientist concluded, “Important portions of radioactive materials have been misplaced or stolen from US amenities through the previous few years. Radiological supplies are saved in hundreds of amenities across the US, lots of which will not be adequately protected in opposition to theft by decided terrorists’ ‘. Supplies like Iridium-192, Cobalt 60 (Gamma emitter), Cesium-137 (Gamma emitter), Americium (Alpha emitter) and even plutonium may nonetheless be stolen from over 21,000 laboratories, meals irradiation crops, oil drilling amenities and medical centres within the USA.  However, it isn’t a simple job to make an efficient “soiled bomb”.

It seems that “soiled bomb” is a hoax to use nouveau-nuclear or nuclear-threshold nations. It may very well be a weapon of mass disruption, however not a weapon of mass destruction.  Actual menace emanates from chemical or bio-weapons. 

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