edited: Saturday, February 23, 2002
By Douglas De Bono
Posted: Saturday, February 23, 2002
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Suitcase size nukes - they exist and many are still missing. This is part of the core research that went into Blood Covenant.
Suitcase size nuclear weapons or to use the parlance of military planners – man portable nuclear devices. Allegedly, two versions were created: an underwater and land based version. Do such weapons exist? Were they created? And how would something like this be employed?
Consider for a moment what we are discussing. A man portable nuclear weapon would be the size of an average piece of luggage weighing between seventy and one hundred fifty pounds. Much of that weight is probably some sort of radiation shielding to prevent detection and to protect the people deploying the weapon. The weapon would have some sort of integrated explosive. Most likely, the traditional safety devices will not be present due to weight considerations. The fissile material is probably Plutonium in order to provide a higher yield from a smaller physical warhead. There would have to be an arming mechanism, perhaps a key or a series of buttons.
Such a device might have a yield in the .2 to .5 kiloton range (although, recent reports suggest a 10 kiloton). Not enough to bust a city, but certainly adequate for strategic targets like listening posts, regional air traffic control centers, major power plants, hydro-electric dams, large highway interchanges or strategic locks and dams.
Rumors suggest such weapons were designed, manufactured and perhaps deployed. The likely American sites where these weapons are hidden appear to be Montana, Brainerd, Minnesota and upstate New York. The most persistent rumors imply the KGB in the mid to late seventies ordered the production of at least 132 weapons, and may have sanctioned the production of as many as 300 weapons. Official statements acknowledging the existence of such weapons surface from time to time, they are generally followed by murkier denials from the same people.
The Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti — Committee for State Security – KGB was a combination paramilitary force and the Russian version of the Central Intelligence Agency. The KGB is not remembered as a fraternal organization seeing to the needs of widows and orphans. The KGB was a vicious service that repressed its own civilian population and conducted exotic assassinations against defectors and western targets.
Is it conceivable that the procurement of nuclear weapons could take place outside the force structure of the Soviet Strategic Rocket Forces? Suppose the rumors are true . The KGB Chairman in the late seventies was a man named Iurii I. Andropov. He later became the Communist Party Secretary and presided over the shoot down of Korean Airlines Flight 007 and the aggressive deployment of mobile missiles throughout Eastern Europe. It seems credible that Andropov’s KGB was capable of ordering the development of such weapons.
The weapons were most likely designed and developed at Arzamas-16. Arzamas-16 was a closed city from 1946 to 1996. This means it literally disappeared from Russian maps and its location was a state secret. It is still the premier Russian nuclear design lab and is the sister city to Los Alamos. For example, Andre Sakarov—the father of the hydrogen bomb worked at Arzamas-16.
The suitcase bomb is not the type of weapon that can be launched from a cannon, mounted on a missile or dropped from a bomber. It is not the kind of weapon conventional military forces would sponsor. It is a weapon fairly useless in a storage barracks somewhere in the Siberian wilderness, which leads us to the next uncomfortable conclusion: For a portable nuclear weapon to be useful, it would need to be close to its target. The targets were not inside the Soviet Union, but in Japan, South Korea, West Germany, France, England, Israel, Iran and America.
A better moniker would be the clandestine nuclear weapon. The delivery system is maybe two people and Chevy Nova. Seem improbable? Then ask yourself, how difficult would it be to move a small nuclear weapon across the Canadian or Mexican borders? If a weapon of this nature could easily moved across an open international border, it would effectively short circuit the billions invested in surveillance and detection systems.
If the weapons exist, then to be effective the weapons were probably deployed east of the Mississippi in the proximity of strategic targets designed to cripple the country’s ability to respond in a time of crisis. There is one other problem, how do you prove country of origin if they are used and what do you do to stifle public outrage? Even if the weapon originated in former Soviet Union, there is no guarantee that Russia still controls the weapons.
Of course, there’s no need to worry. Both America and Russia do not acknowledge the existence of these weapons. The FBI has conducted extensive searches in the Brainerd area and found nothing. The Clinton Administration is reluctant to ask the question directly, and the Russians have violated every arms control treaty they ever signed. By the way, there is one other rumor; approximately 84 of these weapons that were never made are still missing.