Nuclear Mangos

This blog is intended to provide reliable technical analysis of nuclear issues with non-state actors and nuclear beginner states. Some technical issues have important policy implications that citizens in a democracy should be able to make informed decisions about. The motivation for the blog has been the incredible amount of lies & hyperbole on the Iran situation of early 2006. The blog title is to remind you constantly of the quality of minds in charge of our nuclear security today.

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Location: MA

Until recently I was a physics professor at Harvard, where I taught the nuclear and particle physics course, among others. I've recently left that position to work as an R&D physicist in security applications. I have never done classified weapons work.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Heightened Alert


Recently, msnbc reported that naval forces in the Gulf were on heightened alert. However, I think there's rather less to this than meets the eye. This is about a Saudi offshore oil terminal (”Ras Tanura”, shown in the picture).

From msnbc:
A British navy official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, said a threat from al-Qaida last month to target Gulf oil terminals had resulted in the stepped-up security and vigilance.

If there is to be a surprise here, it would be a "terrorist attack" on that facility, not on Iran. But I think the kind of surprise that might have sounded plausible a month ago when the warships left port probably doesn’t look so plausible in today’s climate. It doesn't look good for a president when the world spins completely out of control (see: Korea, North).

Although isn’t it funny how they conveniently forgot about that threat for a whole month before raising the alert level over it? Some enterprising young reporter should ask them about that.

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