The author is an Italian industrialist and honorary member of the Academy of Sciences of the Institut de France with long experience in the Middle East
On November 30, 2015 the Belgian police discovered a film about the movements of a Belgian nuclear researcher and his family working in Dohel-1, one of the country’s seven nuclear production sites, in the home of a man linked to Al Baghdadi’s Caliphate.
The jihadists were interested not so much in the nuclear plant as such, but in the possibility of using radioisotopes, that can cause poisoning, disease, and various temporary or permanent disorders through long-term contact.
Under strict safety conditions, radioisotopes are widely used in industry, medicine, biology, pharmacology, archaeology and paleontology. The jihadists in Belgium probably wanted to kidnap the nuclear expert or a member of his family and force him to make one or more “dirty bombs”.
Normally, a team of experts is needed to make a dirty bomb, but a single “lone wolf” could make one using recycled materials and the ordinary homemade explosives used in most of the blasts so far in Europe by jihadists.
The jihadists do not want to conquer our territory, but to subjugate it politically and culturally. A dirty bomb” is as effective as a cyber attack or a demonstration against miniskirts or halal food in public schools.
Jihadists taylor their fight to serve the primary interests of the umma, namely the Islamic global community through the cultural and economic subjugation of our territories to Islam, possibly with mass conversion. The important factor is intimidation, leading to hegemony and finally to dominance.
The fear, terror and social dislocation caused by the terrorist actions are aimed at weakening the reactions of the “infidel” and increasing defense costs until they become unsustainable, finally forcing Europe into “submission”, the title of Michel Houellebecq’s recent literary success.
We’re talking about long-term warfare combining elements of traditional war with psychological warfare. They combine the good cop of cultural and mental-mythical submission and subjugation with the bad cop’s brutal violence in Paris and Brussels.
An “if …. then” mechanism rules our minds, and we begin to think that if we are good and keep quiet and adapt without protesting they will not hurt us anymore. But this is not true: if we are good and keep quiet, we will be even more cruelly subjugated.
It is useless to explain this to current politicians in Italy and Europe, who are just canvassers in search of foreign capital, including from the countries that have always funded the jihad. There are important socio-economic factors in this psy-war, but not even the intelligence services realize it.
First, there was the plan outlined by Osama Bin Laden to hit the West – economic and energy advocate of the “apostate” regimes of Islam and the Jewish State – with a war that is very cheap for the jihad but expensive for those defending themselves.
Compared to the low cost of the attacks of 9/11, Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda have cost the West over three trillion dollars in fifteen years, including wars, new security and safety standards and part of the covert operations involved in finding and killing Bin Laden. Not to mention the high cost of supporting about 150,000 military and boosting the US military budget by 25%.
The jihad started by Bin Laden – a wealthy “daddy’s boy” who became radicalized at the university in Saudi Arabia through contacts with a professor linked to the Muslim Brotherhood – is an asymmetrical war of the poor against us, the would-be “rich”. Jihadists are used as proxy warriors by the rich Muslim countries to progressively impoverish the West, make it suitable for profitable investment by the OPEC Sunni area, finally creating an economic, but also a political dependence on Middle East oil and gas.
The terrorist attacks in Paris and Brussels, not to mention the now sadly neglected affair of mass rapes in Cologne, are the beginning of a new phase of this non-orthodox Islamic war in Europe and other continents.
Before Al Baghdadi’s Caliphate – which created the territorial entity needed to wage global jihad, both as political mythology and military base – Mohammed Badie, the former Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and later leader of the Ikhwan International, had stated: “There is no need for sword jihad in Europe, we will conquer it just with our growing population”.
The transition from the old to the new jihad with the establishment of the Daesh-Isis Caliphate, has modified the Islamist strategy in Europe. Which is why we must be very careful with “dirty bombs” that would achieve their political goal, regardless of their actual potential for radiation. Fear is a mechanism that increases with small doses of violence.
It’s hard to estimate the number of sites where radionuclides are produced and stored, but the best statistics now available point to over 70,000 storage systems placed in at least 13,000 facilities.
The brutality of the attacks and the size of the jihadist network in Belgium is partly due to the fact that this country is a major producer of radionuclides, and there is at least one Islamic researcher working in the nuclear complex called SK-CEN, located near the Bocholt-Herentals Canal, fifty-three miles from Brussels.
Since the Belgian system was reported to have insufficient defenses against a possible attack by Al Qaeda in 2004, it has not received on-going shipments of radioactive material from the United States. But the two fake journalists who killed the anti-Taliban Afghan leader, Ahmad Shah Massoud two days before the September 11th attack came from Molenbeek, home to the jihadists who carried out the massacres in Paris and Brussels.
In 2003, there were reports of an attempt by the Belgian soccer star, Nizar Trabelsi, to plant a bomb in the military area of Kleine Brogel, eighteen miles from the aforementioned nuclear research centre, that hosted twenty US tactical nuclear weapons for an F-16 squadron. The safety and security structures were deactivated in 2010 by a group of peace activists, who ran around the base undisturbed for over two hours.
It wasn’t until 2014, after renovations by the Belgian government upon US request, that the IAEA declared safety and security in SK-CEN and the nearby military base to be effective.
Belgian nuclear plants supply over 50% of the country’s electricity. Could these terrorist actions be designed to force Belgium to run with Middle East oil and gas instead?
The Belgian power plants have recently had a series of accidents that have endangered the city of Antwerp, which is close to the SK-CEN centre. And Germany has repeatedly questioned the technical and strategic safety nets of the Belgian nuclear system.
Ilyass Boughalab, a Moroccan expert linked to an old information network, Sharia4Belgium, that is still operational though silent, works in Dohel-1.
In Italy, the disastrous decision to renounce civilian nuclear energy was taken in a well-funded referendum in June 2011, after the equally well-funded one in 1987, shortly after the Chernobyl disaster.
No one uses psychological warfare better than Muslims. Dismissing Clausewitz, they do not believe that war obeys strict, Kantian rules, and are convinced that confrontation is not a “polarization of extremes”, but the essence of politics.
Today, radioisotope components are found in approximately 3,500 sites located in 110 countries.
In Iraq, Al Baghdadi’s Caliphate has reached the nuclear sites of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, which are supposed to have enough radioactive material to build a dirty bomb that could render a small city uninhabitable (the tactical goal pursued).
Moreover, only 23 IAEA countries, 14% of the total 168 IAEA members, adhere to international safety and security procedures for the storage and use of radioactive materials. In 2013 and 2014, at least 325 nuclear accidents were reported in IAEA databases, with heavy losses of radioactive materials. Eighty-five percent of those accidents concerned non-nuclear radioactive material – that is, nucleotides, with more than 753 unreported accidents in that two-year period.
Highly enriched uranium (HEU) is stored in sites located in 25 countries and radioactive substances are even more widespread. Moreover, “dirty bombs” cause less damage than nuclear ones, but the cost of clean-up are huge, in addition to that of evacuating the population.
According to the rule of asymmetric economic war started by Bin Laden and today continued by Al Baghdadi’s Caliphate, this is exactly what is needed. “Dirty bombs” have been called weapons of mass disruption and not weapons of mass destruction and can achieve two goals at the same time: crushing us psychologically, and increasing defense costs, which could force some European governments (the aforementioned canvassers and salesmen) into a strategic or political surrender. (A radiological dispersal device (RDD) could be poised for use in areas around those hit by the dirty bomb.)
Of the total number of nations adhering to IAEA rules for radionuclides, only nineteen have a specific strategy to monitor or recover illegally exported material; eight of them are developing a procedure for notifying neighboring countries of any illegal release or transfer of radioactive material, while the others are studying new safer storage and monitoring systems.
The Code of Conduct currently in force for all the countries adhering to the special IAEA system for radionuclides is inevitably vague and full of shortcomings at the procedural and penalty levels. And only 130 IAEA countries have accepted the Code of Conduct.
Many thefts of radioactive material have occurred, apart from those carried out by the so-called Syrian-Iraqi Caliphate (two, as far as we know). In 1993, the Russian mafia placed small pieces of radioactive material in the office of a Russian businessman, who died in minutes.
In 1995, Chechen jihadists buried a container full of Cesium-137 in Moscow’s Ismailovsky Park, letting the police know where it was before it could cause too much damage.
In 1998, 19 tubes containing Cesium-137 were stolen from a hospital in Greensboro, North Carolina.
That same year, the secret services of the pro-Russian Chechen government discovered a container hidden under a railroad and connected to an explosive ignition device.
Other thefts were recorded, often not reported by “open sources”. How many Chechens are fighting with Daesh/Isis? Between 200 and 700 – exceeded only by militants from Afghanistan, Bosnia and Somalia.
As an example of costs and possible damage, a dirty bomb charged with Cesium-137 could “pollute” 250 square meters at a minimum cost of decontamination/ repopulation of over 81 billion euros, depending on the infrastructure in the detonation area.
How can we prevent dirty bomb attacks? Sensors can be placed and monitored often and carefully in “sensitive” facilities and densely populated areas.
As already happened in the US, a government committee should identify a number of critical points for RDD attacks and initiate full-time computerized monitoring of those which may be targeted, including parks, city centers, schools and universities.
We must also improve the storage and destruction of such materials used in hospitals, research centers or others – to be certified by the police, not garbage collectors.
In Italy alone there are a huge number of radionuclide production or storage sites, including all the hospitals, private medical radiology centers, as well as biological, archaeological, physical, chemical and paleontological research centers.
Radioactive waste and waste from nuclear power plants, would cover 30,000 square meters over 30 years. Approximately 140,000 tons of special waste, including radionuclides, are produced every year, while hazardous waste (including some specific radionuclides) amounts to 9 tons/year.
Little can be done other than the rapid management and processing of information in the EU area and prevention of the radicalization of Muslim populations in communities near radionuclide production or storage sites.
The likelihood of an RDD explosion is statistically not measurable, but we should be thinking about it.