Secret in Burma about Uranium

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:53 pm



Figure 17. Presumed Inconel tube with the section surrounded by the furnace in the previous figures

Tube Furnaces (Step 5)

STW had only seen drawings of these tubes but he believed that they were for the carbon monoxide (CO) laser at Thabeikkyin. That is certainly a possibility but they appear more likely to be tube furnaces for the fluorination of solid uranium oxide powder to solid UF4powder. They are certainly tubes that have been heated and there are metal “boats” for holding powder to be reacted. Two have been subjected to heat and one appears to be new. This would be step 5 in the fuel cycle diagram above.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:53 pm



Figure 18. Two used tube furnaces and one new one

Nitrogen Tank with steel Collectors (Step 6)

An interesting item fabricated in Factory 1 is a “Steel Collectors and Nitrogen Container” (their terminology). From its design it looks like an attempt to build a cold trap to catch UF6 gas on high surface area plates with very cold liquid nitrogen as the refrigerant.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:54 pm



Figure 19. Possible cold trap assembly for collecting UF6 gas

Other equipment

Other items include a large mixer “Water Reduced Tank”, an “Automatic Autoclave Sterilizer”, and a “Burning Chamber”. These are not particularly unique or part of the nuclear fuel cycle. The burning chamber is shown in the next figure, only because it illustrates the crude workmanship of the items seen.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:55 pm



Figure 20. This object, described only as a burning chamber is rather crude

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:56 pm



Figure 21. “Water Reduced Tank” which appears to be a simple mixer

Reports of a Nuclear Reactor

The open source literature is filled with reports of a nuclear reactor in Burma. We are tempted to believe that this could be layman’s confusion over a nuclear program in general, because uninformed sources can be very loose with terminology. One thing is clear, that many people have heard of a Russian plan to sell a reactor to Burma around 2001. It is very clear that the reactor was never sold and it seems unlikely that Russia would do so today. Russia’s ROSATOM did announce intent to sell a reactor to Burma in 2007, but this deal has not been consummated owing to financial and practical legal issues.(14) An absolute condition for Russia to sell a 10 MW research reactor would be that Burma sign the “Additional Protocol” with IAEA.(15) The Additional Protocol is a voluntary addendum to an existing safeguards agreement such as the standard INFCIRC type 153 agreement in force with Burma today. The Additional Protocol provides the IAEA with greater rights to ask for details of existing declared facilities (there are none in Burma so far) and greater rights to probe into undeclared activities of the type we are alleging. 100 countries in the world have agreed to an Additional Protocol.(16) Unfortunately, some critical ones, such as Syria, have not. With the many open source claims that Burma has a covert nuclear program, this might not be the time they would agree to sign. The Russians should not even consider selling a reactor to a state with weak and obsolete IAEA agreements.

In addition, a 10 MW nuclear reactor is a very small reactor, suited mainly for producing medical isotopes, conducting nuclear physics experiments, and training engineers and technicians in nuclear technology that could eventually be used to build a larger reactor. A 10 MW reactor is a very poor source of plutonium and is of little interest in most countries inspected by the IAEA today. It would be inspected and monitored on a routine basis and misuse would be difficult.

Therefore, reports that a reactor has been sold and that Burma is building a 10 MW reactor on its own seem far fetched and pointless.

What is of far greater concern is the possible tie to the DPRK. Some sources, albeit not well-vetted, allege that DPRK technicians are helping to build a reactor in Burma. This immediately brings to mind the 2007 bombing of a facility in Syria that allegedly was a DPRK designed plutonium production reactor. This highlights the fact that DPRK is willing to build at least one reactor outside its own territory. Thus, any rumored activity in Burma should be taken seriously. So far no sources have given adequate coordinates to locate a suspected nuclear reactor in Burma but this is a high priority item for more information.

Report of Laser Isotope Separation

The DVB source provided a great deal of information on a Laser Isotope Separation (LIS) program at the Nuclear Battalion. From the outset we will readily agree with critics that a laser isotope separation program is far beyond the capabilities of Burma with its poor technical resources. Nevertheless STW has a lot of details about the program, and if Burma chooses to spend its resources in this way it is heartening to those who wish them to fail.

Laser isotope separation has been a huge research program in many countries, such as the US, UK, France, Russia, Germany, South Africa, Australia and probably others. None of these advanced industrial countries has succeeded in making significant amounts of enriched uranium at anything close to a competitive price.

There are two common approaches to Laser Isotope Separation. This is an overly detailed topic for this paper and will be summarized. STW had been clearly told that he was to make some precision nozzles for a supersonic carbon monoxide (CO) laser that would be used in the LIS process. Carbon dioxide (CO2) and CO lasers are normally associated with the Molecular Laser Isotope Separation (MLIS) process. This process uses UF6 as the chemical working substance, the same as centrifuge enrichment. STW was asked to machine many prototype nozzles for the lasers, in batches of ten or so. He remembers them because they were difficult to make and required electrical discharge machining, one of his special skills. A sketch of a nozzle is seen in the next figure. Note again that the sketch is not a proper engineering drawing, lacking tolerances other information.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 6:57 pm



Figure 22. Sketch of a proposed nozzle made at Factory 1 allegedly for a supersonic CO laser

It is our view that the LIS process is far beyond the technical capabilities that we have seen elsewhere in Burma. This technology proved too complex and expensive for several industrialized states. It is common, however, in the developing world for scientists educated in universities in industrialized countries, to return home and sell high technology programs to government bureaucrats. The explanation here is probably simply that some academics have foisted this project off on the government so they can do research and publish, knowing that they will not succeed in the programmatic aim.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 7:01 pm

Conclusions

A single source, a former major in the Burmese Army, has come to the Democratic Voice of Burma with a large volume of information purporting to show missile and nuclear activities in Burma up until the present. The first question that interested observers will ask is about the credibility of the information. The source and DVB have strong feelings about the regime. Their objectivity can be called into question and so they have asked us to do this independent assessment of the information.

The following points show the overall consistency of the information. But each reader will have to make up his or her own mind.

  • • Sai was well-positioned to acquire information. He was an army major, trained in military science with further training in Russia. He reports credibly about his education at the Bauman Institute in Moscow and on colleagues who studied at MIFI and Mendeleev Institute.
  • • Many source reports describe the additional training of young military officers in elite Russian universities. This is more quantitative and first-hand than many other open source statements.
  • • The source was a deputy manager in two factories producing parts for missiles and nuclear programs.
  • • These factories are well-known. There have been end-user certification visits to both and the details of machine tools dates and customers match. There are photographs of tools and the European installers and inspectors. The German en- user expert did not see military personnel but noted discrepancies in the Burmese story that DTVE operated the factories for student training.
  • • The source visited Thabeikkyin with two general officers and saw crude demonstrations of alleged nuclear technology.
  • • A “Nuclear Battalion” at Thabeikkyin has been reported by other sources in sketchy detail. This new information allows more investigation especially using satellite imagery.
  • • The source reported that uranium ore was being processed at Thabeikkyin and that it was hazardous to health.
  • • Other sources mention Thabeikkyin in very general terms and also claim that the reactor might be built there. One satellite image shows a small ore concentration plant on a pond and piles of earthen materials nearby. This is not proof of a uranium plant, but consistent.
  • • The source provided a document about a “bomb reactor” being built for the Nuclear Battalion at Thabeikkyin along with several photos.
  • • The object certainly looks like a bomb reduction vessel and one of the two seen has been subjected to high temperatures.
  • • Other equipment, notably an inert atmosphere glove box for mixing reactive chemicals, a “fluoride bed reactor,” UF6 cold trap and tube furnaces are all components of a possible program to make uranium compounds for a weapons development effort.
  • • This is consistent with a program to make UF6 for enrichment by MLIS or centrifuge and uranium metal for a possible bomb core.
From all of the above we conclude that it is likely that Burma is trying to attempt many of the nuclear program steps reported by previous sources. Unrealistic attempts, such as the Molecular Laser Isotope Separation project, unprofessional engineering drawings and the crude appearance of items in photos, suggest that success may be beyond Burma’s reach.

Nevertheless, the intent is clear and that is a very disturbing matter for international agreements. If experiments with uranium are taking place, or significant quantities of uranium compounds are being produced, then Burma needs to be reporting to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which clearly it is unlikely to do if it is planning a covert nuclear reactor, an enrichment program and a weapon.

The authenticity of the photographs and reports will no doubt be questioned. That is fair and professional. The purpose of this report is to inform and generate thoughtful analysis. The source and chain of custody of this information is clearer than the recent “laptop documents” about Iran’s alleged nuclear weapon program, for example, and that has generated considerable analysis and speculation. Undated and unsourced photos of a reactor under construction in Syria are largely unchallenged. It would seem reasonable to question the authorities in Burma and to hear their explanations.

If, Burma denies the authenticity of this information, then time will be the judge. If the authorities deny the information and then are found to have not told the truth, the international reaction should be swift and severe so that Burma does not reach the immunity that DPRK has acquired with its nuclear weapons program.

ขอขอบคุณ

Expert Analysis

Nuclear Related Activities in Burma

May 2010

Robert E. Kelley(1)

Ali Fowle(2)

For the Democratic Voice of Burma ©

Nuclear Related Activities in Burma

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:45 pm

Suspicion Hardens over Burma’s Nuclear Ambitions
May 25, 2007

Burma’s confirmation of plans to build a 10-megawatt nuclear reactor with the help of Russia’s federal atomic energy agency Rosatom is a wake-up call to the international community to pay more attention to the regime in Naypyidaw.

The regime, which faced international isolation and sanctions, claims that the planned nuclear reactor is to be built with a “peaceful purpose,” but that should be viewed with skepticism and not treated lightly.

Before commenting on the bizarre incident of a North Korean ship taking shelter from a storm by docking in Rangoon last week, amid talk of missile technology transfer and a “secret mission” to Burma, we should look at the history of the country’s keen interest in nuclear technology.

Burma’s interest in developing a nuclear research project and reactor dates back to the 1960s, when the late dictator Gen Ne Win authorized Burmese geologists and physicists to look for uranium in upper Burma and Kachin State. A government plane installed with uranium detection equipment combed areas in upper Burma, and promising deposits are believed to have been discovered. The finds were confirmed by geologists writing in Burmese language publications in the 1960s.

Some military documents also indicated that Japanese military research during World War II concluded that Korea and Burma had sufficient uranium to make an atomic bomb.

In early 1940, Gen Takeo Yasuda, director of the Aviation Technology Research Institute of the Imperial Japanese Army, directed his aide, Lt-Col Tatsusaburo Suzuki, to conduct research. Suzuki reported back to his boss in October 1940, saying Japan had access to sufficient uranium in Korea and Burma to make an atomic bomb.

This early research doesn’t indicate that Burma is in any position now to utilize its uranium for any but peaceful purposes, but the country has had its share of nutty professors and military leaders with dreams of establishing a “Fourth Burmese Empire.”

The spotlight falls here on Thein Oo Po Saw, a professor at Rangoon University’s Department of Physics who studied in Moscow in the 1970s and developed close ties with Russian nuclear experts. Later, he helped bring a number of Russian nuclear experts to Burma and developed the idea of a nuclear reactor in the mid-1990s.

Thein Oo Po Saw is retired now, but he’s still a senior member of the Myanmar Academy of Technicians and Scholars, and he continues to play a leading role in the regime-sponsored National Convention, which is drafting a new constitution. Interestingly, he and his intellectual group presented a suggestion in 2005 at the convention when delegates were discussing a chapter dealing with the defense of the Union of Myanmar [Burma].

The discussion included “conventional arms, ammunition and explosives and non-conventional sophisticated strategic arms” as well as “nuclear energy, nuclear fuel and radiation, and mineral resources that produce them, highly classified materials, objects, areas, technologies, researches and information and special security issues, accidents concerning the persons whose works involve highly classified materials, objects, areas, technologies, researches and information, and compensation and insurance cover for them in case of accidents,” according to official The New Light of Myanmar.

Another “nutty professor” behind the nuclear reactor project is U Thaung, Burma’s Minister for Science and Technology, who signed the reactor agreement in Moscow last week with his Russian counterpart Sergei Kiriyenko, the head of Russia’s atomic agency.

U Thaung attended Burma’s Defense Service Academy Intake (1) and was known as one of the brightest students in the class, with in-depth knowledge on Burma’s uranium. He served in successive Ne Win governments.

An extreme nationalist, Col U Thaung didn’t serve long in the army but was given an important position at the Ministry of Mines. He was director general of Burma's Department of Geological Survey and Mineral Exploration, a job he was given because of his extensive knowledge of uranium exploration in Burma.

He continued to serve under the current regime and was appointed Burma’s ambassador to the US. Recalled to Rangoon, he was given a ministerial post at the newly created Ministry of Science and Technology with instructions to deal with the Russians and begin the reactor project. He visited Moscow several times since 2000 in pursuit of the deal.

Long-existing plans to develop a research reactor had been interrupted by the 1988 national uprising, and former intelligence officers who worked under Gen Khin Nyunt told The Irrawaddy in 2006 that it wasn’t until 1996 that Burma’s Office of Strategic Studies, established with Gen Khin Nyunt’s blessing, reactivated the project.

The revival of the plans was unsurprising, and North Korean and Russian technicians and nuclear experts were invited to Burma to give advice.

U Thaung, who is close to Burma’s reclusive leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe, and Thein Oo Po Saw were back in business. Their aim was to build a strong and modern army by 2020 under a “Fourth Burmese Empire,” officials who are close to U Thaung told The Irrawaddy. The search for uranium in Burma intensified.

In the early 2000s, the regime confirmed publicly that uranium deposits had been found in five areas: Magwe, Taungdwingyi, Kyaukphygon and Paongpyin in Mogok, and Kyauksin. Residents of Thabeikkyin township, 60 miles north of Mandalay, said searches were underway in the area. The searches also extended to southern Tenasserim Division.

If one looked at these developments closely, it could be seen that serious preparations were underway.

In 2006, a new Nuclear Physics Department was launched in Rangoon and Mandalay universities, with students enrolled by the government.

Burma also sent several hundred students and army officers to Russia for nuclear research studies. About 300 Burmese military officers have reportedly been studying nuclear science in Russia.

Some students have returned home with their acquired knowledge, and U Thaung and his ministry officials might have thought it now had sufficient human resources to begin the reactor project.

The previous agreement with Moscow was reportedly called off in 2003 because of disputes over terms of payment. Than Shwe and his military leaders might now feel that cash is no longer a problem in view of Burma’s newly-discovered vast natural gas reserves.

Interestingly, Burma implemented the nuclear reactor project in the regime’s typically low key manner without arousing any international outcry or serious monitoring.

Former military intelligence officers who have seen classified documents claimed that the regime’s aim in developing a nuclear reactor is to arm the country with nuclear weapons. They say facilities have been prepared at Defense Industry No. 16 and No. 19, located in Prome, Pegu division.

Reports inside Burma say the reactor is to be built in Magwe, north of Prome, but the regime has not disclosed the exact location.

Burma’s development of its defense capability goes back to the early 1950s, when the country drew on German, Italian, Russian and Israeli assistance to give the country’s armed forces the muscle they needed to deal with insurgency and civil war.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:46 pm




Over the decades, Burma has built nearly 20 defense industries and factories in secure locations within and outside Rangoon. Arms factories manufactured conventional weapons, including automatic rifles, light machine guns and landmines. But two are believed to be involved in refining uranium¬ defense industries No.16 and No.19, established in Pauk Khaung in Prome, Ne Win’s birthplace, where he ordered the construction of the country’s second arms factory in the 1960s. This claim came from former intelligence officers and needs verification.

While it is hard to gauge Burma’s real nuclear ambitions, its shady relationship with North Korea has fuelled speculation and growing skepticism.

Last Sunday, a cargo ship from North Korea docked in Burma in what was believed to be the first port call by a North Korean ship since the two countries agreed last month to resume diplomatic relations. The Kang Nam I docked at Thilawa port, 30 km south of Rangoon, seeking shelter from a storm¬or so ran the official explanation for its presence.

By a strange coincidence, a North Korean cargo ship in distress anchored at a Burmese port last November, and the government reported that an on-board inspection had "found no suspicious material or military equipment." But journalists and embassies in Rangoon were skeptical.

Early last July, a dissident source told The Irrawaddy that a North Korean ship carrying a senior Korean nuclear technology expert, Maj Hon Kil Dong, arrived in Rangoon with a biological and nuclear package. Western analysts and intelligence sources quickly dismissed this report, however, but conceded it was possible that Burma would seek conventional arms and technology rather than high-tech long-rang missiles from Pyongyang.

Burma and North Korea last month resumed the diplomatic ties that had been broken in 1983 after a bomb attack in Rangoon by North Korean terrorists on a visiting South Korean delegation headed by then-President Chun Doo-hwan.

Clandestine contacts between the two countries were re-established several years ago as Burma stepped up its search for sources conventional weapons. But the question remains: why North Korea?

It is easy to speculate that Burma may be seeking nuclear technology from Pyongyang, although no solid evidence has emerged so far. It is legitimate, however, to raise the issue and to inquire into the regime’s intentions, in the interests of keeping nuclear technology out of the hands of irresponsible governments.

Although it is perhaps premature to conclude that Burma intends to undertake the complicated and perilous process of reprocessing uranium to get weapons-grade plutonium, as things stand at the moment, strong suspicions will continue to grow. In the US, for instance, officials have long been expressing concern about the likely transfer of nuclear technology to Burma from North Korea.

The go-ahead for the nuclear reactor project and the arrival of that North Korean ship are two developments that can hardly be coincidental. If the ship¬and the freighter that arrived last November¬carried not only conventional weapons but plutonium and processing materials to Burma, then it can indeed be suspected that Burma plans to skip the messy process of obtaining plutonium and move straight to the production of weapons.

The presence of such a suspicion presents a security concern for regional governments and the international community at large. Developments here have to be watched very closely indeed.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  hacksecrets on Fri Aug 13, 2010 8:59 pm

MI-6 พิมพ์ว่า:
พม่าสามารถทำการเพิ่มประสิทธิภาพคุณภาพของยูเรเนียม (enrichment) ได้หรือยัง?

"Compelling evidence" for Burma uranium enrichment


Robert E. Kelley, two-time former director of the IAEA, has more or less validated the existence of a secret uranium enrichment program in Myanmar. Maj. Sai Thein Win, a Burmese army defector, supplied the Democratic Voice of Burma with a pile of documents relating to Burma's alleged nuclear activities which Kelley analyzed, issuing a 30 page report.

On account of its friends in North Korea, Russian training, and German manufacturers assisted by Singapore, it appears as if Burma has been advancing toward a prototype nuclear device. Drawing on Kelley's analysis, DVB concludes:
The total picture is very compelling. Burma is trying to build pieces of a nuclear program, specifically a nuclear reactor to make plutonium and a uranium enrichment program. Burma has a close partnership with North Korea. North Korea has recently been accused of trying to build a nuclear reactor inside Syria to make plutonium for a nuclear program in Syria or North Korea. The timeframe of North Korean assistance to Syria is roughly the same as Burma so the connection may not be coincidental.

If Burma is trying to develop nuclear weapons the international community needs to react...
With today's cancellation of Sen. Jim Webb's planned trip to Burma, the international reaction has already begun.

Posted by Jotman on Friday, June 04, 2010

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:14 am

BURMA: A THREAT TO INTERNATIONAL SECURITY AND PEACE

Roland Watson
July 1, 2007

The following article is compiled from a number of sources. None of the specific items described, though, has been confirmed by additional independent sources. Nonetheless, we judge the information to be credible.

We would have liked to provide a smoking gun: an irrefutable document or photo. However, it would be extremely dangerous to attempt to secure such proof, and in any case we do not have the necessary resources.

Journalists would probably not run this without confirmation. We appreciate that, but we are not journalists. We are advocates, for freedom and democracy in Burma and against the military junta that rules the country, the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC). We have this information; we are confident it is correct; so we published it. The world needs to know.

The SPDC as international threat


Burma and the SPDC are a threat to international security and peace on many grounds, including that the country is one of the largest sources of refugees and human trafficking, and narcotics, and through both of communicable diseases and other public health and law enforcement problems. All of these undermine security and social order, particularly in Burma’s neighboring nations.

The country therefore was legitimately discussed in the United Nations Security Council, but the resolution against the SPDC that was prepared by the United States was vetoed by China and Russia, and also voted against by South Africa. These nations applied an outdated definition of international threat, one limited to military conflict and terrorism. They did this, for China and Russia, because they are the SPDC’s allies, in return for the right to pillage the nation’s natural resources (and for other reasons); and for South Africa, as a favor to China, befitting its similar status as Beijing’s client.

Burma is a threat to international security and peace for the above reasons, and also because of military and terrorist threats, as this article will describe. Our objective is to provide information that the United States can use to reopen the Security Council debate and to get China and Russia to back down.

Uranium trafficking

We have previously reported that the SPDC has a major program underway to exploit Burma’s reserves of uranium ore, including through its processing into the refined form known as yellowcake. This is being bartered to North Korea and Iran for their respective enrichment programs (in contravention of the Security Council sanctions on these nations). It is also likely being bartered to both China and Russia, in return for weapons from the former and weapons and nuclear assistance, including a reactor, from the latter.

For North Korea, while the country has made a commitment to close its reactors and end its atomic weapons program, the extension of this commitment to its secret but nevertheless well-established uranium enrichment activities is unclear. The U.S. itself has said that the shutdown will be a long, arduous process. There is no reason to expect that enrichment in the North will cease anytime soon. (Also, even if it did, Kim Jong-il would still have an interest in stockpiling yellowcake supplies.)

It is public knowledge that the SPDC wants to increase its hard currency inflows. (Its barter arrangements with Russia will not be sufficient to pay for the reactor.) It would therefore not be surprising if the junta seeks cash-paying customers for its uranium. Also, the market price is skyrocketing. It is now approximately $135 a pound, up from $7 in 2000. The nuclear power industry is also growing (unfortunately!), so this trend is unlikely to reverse. Some thirty countries now have nuclear power plants. An additional forty have research reactors. Thirteen are known to have enrichment facilities. This is an obvious business opportunity for the junta, which it clearly would not want to miss.

Dictator Watch has received first-hand information that SPDC representatives are looking for industrial customers for yellowcake in Bangkok, and that large quantities are available. This certainly represents a business that Thailand would prefer not to host. Furthermore, while the intended customers, power utilities, are in a sense legitimate, there is no guarantee that small quantities will not be diverted. For the right price, the SPDC would no doubt happily sell to terrorists. While yellowcake is not an ideal substance for a dirty bomb, due to its low radioactivity, it can be used for such a purpose, and anywhere in the world. The impact of a well thought out attack would be incalculable.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:19 am

Missile launch facilities

Dictator Watch has further learned that the SPDC has constructed launch facilities for surface-to-surface missiles of North Korean origin. The sites are spaced along the Thai/Burma border, from archipelagoes in the Andaman Sea to Shan State. We are able to conclusively identify two of the sites:

1. Maung-ma-gan Islands, about 20 miles off the coast of Tavoy.
2. Ka-la-goke Island, about 18 miles north of Ye.

Construction of these facilities began in 2002-2003. Some are complete but others are still in progress. The sites contain launchers, storage buildings, a communications center, and air defense radar.

The missiles are surface-to-surface, with a maximum range of 300 miles (500 kilometers). We believe at least one if not two of the sites are already fully operational. The missiles are targeted at Thai air bases including in Bangkok, Phitsanulok, and elsewhere.

An April article in Asia Times said there were reports that the SPDC was interested in acquiring from North Korea the Hwasong SRBM (short range ballistic missile), a SCUD-type missile with a range of 500 kilometers (the Hwasong-6). It is likely that this is the missile that has been deployed.

The secret of the cargo in the North Korean ships that have been visiting Burma is now at least partially revealed. (We have also received information that North Korean ships, after docking at Thilawa Port in Burma, continued on to Iran.)

The Hwasong-6 is twelve meters tall and weighs 6400 kilograms. It carries a conventional high explosive warhead of up to 800 kilograms, although it is also capable of being armed with chemical or biological agents. North Korea reportedly has several hundred. The missile was first developed in the mid-1980s, tested in the early 1990s, and then phased out of production in the mid-1990s as the manufacturing of the longer range No-dong was scaled up. Hwasong-6 generally come in groups of four, one on the launcher and three on a reload carrier. They can also be launched from ships.

As we understand it, the SPDC’s military strategy is as follows. During the time of Ne Win and the BSPP (Burma Socialist Program Party), China was considered the main enemy (other than the people, particularly the ethnic nationalities). This changed in 1989, after the collapse of the Burma Communist Party. The designation of main enemy then shifted to Thailand, because of its alliance with and extensive materiel supply from the United States.

The Thai Army is well equipped, but it is not considered to be a serious threat because topographical features – the nature of the terrain – would prevent a deep penetration into Burma. The Tatmadaw also has large supplies of anti-tank weapons including SAMs and possibly TOW missiles. (Also, as we recently reported, the SPDC is working with North Korea to create a domestic production capability for 120 mm rockets.)

This confidence does not extend to the air. Burma has only two squadrons of MIG-29s, and its pilots are under-trained. Thailand has a large fleet of fighters, including some sixty F-16s and thirty F-5s. The F-16s are stationed in Khorat and Nakhon Sawan. They are also equipped with deadly ordinance, including AMRAAMS (advanced medium range air-to-air missiles), and their Thai pilots are highly skilled. In any combat, it would be a mismatch. The missiles are therefore viewed as an offset. In case of war, they would be fired at the Thai air bases in an attempt to disable the fleet.

One problem with this strategy, though, is that ballistic missiles have only limited accuracy. When launched, they initially follow programmed guidance but then continue to the target through a free fall trajectory. They are not capable of making flight adjustments en route, as with cruise missiles. The Hwasong-6 CEP (circular error probable) is not known, but it is estimated at 1-2 kilometers. CEP is the radius of the circle around the target in which fifty percent of fired missiles will land. This is of insufficient accuracy to effectively attack airbases – to be certain of damaging the runways – unless large quantities are used.

The missiles also have strategic implications beyond the possibility of conflict with Thailand. The SPDC has two main fears: a popular uprising, and a foreign military intervention led by the United States. For the first, they have imprisoned the democracy movement’s charismatic leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi (who could instigate such a rebellion were she free and so inclined), and also other potential uprising leaders. The junta has further created local paramilitary forces, including the Swan Arr Shin militia, to brutally suppress mass popular expressions of discontent. Further, as we have also reported, the SPDC has a plan to initiate a military incident with Thailand, to create a distraction in the event of such an uprising.

For the second, and taken together with the SPDC’s nuclear aspirations and our recently announced news that again with North Korea it intends to produce sea-mines to have the ability to mine nearby shipping lanes, it seems clear that the junta is taking very seriously its defense against a possible U.S. organized intervention. To this we can add the emplacement of ballistic missiles. Viewed this way, the missiles are not only a defense against Thai unilateral action. More realistically, their basic function is to intimidate Thailand, to dissuade the country from offering meaningful assistance to the United States.

When combined these different items create a picture of a fanatical SPDC leadership that is prepared to go to any lengths to retain power. (Those people who are still calling for dialogue would be well advised to consider this fact.) Burma under the SPDC is unquestionably a threat to international security and peace, which threat must be addressed in the Security Council.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Mon Aug 16, 2010 9:26 am

Political implications for Thailand

As with the trade in refined uranium
, Thailand should not stand for being the target of ballistic missiles. The SPDC has taken advantage of the country. This has particularly been the case during the last five years, since Thaksin Shinawatra put his personal affairs above the interests of the nation. (One wonders if Thaksin even had a business involvement in the communication systems for the missile installations, which, if so, would make him a traitor.) Thailand needs to bring this to an end. These are real defense and internal security issues. It is completely unacceptable that Burma target Thailand with North Korean ballistic missiles.

This, and Thai relations with Burma in general, over refugees, migrant workers, narcotics, the Salween dams, etc., should be major issues in the upcoming Thai election. Every candidate, beginning with Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, should be questioned about his or her intended Burma policy, especially in light of these revelations.

Thailand has historically pursued “Bamboo diplomacy.” This policy stresses flexibility (the analogy is the ease with which bamboo bends) if not, as with Switzerland and Sweden, neutrality. One positive consequence of the policy is that Thailand has never been colonized. On the other hand, the country immediately capitulated to the Japanese (just as Sweden did to the Nazis). By doing so, however, it suffered only minimal damage during the war.

Flexibility is an excellent approach for many international policy concerns, but its utility is questionable in the face of distinct and direct threats. Should Thailand accept SPDC intimidation, and the never-ending stream of problems from its neighbor? We would argue that even bamboo diplomacy has limits, and that the targeting of ballistic missiles is one of them. Thai relations with Burma should be completely reevaluated. The best policy for Thailand would be to assist the movement for freedom and democracy in every way that it can. (This extends to India as well.)

Conclusion

The information above is not the type of thing that is normally made public. Even when such situations are known, they are usually kept under wraps. This is the province of diplomats and the intelligence community, and they can handle it. They understand what’s best. The people do not need to know.

We beg to differ. Diplomacy on Burma has achieved nothing since the massacre in 1988, which drew the world’s attention to the country. It is difficult to envision how this nineteen-year record of failure is going to change. For the intelligence community, we would not be surprised if it is completely aware of the substance of this report. Will the spies of the world and their political masters use the information to create pressure for change? While we would certainly hope so, please excuse us if we harbor doubts .

In a democracy, the people have a right to know everything. The basic reason for this is that democracy is a system predicated on and designed to protect human rights. There must be full disclosure, so the people in society can ensure that their various rights, starting with the right to life, and to equality and freedom, are in fact being protected.

In addition, democracy is being applied around the world in its representative form, but it remains government by and for the people. For the people to make the best decisions about whom to elect as their representatives, they must have access to all information that pertains to this choice. They must know everything about the current state of society, and government, so they are able to ask of the candidates for office what they intend to do.

John F. Kennedy saw fit to reveal the presence of missiles in Cuba to Americans and the world. In our own small way, we are trying to do the same thing.

Also, we are only the messengers. Please don’t shoot the messenger. Particularly for Thailand, this is an opportunity to get your foreign policy in order. Please grasp it!

For Burma and diplomacy, we are decidedly skeptical of the appointment by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon of Ibrahim Gambari as special advisor. It is difficult to see how this will accomplish anything. If Mr. Gambari presses, publicly, for Security Council action on the basis of the above information and arguments, we will applaud his appointment. But if, as is most likely, he continues the party line that the U.N. itself has no real power and must defer to the member states on all issues, then his involvement is a waste of time.

This means, yet again, that it falls to the people of Burma, and their international supporters, to instigate change. The people of Burma are ready to go. There is great dissatisfaction inside the country, and a readiness to revolt. The open question though is of timing. All sorts of preparations are undoubtedly in place, but the people are waiting for the right opportunity, for the right time. To this we can only say that there is no need to wait for the death of Than Shwe, or even freedom for Daw Suu. Anytime – Now – is the right time!

Outside of Burma, a decisive timing opportunity is at hand, which the people of the country also can grasp. China is the main supporter for the SPDC. It is clear that if China were to relent in its support, freedom would be much easier to achieve. A worldwide boycott of the Beijing Olympics is going to be launched on August 8th, to press for change on a wide variety of issues (China’s backing of the Sudanese dictatorship and its culpability in the genocide in Darfur, its conquest of Tibet, human rights abuses in China itself, the environmental destruction caused by Chinese consumption of tropical hardwoods and endangered species, etc.). This is one year before the Olympics themselves open, and it also happens to be the anniversary of the 1988 massacre in Burma. Everyone in the pro-democracy movement should join this boycott. While Dictator Watch does not ordinarily organize protests, we are calling for a Worldwide Day of Action, of protests at Chinese embassies in as many different countries as possible, on August 8th. We hope that other Burma organizations will join us in this call, and on the protest line. Boycott the Genocide Olympics!

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  sunny on Tue Aug 17, 2010 8:42 am


File picture showing an Iranian technician working at the control room of the Isfahan uranium plant

Iran to begin work on new uranium plant in 2011

Iran will begin building its third uranium enrichment plant in early 2011, a top official said, defying world powers who have imposed new sanctions on Tehran for pursuing the sensitive nuclear work.

Iran's atomic chief Ali Akbar Salehi was cited on state television's website late Sunday as saying the search for locations for 10 new enrichment facilities has ended and "the construction of one of these facilities will begin by the end of the (current Iranian) year (to March 2011) or the start of next year."

Iran is already enriching uranium at its main plant in the central city of Natanz and is building a second enrichment facility inside a mountain at Fordo, southwest of Tehran.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had announced the planned construction of 10 new enrichment plants late last year after Tehran was censured by the UN atomic watchdog over building the Fordo facility.

Salehi, who is also one of 12 vice presidents of Iran, has previously said that any new uranium plants the Islamic republic builds would be located at sites which cannot be targeted by air strikes.

He did not specify where the third plant would be located.

Iran's arch-foes the United States and Israel have never ruled out military strikes against Tehran to halt its nuclear programme which they suspect is aimed at making weapons.

Tehran denies the charge, saying its atomic programme has purely peaceful goals.

Iran's uranium enrichment programme is at the heart of its nuclear controversy and the key reason for the Islamic republic to be imposed with the fourth round of UN sanctions on June 9.

Enriched uranium can be used as fuel to power nuclear reactors as well as to make the fissile core of an atom bomb.

The UN sanctions have been followed by unilateral punitive measures by the United States, the European Union, Australia and Canada.

The Western powers have been particularly infuriated with Iran for defiantly enriching uranium to the 20 percent level, which theoretically brings it closer to the 90 percent level required to make an atom bomb.

Iran says it is enriching uranium to 20 percent level to produce fuel for a research reactor in Tehran and as a potential deal with some of the world powers to supply the fuel is still embroiled in a deadlock.

On July 11, Salehi said that Iran has produced more than 20 kilogrammes of this high grade uranium, but added a few days later that it has no intention of "stockpiling" the sensitive material.

According to the May report of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iran has produced around 2,500 kilogrammes of low-enriched uranium at its Natanz facility.

Ahmadinejad ordered in February the refining of uranium to 20 percent after a swap deal, aimed at providing nuclear fuel for the Tehran reactor and drafted by the IAEA in October last year, hit a deadlock.

Brazil and Turkey brokered a counter proposal in Tehran on May 17 under which Iran would send its low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for research reactor fuel to be supplied later.

But the world powers initially cold-shouldered that proposal and voted through a fourth set of sanctions, which had the effect of further tightening financial and military restrictions on Tehran.

They later raised questions about the counter proposal as they issued calls for discussing Iran's overall nuclear programme.

Iran says it has responded to their questions over the counter proposal, known now as the Tehran Declaration, and is waiting for an official date for a meeting with the Vienna group to discuss the details of the plan.

"The other sides have announced their readiness (to discuss) in the media, but we have not received any official or written response," Salehi said.

The IAEA, the United States, France and Russia, known as the Vienna group, are involved in thrashing out the issue of fuel supply to the Tehran reactor.

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Re: Secret in Burma about Uranium

ตั้งหัวข้อ  A-Team on Thu Sep 02, 2010 5:27 pm

Good.

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