Response To 'How Not To Handle Nuclear Security'

Published: Mon 24 Dec 2007 08:58 PM
Zahir Ebrahim
Response To 'How Not to Handle Nuclear Security'
In reference to Zia Mian's article "How Not to Handle Nuclear Security" (, please accept the following detailed response for publication in your august 'Foreign Policy In Focus'. An abbreviated version was submitted as 'comment' to the article on your website that never made it.
" Either the entire world must be free of nuclear biological and other WMDs, or every peoples must have credible deterrence against them through realpolitik 'full spectrum alliances' when predators seek "primacy and its geostrategic imperatives" and "full spectrum dominance" on the 'Grand Chessboard'! "
The above is excerpted from an "Open Letter to Pakistani Peoples" published by Project
The realpolitik reality that is surely known to even the most naive, is that the 'hectoring hegemons' will not give up their "primacy imperatives" borne from their full spectrum supremacy of "air, sea, land, space, and cyberspace". And why should they? It gives them the much coveted "hegemony" over the 'have-nots' and other 'lesser haves', which is the openly acknowledged imperative of the strong and mighty, and is "as old as mankind"!
Therefore, even presumably thoughtful articles like Zia Mian's that warn of the real and genuine dangers of nuclear weapons - and indeed all WMDs are fraught with peril and double-edged swords - but which blanketly ignore the chauvinist and monumentally criminal doctrines for their deliberate preemptive use by the 'emperor' which is a far greater empirical and realistic threat to humanity than their accidental-use or fictional 'hijacking' by the 'pirates', and which further repeats the boogie-man disinformation discourse crafted by 'empire': "A key concern about nuclear security in Pakistan is the risk of radical Islamist militants making a bid for its nuclear weapons or its stock of the materials with which to make nuclear weapons", is merely re-spinning the 'loose nukes' mantra from the high pedestal and prestige of an Ivy. In practice, it only serves the specific agenda of the 'hectoring hegemons' themselves.
The question of 'nuclear security' must begin from the very ab initio rational premise of how to protect mankind from all the predators amongst them; not merely from its accidental or 'terrorist' murder of humanity by any 'pirates', but also its monumentally criminal 'official' murder of humanity by the 'emperors' under blaring trumpets and marching horns!
The analysis by Zia Mian, whose main focus is entirely 'accidents', and 'pirates', and specifically 'islamist militant' pirates, and also specifically not the 'emperor's' own terrorism by its glaring omission and no mention of the outstanding 'imperial' threats of nuclear attack on Iran that might sow a real Armageddon, artfully concludes that no one must possess nuclear weapons! To wit: "The only sure way to secure nuclear weapons and materials is not to have them. The only way to be sure that nuclear weapons scientists do not pass information is to forbid scientists from working on such weapons." He neglects to mention the 'emperors' not using them to exercise their hegemony, evidently not being familiar with the 'Nuclear Posture Review'. But he does throw in, presumably for his own concept of completeness, this bit of self-evident truism: "Anything short of that is taking a risk and being willing to pay the price for living in a nuclear-armed world."
His main recipe for securing the nuclear weapons "by not having them" is obviously a utopian un-realizable 'fools-paradise' conclusion in the real world of geopolitics that plays with other peoples' blood on the 'Grand Chessboard'. Any sane realist who isn't entirely lost at the 'unbirthday party' celebrations with the "Mad Hatter" would immediately recognize it as such. And hence it is less than convincing, no differently than a security strategy for world peace might be that suggested to the Zionist Jews to follow their Ten Commandments, or pleaded with the devilishly inspired 'primacy' advocates among the Evangelical Christians rushing to bring on 'the Rapture', including their erstwhile leader sitting in the White House and in direct communication with his 'lord', to be 'good' and to turn the other cheek for the 'new pearl harbor' that they suffered as the good Lord suggests in the Bible!
What brilliant purpose is being served here? Okay perhaps it's morally sound platitudes. Is this the best Princeton can give from its 'Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs' that any high-schooler can equally churn out even in a developing nation where moral platitudes abound by the bucket-loads? No, there is something more to it if this article isn't to be outright rejected as mere self-evident gibberish. In fact, its very real, but rather covert purpose appears to be directed primarily at creating and sustaining rationales for the 'have-not' nations to continue not possessing them, and disarming of those 'lesser' ones that do!
And why would a worthy Princeton scholar at 'Woodrow Wilson' espouse any other purpose and reach any other conclusion(?) - it is after all an 'imperial' doctrinal establishment that is designed to perpetuate America's "preeminence" above all other nations' by seeding sophisticated 'doctrinal scholarship' that works hand in glove with superpower geopolitics and disinformation doctrinal warfare. The worthy scholar and his "Project on Peace and Security in South Asia" are directly funded by the university which immediately sets the overarching tone for all the "American Peace" project strategies for continued future funding and prominence!
And the present "American Peace" project manifestly revolves around Pakistan and Iran, and the scare of nuclear weapons getting 'loose', or being acquired by a 'rogue state', just as its ideological predecessor "Center for Peace and Security in the Gulf" (CPSG) was instrumental in bringing the now familiar very "American Peace" to Iraq with the familiar scare of 'WMDs' that could reach the West within moments of Sadaam Hussein dreaming such in-sanctity!
Indeed, even though Pakistan is only mentioned in the context of 'securing the nukes' with lots of anecdotal stories, it appears to me that the main agenda of this piece is to plant the one key central plausible idea that: "If the United States can't secure its own nuclear complex, why expect Pakistan to do it any better?" as in its very opening gambit. All the rest of the verbiage in the article merely supports this central theme. The article entirely echoes the ubiquitous mainstream discourse du jour as variously spinned by the White House and the Pentagon in relation to Pakistan.
The following excerpted quote from an Open Letter lends perspective to the actual reality that is not being talked about today, but will surely be the topic of many erudite books and studies tomorrow - just as this next bit of disingenuousness was in the aftermath of the fake 'WMD' reports that had already led to the decimation of Iraq. And yes, also with nuclear weapons ('JDAMs' and 'Daisy Cutters' and other cocktails of Depleted Uranium black-death spread out across Iraq and Afghanistan far more devastatingly than a handful of atomic bombs) that has even destroyed the very DNA of its 'wretched' victims under deliberate, premeditated, false pretenses: "We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. This was a major intelligence failure," (Iraq Study Group report, March 31, 2005 - the report even has some of the same distinguished Princeton footprints in it as in the prewar mantra of 'WMDs' from the CPSG that preceded this 'morning-after' bit of bold-faced chutzpah).
Mae culpa after a Machiavellianly crafted irreversible fait accompli for deliberate "imperial mobilization" and full spectrum conquest of Iraq (its culmination being duly noted in the 'Declaration of Principles for a Long-Term Relationship' in the November 26 2007 White House Press Release) does little to restore the irrecoverable tabula rasa of a devastated civilization! Unlike the rest of erudite America, this humble plebeian scribe learns rapidly from history and is working hard in preventing its horrendous replay!
Excerpted from "Re-Imagining Pakistan's Defenses - Open Letter to a Pakistani General", the full text of which may be read at:
" ... All this recent talk of "loose nukes" and "Joint force for nuke safety" and "raising an international force to help the Pakistani armed forces if they are attacked by the extremists", are precisely the weather balloons built upon the deftly cultivated house of cards of the synthetic 'islamofascist' boogie-men to seed these new deceptions into the mainstream public discourse in order to maintain the persistence of a "sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being". That's how public opinion is slowly crafted over time to manufacture the deplorable public consent for committing heinous crimes against humanity through the active collaboration of the much touted 'fourth pillar of democracy'.
Another "coalition of the willing" is plainly being seeded - and this time it's 'destination Islamabad' instead of Baghdad, and instead of the well worn fiction of the existence of 'WMDs' which won't fly as Pakistan indeed does possess them, it is the fiction of them getting 'loose' despite being defended by the world's 5th largest standing armed forces who successfully developed the effective deterrence in the face of the entire world's opposition and punitive sanctions, but now is magically unable to defend them in this fabricated war even as the most valuable non-NATO partner and needs an external "force that should not only include troops from the United States, but ideally also other Western powers and moderate Muslim nations"! ... "
Why should anyone with sound judgment and keen political acumen be trusting any reports that are emanating from the same 'imperial' sources - the CIA, its parent the DIA, its parent the Pentagon, and its parent at the top of the totem pole, the White House, not to mention the 100 think-tanks from privately funded civil society in America that share the same 'imperial' aspirations as those in public life, and all busily crafting multifaceted doctrines for world conquest(?), and especially when there is a "lifetime" of war on, the "World War IV"? I believe it is still taught in any freshman political science class in any good university that the first casualty of war is the truth - unless this has also been done away with by the Patriot Acts and substituted with Orwellian craft!
Yet the erstwhile Zia Mian betrays no memory of any of these matters in his purported analysis of 'how not to handle nuclear security', while right outside his own doorsteps are the very preparations for preemptive nuclear attack on Iran which have reportedly already been completed and merely awaiting the go-ahead from Washington: "The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran's WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order." (see "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East") Yes surely, because it's a clever red herring when the 'highest order bit' of the matter, the deliberate criminal use of nuclear weapons against defenseless foes by its own guardians, is being cleverly glossed over in the best tradition of Straussian scholarship of 'half-truths only'!
Why has the nuclear weapons security discourse been deliberately limited to their accidental (mis)use?
Why does it not also include their much more significant and immediate threat stemming from their deliberate, premeditated, monumentally criminal deployment as a weapon of choice of the 'hectoring hegemons' for intimidation, coercion, and very real 'shock and awe' under the self-ascribed 'ubermensch' mandate of 'primacy and its geostrategic imperatives' that is the trumpeting elephant grotesquely shitting in the newlywed's nuptial bed?
If the overarching objective is to secure the existence of human beings from themselves and to enable them to survive without an Armageddon, then the factors that pose the highest levels of threat to them must rationally be triaged and addressed in that order. Why this stepchild treatment to the most significant threat to humanity's existence today - the depravity of the 'ubermensch' hectoring hegemons who have actually demonstrated their willingness to use these nuclear weapons? Or is the point to keeping the nuclear weapons secure, only until such time that they are 'officially' let loose to murder a million or two under blaring trumpets and marching horns, and then it's merely securing 'American Foreign Policy Interests Abroad', or preemptively fighting the "War on Terror" to the thunderous applause from the upper 'ubermenschen' deck of humanity flashing the "mission accomplished" sign?
Furthermore, within its own myopic discourse, Zia Mian's article is indeed informative with respect to how vulnerable some of these security measures can be in implementation-space when the rubber really meets the road, mainly in reference to '0000000' and pilot-errors. One has to however be a realist-idealist so long as the morbid reality of nuclear weapons is with us. As an MIT trained engineer who has actually built and deployed real systems rather than just talk about third-and-fourth hand perceived vulnerability in other peoples' systems - even if only commercial ones which are surely orders of magnitude simpler and certainly do not pose the danger of any catastrophic Armageddon being inflicted upon human beings unless they are also being (mis)used to control the nuclear weapons launch sequences, and anyone who asserts the latter is either a fool or a Machiavelli - the effective pragmatic strategy is one of continued risk management through continual improvement in the architectures, the implementations, the processes, the validations, the access controls, and the drills. This is very much the process today in its various gradations of 'imperfections', and is to be continually improved for risk mitigation of 'unauthorized theft' - since 'authorized theft' of humanity's lives is deemed okay and not part of the 'nuclear security' protocol by definition, as a cynic might infer from Zia Mian's article.
This continual risk management and mitigation strategy through feedback on implementations, improvement, and better evolving architectures - which would be undertaken by any 'sensible' nuclear power - is the rational lesser of two evils over succumbing to the only other realism-rooted and exponentially far greater risk of giving a signed blank check for "full spectrum dominance" to murderous 'hectoring hegemons' who will obviously never give up their own WMDs but instead, even as we speak, are rushing to develop even more lethal ones across the board, and use cunning doctrinal warfare to "goosestep the Herrenvolk across international frontiers" and kill a million to the sound of horns and trumpets and proudly call it "mission accomplished"!
In such a real-world reality full of predators, even the wilder-beasts make "full spectrum alliances" to defend themselves with the best available weapons at their disposal, rather than give up all their defenses which is what the predators would surely love to get their pending 'meals' to believe as their only 'safe' choice in the matter - as can be gleaned in this amazing 8-minute 'Battle at Kruger' video-clip
That is the unfortunate, naked, brutish, 'MAD' reality we live in Sir! As Robert Oppenheimer had said it far more realistically and fairly than the erstwhile Zia Mian - either all nations must possess them, or none must possess them! Only a few possessing this awesome power to impose their plunderous will upon another, is what fuels this "imperial mobilization" du jour that is sending America's precious sons and daughters to their slaughter, never mind what they are doing to a few million of the 'lesser humanity'! And as even a previous commenter 'Charles Colton' commenting on this article on your website also much more wisely noted (absence of such wisdom in Zia Mian's own article indeed demands a pause for some hard reflections on motivations): "The international community needs a strong policy on how to not only safeguard the world's nuclear arsenals but to devise a universal plan that will ensure these weapons will never be used."
Yes indeed, and thank you for that! Clearly this erstwhile commenter has likely read the White House's "Nuclear Posture Review" and is perhaps familiar with their present doctrine of preemption even against non-nuclear states who are signatories to the NPT - thus in complete violation to International law to which the superpower nation whose prestigious university employs Mr. Zia Mian in his capacity as a 'nuclear specialist', is also a signatory; if honoring such laws is of any relevance in the foreign policy and 'nuclear security' calculus anymore.
For an analysis of 'nuclear security' being published in 'Foreign Policy In Focus', such glaring omissions only extends its incredulity to even this august forum that advertises having 'no walls'! I have quite innocently taken that to mean that this forum rationally analyses foreign polices and keeps them in focus in the best interest of the entire world, and is not merely a re-spinning propaganda arm of the Pentagon. I haven't read all the writings on 'nuclear security' by Zia Mian and am merely analyzing this one article which already leads me to not want to read anything further from the doctrinal pen of this mighty scholar on account of his deliberate resemanticizing the definition of 'nuclear security' to preclude the 'emperor's premeditated use of nuclear weapons. Such absences legitimizes these doctrines in the mainstream discourse of America that mainly takes its cues from the scholars of the empire.
And finally, I would conclude by suggesting that there is indeed something fishy about how the nukes were 'lost' for so many hours as has repeatedly been reported in the newsmedia, all quoting more or less the same sources. Zia Mian so unquestioningly accepting that at face value and using it to craft his own myopic thesis on how not to secure nuclear weapons is at best troublesome. IMHO, the public version of this tale, as again repeated by Zia Mian, is quite asinine (see for instance: "Missing Nukes: Treason of the Highest Order" on It is just as 'believable' occurring in a super-power's own sophisticated arsenal and top-secret classified security processes constructed by the most polished and brilliant military minds that sees the expenditure of a trillion dollars every other year, as the '19 evil jihadis' tale doing 911 all by themselves and collapsing those tall buildings directly into their own footprints at almost free-fall speed while 'Able Warrior', 'Able Danger', and 15 other terrorist attack-response drills were simultaneously transpiring that very moment all of which were ethereally super co-opted by a bearded 'evil yoda master' sitting cross-legged in a cave in Afghanistan on a dialysis machine using merely his awesome 'power of the dark side'!
The real story, IMHO, in all cases, as in the ex post facto revelations of the 'Maine' to the 'Gulf of Tonkin' being entirely self-inflicted affairs to launch wars of conquest, is yet to be revealed. Wait 50 years! In the meantime, the faits accomplice constructed upon the backs of all the clever lies and deceptions generated from within the august halls of the Ivy, the Rand, and the 100 other think-tanks to seed the expansion of 'empire', will in turn become the new ex post facto narratives of history that our grandchildren will be learning one fine day in their sixth grade. If there is anymore 'one fine day' left!
Mr. Zia Mian's recipe for achieving that lofty shared aspiration is highly improbable as stated, even if genuinely conceived. If he would like to learn a more pragmatic solution emanating from the rather plebeian mind of a humble engineer turned justice activist who does not live in the ivory towers of the IVYs but in the real world that experiences the realpolitik power-plays on the 'Grand Chessboard' in blood, it is conceptually very simple - first all 'MAD' to create 'full spectrum deterrence' through 'full spectrum alliances' to contain the 'full spectrum dominance' of the few primates who refuse to lose their tail, and then his recipe, which will now magically become more practical and realizable just as the SALTs were under the détente! Power only respects power, and that lesson too, is "as old as mankind"!
It usually takes one polished sentence to construct a myth, but considerably more space to deconstruct it, as Noam Chomsky had once noted. Hence this length. Thank you for reading.
An aside general note on this article: "How Not to Handle Nuclear Security"
For Mr. Zia Mian, as an erudite academic from a prestigious IVY, to mostly repeat, nay parrot, the mantras that are deftly seeded by the Pentagon, without any critical questioning and deeper analysis of their own motivations or of the mantras themselves, doesn't leave much room for doubt in my quite finite and humble mind that his entire article is anything other than a thinly veiled shill for 'empire'. Perhaps the erstwhile author can also be directed to read "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers" by Daniel Ellsberg before he puts much stock in what Robert McNamara says. It is un-surprising to me anymore that this level of craftsmanship from the Ivy is also from the pen of one who is supposedly on the 'dissenting left' and a 'peacenik' - unless I am keenly mistaken; for I surely only possess a humble plebeian mind and am mercifully not a scholar or even a domain expert in matters of 'empire'. Thus the specialist should be trivially able to rationally and convincingly address the objections raised in this plebeian letter.
For us ordinary mortals in the lower-decks of humanity who are perhaps not so erudite, the mere plebeians, we are often gullibly led by erudite scholars in understanding pressing matters whose expert and objective analysis they purport to bring us. Be they of the Straussian variety as 'chief priests' of empire - like Bernard Lewis, or be they the 'dissenting priests' as the gadflies to power - like my own worthy mentor Noam Chomsky, or be they any domain-experts and specialists like Zia Mian. We need to wakeup to the realpolitik fact of the matter that sophisticated doctrinal warfare and psyops are also being deftly crafted for 'manufacturing consent' in society to either carry the 'populist democracy' forward for "imperial mobilization" so "United We [can] Stand", or deflect its handful of conscionable dissenters in mindless pursuits chasing this and that red herrings. How can the ordinary people tell the difference between the various nuanced shades of the diabolical 'ubermenschen' domain-experts shilling for 'empire', and the genuinely honest truthful scholars out to enlighten the masses as "moral agents" in the best mold of Platonic teachers?
The scholar's word and what motivates it, unlike his soul, must be of utmost concern for us plebeians. And as the other Princeton University erudite scholar Bernard Lewis cleverly puts it, albeit in perhaps a different context in his doctrinal classic 'Crises of Islam - Holy War and Unholy Terror', "it would surely be useful to understand the forces that drive them". Only then can the plebeian flock understand the scholars' analyses in the full and proper perspectives of their respective mindset and with an insightful understanding of all the "forces that drive them". Only thusly may one be rightly guided in their wise leadership on knotty and vexing matters in which a non-expert ill-informed polity must trust them in their judgment as fair domain-experts.
This is a far more significant matter of public education in order to 'teach one how to fish and thus feeding one for life' so that one can learn to accurately parse complex foreign policy matters that are undeniably complex and almost always clouded in obfuscation and vested interests. Merely keeping the clouds "in focus" does not necessarily divulge what's hidden behind it. If one is interested in further penetrating through the clouds that have actually laid the foundation of "United We Stand" in the American society as the prerequisite prelude to herding its "populist democracy" into accepting the nation's 'Imperial' Foreign Policies without question under the guise of "American Interests abroad", step-1 begins with "Responsibility of Intellectuals - Redux" at
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