Al-Qaeda ready to go nuclear?

A forthcoming book by former FBI consultant claims al-Qaeda has acquired a stockpile of nuclear weapons, that some are already planted in major US cities, and the group is actively seeking more. Citing documents purportedly seized in Afghanistan, author Paul Williams says the terrorist organization is paying nuclear scientists from Russia and Pakistan to maintain its existing nuclear arsenal and assemble additional weapons.

In the book The Al-Qaeda Connection: International Terrorism, Organied Crime and the Coming Apocalypse, Williams contends that al-Qaeda first started building its nuclear arsenal with weapons it pirated from the former Soviet Union. “It has obtained 40 of them from the Soviet Union and these include suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads,” he says.

Williams claims several nuclear weapons have been smuggled through criminal gangs across the Mexican border and are already planted in the US. He also says there is evidence to suggesting al-Qaeda is paying former Russian spetznaz (special forces) troops to assist them in locating and seizing control of nuclear weapons concealed inside the US by the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

There is virtually no doubt among intelligence analysts that al-Qaeda has obtained fully assembled nuclear weapons, Williams asserts. The only question is how many. Estimates range between a dozen and 70. Al-Qaeda agents and documents suggests the attacks will take place simultaneously in major cities throughout the country, including New York, Boston, Washington, Las Vegas, Miami, Chicago and Los Angeles, Williams claims.

The book says Osama bin Laden’s goal is to kill at least four million Americans. Only then, the “crimes committed by America on the Arab and Muslim world would be avenged,” the book quotes bin Laden as saying. (Press Trust of India, Aug. 20)

See our last post on al-Qaeda, and on nuclear paranoia.