Skip to comments.Saddam's deadly secret
Posted on 11/18/2001 7:15:11 PM PST by Wallaby
Not for commercial use. Solely to be used for the educational purposes of research and open discussion.
Saddam's deadly secret Aaron Sands The Ottawa Citizen SATURDAY OBSERVER, Pg. B1 / Front November 17, 2001 Saturday Final EDITION
The Gulf War allies spared the camps of 'pro-democracy' Iranian rebels based in Iraq. Now they are concealing Saddam's arsenal of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons, a dissident says.
In caverns deep beneath the Iraqi desert, an Iranian terrorist group that enjoys strong political support in North America is secretly harbouring Saddam Hussein's arsenal of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, according to one of the movement's former leaders.
In an exclusive interview with the Citizen, Nooruz Ali Rezvani, an Iranian national who now lives in Germany, outlined what he witnessed during his years as a high-level member of the Mujahedeen Khalq, a heavily armed guerrilla faction dedicated to the overthrow of the Iranian government. The organization has more than a dozen bases in Iraq, including a sprawling new complex near Baghdad specially built for the group by the Iraqi dictator last year. It also has an extensive network outside Iraq, with secret fronts around the world, including two downtown Ottawa businesses according to CSIS.
Mr. Rezvani said the mujahedeen and other terrorist groups are part of a massive effort, spearheaded by Saddam Hussein, to gather enough weapons of mass destruction to annihilate North America and Europe. Other reports also suggest Iraq has been working towards a widespread, anti-western terrorist campaign: Two defectors from Iraqi intelligence told The New York Times recently that Saddam has been training militants from a variety of Islamic countries in terrorist techniques -- including airplane hijackings -- at a secret government camp south of Baghdad since 1995. Mr. Rezvani provided the Citizen last summer with a statement and hand-drawn maps detailing the top-secret locations of Saddam's arsenal of mass destruction. Following the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the Citizen shared those documents with security officials at the U.S. Embassy, who are investigating Mr. Rezvani's claims.
Mr. Rezvani said the mujahedeen and other terrorist groups are part of a massive effort, spearheaded by Saddam Hussein, to gather enough weapons of mass destruction to annihilate North America and Europe.
While intelligence experts say the organization is funded and controlled by Saddam, the group's members have been selling themselves to politicians in North America and Europe as a "pro-democracy" alternative to Iran's oppressive clerical regime. Despite the fact that the mujahedeen's bases are in Iraq, the group vehemently denies any connection with Saddam.
As a result, the U.S. and its allies spared the mujahedeen's camps during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, providing Saddam with safe storage areas for the weapons his enemies sought to destroy, Mr. Rezvani said.
"The mujahedeen have been enjoying their popularity among some members of the U.S. government," he said. "On account of this, the allied forces against Saddam Hussein's army never approached the mujahedeen bases. At the same time (the mujahedeen) ... were supporting Saddam Hussein, and since that time have been a great help in concealing Saddam's chemical, biological and nuclear weapons and missiles."
While intelligence experts say the organization is funded and controlled by Saddam, the group's members have been selling themselves to politicians in North America and Europe as a "pro-democracy" alternative to Iran's oppressive clerical regime.
United Nations weapons inspectors have repeatedly been denied access to the mujahedeen camps since April 1991, when the UN Security Council established the terms of the Gulf War ceasefire agreement. The inspectors were finally ordered out of Iraq by Saddam in 1998.
"We always used to have problems with the mujahedeen camps," said Ewen Buchanan, public information officer for the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, known as UNMOVIC. The teams "lived in fear of being attacked by aircraft coming in from Iran. Part of our job in Iraq was to fly unannounced looking to go into sites."
Mr. Buchanan said the mujahedeen nearly shot down UN helicopters on several occasions. The terrorist organization's officials demanded the UN either keep away from the camps or give advance warning of any intended inspections, Mr. Buchanan said. "We'd say, 'Sorry, that's against our rules.' That was an ongoing problem that was never really satisfactorily resolved."
Only once, in February 1992, did mujahedeen and Iraqi officials allow UN officials to inspect a mujahedeen camp -- the Ashraf base near Baghdad, along with an administrative office in the capital city. The last time UN teams asked to inspect the camps, in November 1998, Iraq refused, claiming it had no jurisdiction over the mujahedeen sites.
Mr. Rezvani said that, on top of his military duties, he worked for 25 years as a photographer and propagandist for the mujahedeen's leaders, recording and documenting events for the group's archives. That position allowed him supervised access to the most sensitive areas of the bases, he said.
According to Mr. Rezvani, Saddam transported his weapons by the truckload to at least five mujahedeen bases in Iraq, starting in the months preceding the Persian Gulf War in 1991. Under the supervision of the Iraqi and mujahedeen armies, missiles, bombs, chemical powders, poisons and related materials were stored in underground caves built beneath the mujahedeen's desert camps, he said.
Typically, a hidden flight of more than 30 stairs leads beneath the desert surface to large weapons-storage areas, which are sealed with sliding doors. The doors open with an electronic code known only by top military aides, Mr. Rezvani said.
A videotape recently smuggled out of Iraq to the Citizen shows the Mujahedeen Khalq's leader, Massoud Rajavi, in a private meeting with Saddam Hussein.
"I am willing to go to Iraq," he offered, "and accompany the United Nations and point out the (weapons caches) from a close distance."
One of the terrorist bases is so secret that only a handful of mujahedeen officers know about it, he said. The Seemorgh Base, in the northwest district of Baghdad, "is directly controlled by" mujahedeen leader Massoud Rajavi and his wife Maryam, Mr. Rezvani said.
"During the Persian Gulf War, they transported missiles, telecommunications and the chemical and atomic sectors of the Iraqi army's sensitive factories here," he said.
If true, Mr. Rezvani's declaration -- handwritten in Farsi and transcribed into English for the Citizen by an independent translator -- would confirm international fears that Saddam Hussein has continued to amass not only biological and chemical arms, but nuclear weapons as well.
- - -
The U.S. designated the Mujahedeen Khalq -- also known as the National Council of Resistance, the People's Mujahedeen of Iran and the National Liberation Army of Iran -- a foreign terrorist organization in 1997.
Formed in 1963, the Mujahedeen Khalq began as an underground movement dedicated to overthrowing the former shah of Iran and installing a democratic government. Originally, the movement advocated peaceful means to create a new regime that would combine a constitutional monarchy with West European-style socialism; its ideology is described as a mix of Marxism and Islam.
The group assisted the Muslim clerics in the Islamic revolution in 1979. But the mujahedeen and other groups soon fell out with the supporters of the Ayatollah Khomeini, and became, as Amnesty International has said, a "guerrilla organization" that would join Iraqi forces during the Iran-Iraq war from 1980-1988.
In 1997, the Clinton administration added the group to its official list of terrorist organizations. But the group had solid political support in the U.S.: More than 100 members of Congress denounced the decision. The politicians, Democrat Sen. Robert Torcelli the loudest among them, argued the mujahedeen are more freedom fighters than terrorists and accused the administration of making the move to court Iran.
There is little question, however, that the organization's 30-year campaign against the Iranian regime has been marked by violence. And in the past, Mujahedeen Khalq attacked those it now claims as allies: In the 1970s, when it was fighting to overthrow the U.S.-backed shah, the group killed six U.S. citizens and staged a series of bomb attacks on U.S. buildings around the world.
U.S. authorities say the organization has been growing rapidly in recent years, with up to 20 bases in Iraq and an extensive overseas support structure capable of simultaneous attacks worldwide. Intelligence experts warn the Mujahedeen Khalq is, in fact, a clandestine army of Saddam Hussein's that uses its North American operations to raise money for terror and to spy on Western targets.
In an interview from his home in Frankfurt, Germany, Mr. Rezvani said he kept his knowledge secret for years out of fear for his safety, and that of his family. He said he was finally moved to make the information public in the interests of world peace, which he feared was in imminent danger from the Iraqi-backed movement.
Saddam Hussein has been loosely linked by some to the al-Qaeda terrorist network headed by Osama bin Laden, the Saudi-born multimillionaire suspected of masterminding the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S.
- - -
Mr. Rezvani's claims were met with laughter by Farzin Hashemi, a mujahedeen official who lives in Paris.
"We have no connection with Saddam Hussein," Mr. Hashemi said. "There is no financial support from Saddam. There is no military support. There is nothing whatsoever. There is a political relationship and everybody knows it. The mujahedeen is recognized within Iraq as an independent entity. Our bases in Iraq are the equivalent of an embassy in any other country."
But a videotape recently smuggled out of Iraq to the Citizen shows the Mujahedeen Khalq's leader, Massoud Rajavi, in a private meeting with Saddam Hussein. Another video segment shows a mujahedeen commander checking the contents of a truckload of supplies delivered by an Iraqi official to the base near Baghdad. According to the soldier who secretly filmed the exchange with a mini-camera attached to his boot, it was a shipment of chemical weapons: At one point, the mujahedeen commander holds up a large glass container, and checks a boxful of smaller vials.
Mr. Hashemi dismissed the notion that the mujahedeen are sharing weapons with the Iraqis as "nonsense." He said the group's bases in Iraq have never been searched because "there is no need for it." He added Mr. Rezvani must be working for the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence to discredit the mujahedeen -- an accusation routinely levelled at defectors.
But Mr. Rezvani said he is just as opposed to the Iranian government as to the mujahedeen. He said he became disillusioned with the terrorist group after witnessing Saddam Hussein's bloody military campaigns in the early 1990s. He said that, after the Gulf War, he was imprisoned by Mr. Rajavi and tortured for having objected to the killing of ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq and Muslim rebels in the south. He eventually escaped and fled to Germany in 1992.
"The mujahedeen's army joined Saddam Hussein in the brutal suppression of the Kurds' uprising and executed ruthless attacks against the ordinary citizens of the Kurdistan region of Iraq," Mr. Rezvani said. "All of the victims in this region were ordinary, non-political, and unarmed civilians, the majority of whom were children and seniors.
"In March 1991, following Operation Desert Storm, which had been conducted against the Iraqi Army to drive them out of Kuwait, forces from the mujahedeen went along and, hand-in-hand with Saddam's Presidential Guard, handled the security arrangements for the cities of Karkuk, Yaghobeh, Baghdad, Najaf, and Karbala. Rajavi's mujahedeen army committed horrible crimes against humanity and sprayed ordinary civilians with artillery, tank, and machine-gun fire, in the same manner that they massacred the defenceless people in the Kurdistan region of Iraq."
Mr. Rezvani was also taken aback by the extent of Saddam Hussein's stockpile of weapons of mass destruction. He said he personally witnessed "the transportation of chemical and atomic materials from the factory in the vicinity of the cities of Samara and Takrit to the Ashraf base near the city of Yaghobeh, in the Alazim Region, and also the transportation of 17,000 chemical and nuclear munitions from Division 7 of the Iraqi Army to the Ashraf base."
He also saw the "transportation of chemical materials in special drums with a capacity of perhaps more than 100 litres or kilograms, as well as 200-litre drums from the vicinities around Baghdad to the personal base of Mr. Masoud Rajavi in Abughoraib and also Rajavi's protected base in the Hamed Alhossein region, which is located in the northwestern sector of Baghdad."
There was "transportation of chemical ammunition and materials in the southern region of Iraq to Rajavi's mujahedeen army in the vicinity of the city of Alkot, and also the expert concealment of Saddam Hussein's advanced missiles and chemical and nuclear weapons in 70 vehicles of the mujahedeen army: Each of these were concealed in a remote region, in the palm woods, and the following night were transported to another unit. Of course, they were guarded by the mujahedeen army in the vicinity of the Ashraf Base."
- - -
At his office in Paris, Mr. Hashemi was quick to dismiss Mr. Rezvani's claims.
"Ali Rezvani is a member of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. I think he has been providing a bunch of lies," Mr. Hashemi said before even hearing Mr. Rezvani's claims.
He may have already heard about Mr. Rezvani in Mojahed, the terror group's internal publication, where he is regularly denounced as an enemy. The magazine, published in Baghdad, hits newsstands every Tuesday and is sold around the world, including at a store in Centretown that CSIS sources claim are a front for the organization.
Mr. Hashemi said Mr. Rezvani and other former members of the group are paid to spread false and damning reports about the mujahedeen. "They would do anything, pay any money to do something against the mujahedeen. ... The Ministry of Intelligence told them, 'You are even allowed to go out and criticize us,' the Iranian regime, in order to cover up their true face."
He said even the U.S. government is involved in the plot, claiming the Americans initially agreed to list the mujahedeen as a terrorist organization as part of negotiations in its controversial 1985 deal with Iran to win the release of American hostages in Lebanon.
"It has been a political game going on for many years," he said, adding that the U.S. State Department has continued to classify the mujahedeen as terrorists to curry favour with Iran.
Asked why, then, the Iranian regime also appears on the U.S. list of states that sponsor terrorism, Mr. Hashemi said, "That's all part of the game."
Mr. Hashemi scoffed at Mr. Rezvani's claims that the mujahedeen torture and murder dissenters: "We don't want to keep anybody who doesn't want to be there. There is no use for them. It is a voluntary army."
Mr. Hashemi claimed he had "documents to prove" the hidden agenda of the mujahedeen's critics, but failed to provide that evidence.
But Elahe Hicks believes Mr. Rezvani's chilling stories. Ms. Hicks, a veteran researcher for the Middle East and North Africa Division of Human Rights Watch, a respected international watchdog based in New York City, met Mr. Rezvani and 11 other disillusioned mujahedeen warriors at a hotel in Cologne, Germany, in 1997.
Ms. Hicks, who was born in Iran, said Mr. Rezvani contacted her agency shortly after he fled Iraq to report human rights abuses and the storage of weapons of mass destruction at the mujahedeen's camps in Iraq. When they met, Mr. Rezvani gave her boxes of documents he and others had managed to smuggle out of Iraq.
"He was a high-level personal photographer, sort of in charge of their press," Ms. Hicks said. "He showed us many documents, mainly about the abuse and torture of those who wanted to leave the camps. His claims seemed genuine and legitimate."
"There is a real concern about the mujahedeen," she said. "They are involved in killing civilians. We wanted very much to follow up on Mr. Rezvani's claims. When we tried to do our own independent research, Iraq wouldn't let us. The mujahedeen ... are being supported by the Iraqi government."
After a media interview in which she criticized the mujahedeen, Ms. Hicks said, "I got many calls threatening me, from all over the world. They have been very verbally abusive of us whenever we criticize them."
Intelligence experts also find Mr. Rezvani's story believable. Dave Harris, former director of strategic planning for CSIS, Canada's security and intelligence agency, called Mr. Rezvani's information "credible. I think there is a considerable and ever-increasing risk that (Saddam Hussein) has acquired nuclear weapons and would use such weapons against the West, specifically the U.S., Canada and Europe," he said.
As for the possibility of a connection between Saddam and Mr. bin Laden, "it's almost a no-brainer because bin Laden is clearly bent on using every possible route to destroy the West," Mr. Harris said. "Here you have a confluence of interest between Saddam and bin Laden, and no constraint on a moral, ethical or other level."
John Thompson, director of the MacKenzie Institute, a Toronto-based think tank that studies terrorism trends, has been done extensive research on the mujahedeen over several years.
Islamic militants from countries throughout the Mideast are trained there in a variety of terrorist techniques, including simulated hijackings in a Boeing 707 fuselage set up in the camp.
"They more or less operate out of Saddam Hussein's hip pocket, that's for sure," he said. "And of course, Saddam Hussein has had several years without UN inspections, so he's pretty well able to do as he pleases. What (Mr. Rezvani) says is entirely possible."
Mr. Thompson says it's possible but "unlikely" Mr. Rezvani is a spy for the Iranian regime, as the mujahedeen claims. "This is a theological group and the first thing they do is say that their opponents are always dead wrong and must obviously be in the pay of the enemy."
Mr. Hashemi's statement that "there is no connection whatsoever" between Saddam Hussein and the mujahedeen is absurd, Mr. Thompson said. "You don't operate in Iraq without being associated with Saddam Hussein," he said, adding the union likely includes bin Laden's network, too.
"If you asked me to write down a list of five countries that have been supporting the al Qaeda network, I'd certainly say that Iraq should be on that list. Saddam Hussein is the sort of person that bin Laden normally has problems with. He's a secularist ruler who has killed a lot of Muslims. On the other hand, the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and making common cause seems entirely possible."
Iraq's government denied involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks that killed thousands of civilians at the World Trade Center and Pentagon and on a hijacked plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.
But intelligence reports say Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers who slammed a jetliner into the World Trade Center, met with an Iraqi diplomat in the Czech Republic on several occasions last year.
Other circumstantial evidence exists. Ramzi Yousef, the convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, entered the U.S. with an Iraqi passport. His co-conspirator, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled to Iraq to avoid prosecution. Mr. Yasin's name is on the list of alleged terrorists whose assets were frozen by the U.S. government after Sept. 11, 2001.
Many U.S. government officials and analysts advocate a broad campaign against terrorism that would include military action against Iraq. They suspect Iraq was directly involved in the attacks and fear Saddam Hussein will make his weapons of mass destruction available to terrorists such as Mr. bin Laden.
Even if he doesn't, a recent report by the two Iraqi defectors about a secret terrorist training camp at Salman Pak near Baghdad is chilling: According to the defectors, one of whom was a lieutenant general and a top intelligence officer, Islamic militants from countries throughout the Mideast are trained there in a variety of terrorist techniques, including simulated hijackings in a Boeing 707 fuselage set up in the camp. However, U.S. intelligence agents say they doubt the Sept. 11 hijackers had been trained at the camp.
"We were training these people to attack installations important to the United States. The Gulf War never ended for Saddam Hussein," the former lieutenant-general told The New York Times. "He is at war with the United States. We were repeatedly told this."
The defectors also said Iraqi scientists were producing biological agents in the camp.
- - -
Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the U.S. has renewed pressure on Iraq to allow UN inspectors into the country again. Calling Saddam Hussein "an evil man," U.S. President George W. Bush issued a stern warning last month.
"We know he's been developing weapons of mass destruction," Mr. Bush said. "And I think it's in his advantage to allow inspectors back into his country to make sure that he's conforming to the agreement he made, after he was soundly trounced in the Gulf War. We're watching him carefully."
In response to critics pressing for the U.S. to lift sanctions imposed upon Iraq, former president Bill Clinton argued last year Saddam Hussein still supported terrorism, pointing to the headquarters the Iraqis built in 1998 for the mujahedeen. U.S. satellite photographs show the complex in the city of Faluja, 60 kilometres west of Baghdad, covers more than six square kilometres. Finished in 2000, the vast site is believed to include lakes, farms, barracks and administrative buildings that can accommodate 3,000 to 5,000 people. White House officials said the Iraqis had used profits from the illegal sale of oil to construct the base.
Mr. Clinton stood firm about the sanctions, which are to be lifted only after UN inspectors are allowed unlimited access to Iraq. But, until Sept. 11, world opinion had been softening: Last year, Canada's federal government sent $1 million in humanitarian aid to Iraq -- the first direct government assistance since the embargo was imposed.
Meanwhile, the mujahedeen have been expanding their operations in the West: In Canada and the United States, the group's activities have been widespread and "well organized" for many years, according to the U.S. State Department.
Disassociated members say the organization's international strategy is simple and effective: Take refuge, recruit, raise money, lobby sympathetic government officials and spy on potential Western targets.
Two days before Christmas 1999, Canadian authorities quietly arrested a mujahedeen military commander in an apartment across the street from the new U.S. Embassy. Mahnaz Samadi entered Canada illegally in November 1999 via the U.S. through a border crossing in Vancouver. It is believed she held secret meetings with several members of the militant group in Vancouver, Montreal and Ottawa before her arrest.
Ms. Samadi, who trained female fighters of the Mujahedeen's National Liberation Army at the Ashraf camp near Baghdad, was granted refugee status in the U.S. in 1996, but did not reveal her ties to the terrorist group when she applied. She was deported from Canada in April 2000 to the U.S., where she was held in prison until pressure from sympathetic members of Congress helped win her release. She reportedly returned to Baghdad after being deported from the U.S.
Earlier this year, seven suspected mujahedeen members were charged in Los Angeles with raising more than $1 million to fund terrorist activities abroad. According to the FBI, most of the money was solicited from travellers at Los Angeles International Airport and sent to mujahedeen bank accounts in Turkey.
In an effort to distance themselves from that campaign, current members insist they are anti-terrorist, and present themselves to politicians as an alternative to the Iranian government.
But intelligence agencies are watching the organization closely: The two Ottawa businesses, as well as a senior Bell employee and an Ottawa taxi driver, are under CSIS surveillance.
Graphic;Diagram: Robert Cross, The Ottawa Citizen ; (See, hard copy for graphic.); Photo: An undated Mujahedeen Khalq pamphlet, displays images of its military wing performing manoeuvres under the, supervision of its revered leader Massoud Rajavi and his wife,, Maryam. Said to be controlled and funded by Iraqi dictator Saddam, Hussein, the Mujahedeen operates out of more than a dozen military, bases in the Iraqi desert.
Has anyone come across the identity of those congress members?
Anthrax, weaponized in the manner of the sample sent to Majority Leader Daschle, is an almost perfect weapon of mass destruction. A suitcase full of it could kill three million people -- 10-100X more than one of the "suitcase nukes" we are all supposed to be worried about. Unlike a nuclear weapon, which gives off tell-tale radiation, there is absolutely no way to detect an anthrax stash remotely. Unlike a nuclear weapon, anthrax has an essentially infinite shelf-life. Unlike a nuclear weapon, anthrax can be handled safely without elaborate safety precautions; it only needs to be kept in a sealed container until use. And, like a suitcase nuke, anthrax can be delivered to its target on foot or by automobile -- no ICBMs required.
For all the above reasons, it was not very smart to pull our weapons inspectors out of Iraq three years ago. It looks like the genie is out of the bottle. Forget about arms control. No treaty, no inspectors, no verification is going to do anything about this threat. Game over. We are f***ed.
the headline i really want to see:
All well and good, but in the long run, it won't change a blessed thing. The problem is that a growing chunk of the world's population is afflicted with an infectious mental disorder that masquerades as a "religion".
Or more precisely, that's half the problem. The other half of the problem is that the West is afflicted with a mental disorder that masquerades as "civilization". I'm talking about "political correctness". The result is a lopsided match, where the other side engages in every dirty street-fighting tactic in the book, while we stand there with the Marquis of Queensbury rules, ever diligently applying them to ourselves.
Add in the fact that the adversary's population is multiplying like rabbits, and the West is doing quite the opposite, and you've got a formula for a very ugly future. Perhaps uglier than any time this world has ever seen.
In a way it's no wonder the government sugar-coats so much of the news it releases. With "the masses" sated by sitcoms, sports-overload, cheap beer by the gutload, and all the Chinese trinkets money can buy, it strains credulity to imagine that they'd react to a dose of un-buffered truth with anything better than a total breakdown.
In the long run, of course, truth will out. So, it can be argued that it's unconscionable to not let it all hang out now. But, I don't buy that. I'm too much the pragmatist. Delaying the inevitable does have merit.
Required reading for the rest of us:
But I don't think this analysis is right. If this is what he's trying, it's intolerable to us, and we will destroy his regime. Yes, he may distribute some anthrax, and the results may be terrible, but they will be temporary, and he will lose; after his loss, he will be reviled throughout history in the Muslim world for the destruction he brought down on them. We need to make absolutely clear to him that this is what will happen, and possibly he'll be deterred.
In another sense, though, the problem is deeper than you're suggesting. Technology is changing the balance of power in the world; small groups of people and relatively weak countries can now command huge amounts of energy, increasingly huge as technology advances. There is no actual defense against these kinds of attacks; the only defense is offense. I'm afraid this will require a continuous staying action, and I don't know if it will ultimately be successful, over, say, the next century.
This is what happened when the Roman Empire fell and Europe entered the Middle Ages. Power couldn't be effectively projected over large areas any more, because of technological changes, and Europe split into many small fiefdoms. This slowed progress dramatically (more borders limit trade, they limit communication, they reduce the spread of new ideas, etc.). (I believe similar changes happened in China at about the same time, lending credence to the idea that this was driven by technological changes. It's been a long time since I've read Chinese history though, and I'd have to look it up again.)
Needless to say, I hope this analogy is wrong. Maybe we can learn from history so it comes out differently this time around.
That is all that I am suggesting. You talk about it as if it was a trivial thing. I don't think the Soviets considered it a trivial thing. Soviet nuclear parity with the United States shaped world affairs for forty years.
Found out about this article here: http://www.irandidban.com/archive/gallery/gallerypage27.htm
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.