Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts
Showing posts with label WMD. Show all posts

24 August 2017

Estimates of North Korea’s nuclear weapons hard to nail down


WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. intelligence agencies’ assessments of the size of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal have a wide gap between high and low estimates. Size matters and not knowing makes it harder for the United States to develop a policy for deterrence and defend itself and allies in the region.

The secrecy of North Korea’s nuclear program, the underground nature of its test explosions and the location of its uranium-enrichment activity has made it historically difficult to assess its capabilities.

Some U.S. assessments conclude North Korea has produced or can make around 30 to 60 nuclear weapons, said two U.S. officials who weren’t authorized to discuss sensitive intelligence matters and demanded anonymity. Such a wide range affects how the U.S. considers addressing the threat. More North Korean bombs could indicate second-strike capacity and then there are questions about how much nuclear firepower the country could mobilize on a moment’s notice.

Estimates by civilian experts cloud the picture even further. Most put the arsenal anywhere from a dozen to about 30 weapons.

23 August 2017

WHEN SHOULD THE PRESIDENT USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

REBECCA HERSMAN

In the United States, we do not just elect a president. We elect a commander-in-chief, and the Constitution grants that person tremendous power to protect and defend the nation. In doing so, the founding fathers entrusted an awesome responsibility to our electorate. No burden on the American president is greater than the authority to use nuclear weapons in defense of the nation. The U.S. nuclear arsenal, as well as the command and control system that surrounds and supports it, is designed to protect the United States and its allies from the most severe and catastrophic threats that are unresolvable through any other measure.

For this reason, the president is granted extraordinary authorities regarding the use of these weapons. But these authorities are not boundless, nor should they be. These authorities depend on context and are constrained by law and policy. Only the president can authorize the use of nuclear weapons, and a rigorous process and protocol exist to ensure that he or she can do so appropriately. These well-practiced procedures and mechanisms are designed to ensure that the president has all necessary information and the best advice from legal experts, military commanders, and civilian leaders, when these extraordinary circumstances arise.

Former Commander: Here’s What Happens When the President Orders a Nuclear Strike

James Winnefeld

Tensions on the Korean Peninsula have risen quickly this week on the heels of another long-range missile test, combined with public revelations that the Kim Jong-un regime may have miniaturized a nuclear weapon that can be mated to such a missile. If the North Koreans have also managed to solve the other significant challenges associated with a viable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)—which is not at all certain—then they will have achieved an embryonic operational capability. 

We knew this was coming. Yet now that the rhetoric is running high, many are concerned that we are on the brink of nuclear war. Even though the possibility of such a war is remote, it has evoked understandable curiosity among the public regarding how the U.S. chain of command would function for ordering a nuclear strike, and whether or not sufficient checks and balances exist to prevent a costly mistake. 

On the face of it, it’s actually very simple: The president orders the strike, which is then passed to the secretary of defense, and directly to the appropriate four-star combatant commander (the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is in the loop to provide advice and transmit orders, but he is not technically in the chain of command). In the case of a nuclear strike against North Korea, the commander of United States Strategic Command, based at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, would likely be the responsible commander (a conventional strike would likely be conducted by the commander of United States Pacific Command). 

22 August 2017

Nuclear Diplomacy: From Iran to North Korea?

Jessica T. Mathews

President Trump with Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where Trump gave a speech that was, Jessica Mathews writes, ‘a full-throated embrace of the Saudi view of Iran as the region’s chief malefactor,’ May 21, 2017

Over five days in May, Donald Trump’s Iran policy—of monumental importance to the future of the Middle East and to US security—began to come into focus. On May 17, the president quietly agreed to continue to waive sanctions against Iran, a step that was required to keep the Iran nuclear deal in force. Two days later Iran held presidential elections with a landslide result in favor of the moderate incumbent, Hassan Rouhani; and two days after that the United States’ new Middle East policy, built around a Saudi-US-Israel axis, was unveiled in the president’s speech in Riyadh. 

It had long seemed clear that Trump was not going to “rip up” what he had called in the campaign “the dumbest deal…in the history of deal-making.” The State Department had confirmed repeated findings by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran was meeting its nuclear commitments. But the May 17 waiver was the first time that an affirmative action on the deal had to be taken in the president’s name. 

Iran’s election pitted President Rouhani, the architect of the deal and a proponent of reengaging Iran with the world, against a conservative, nationalist cleric, Ebrahim Raisi, who ran with the backing of the Revolutionary Guard and other hard-line forces. Had Raisi won, the deal’s future in Iran would have been very much in doubt. Instead, Rouhani had a resounding victory with high voter turnout. Though few Iranians have yet to feel any economic benefit from the deal and the end to international isolation it promises, there is little doubt that, for now, they overwhelmingly favor sticking with it. 

21 August 2017

Back to Basics: Pledging Nuclear Restraint

By Manpreet Sethi

China has been a nuclear-weapon state for slightly more than five decades. Beijing has approached nuclear deterrence from a minimalist perspective, eschewing large stockpiles and launch on warning or launch under attack postures even when faced with two antagonistic superpowers. Embracing no first use (NFU) and emphasising the political nature of the weapon, China has maintained a low nuclear profile and a relaxed pace of modernization. Over the last decade, however, Beijing’s nuclear modernization programs have picked up in speed and variety, including operationalization of the new Jin-class nuclear-powered submarines, deployment of multiple independently-targetable re-entry vehicles (MIRVs) and perhaps manoeuvrable re-entry warheads (MARVs) atop its missiles, dual-use cruise missiles, research and development of hypersonic missiles, and the fast-expanding use of space capabilities to improve intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR). How far these developments will take China from its long-articulated minimalist deterrence strategy is unclear.

India is about to complete two decades as a nuclear armed state. This period has been spent operationalizing its nuclear deterrent: building a modest stockpile of an estimated 110-120 warheads, testing and inducting missiles of variable ranges, and moving towards a tentative triad capability with its first nuclear powered submarine, the INS Arihant.[1] These activities are based on a nuclear doctrine that India’s National Security Advisory Board (NSAB) drafted in August 1999, and which was subsequently endorsed, retaining most of its features, by the Indian government in 2003. The doctrine made it clear that India would develop “sufficient, survivable, and operationally prepared nuclear forces, a robust command and control system, effective intelligence, and early warning capabilities”[2] to ensure “maximum credibility, survivability.”[3] Survivability was emphasised through a “combination of multiple redundant systems, mobility, dispersion and deception.”[4] Under this plan, India has built a credible arsenal and a set of requisite capabilities to satisfy its concept of credible minimum deterrence (CMD).

20 August 2017

Modernize the South Asia Nuclear Facility “Non-Attack” Agreement

By Toby Dalton

On January 1, 2017, Indian and Pakistani diplomats exchanged official lists of the nuclear facilities located in their respective countries. According to news accounts at the time, this was the 26th such annual exchange of lists, pursuant to a 1988 bilateral confidence building agreement not to attack each other’s nuclear installations.[i] The fact that this exchange has been implemented without interruption, during periods of both calm and military crisis, makes it the most enduring nuclear confidence-building measure (CBM) on record in South Asia. At the same time, the banality of this exchange suggests that the agreement has little practical contemporary meaning for peace and security in the region.

When the non-attack agreement was originally negotiated, both countries’ nuclear weapons enterprises were relatively small and secretive, and fears (in Pakistan, at least) of a surprise attack on nuclear facilities had been rampant for several years.[ii] The agreement in theory helped allay concerns that nuclear facilities could be attacked purposefully, either by surprise or during a conflict, thus mitigating the potential humanitarian or environmental consequences that might result.

Over time, however, the agreement has proven to be merely symbolic and its potential as a building block for enhanced confidence has remained limited. It was never backed by verification provisions, for example. During the period prior to 1998, in which neither state had openly declared its nuclear weapon status, it was widely assumed that both sides omitted nuclear weapons-related facilities from their respective declarations.[iii] It is almost certainly the case today that neither side declares sites associated with nuclear weapons storage and operations, and perhaps other facilities as well. Any stabilizing influence the agreement contributed in the past has long since dissipated. [iv]

18 August 2017

North Korea’s Missile Success Is Linked to Ukrainian Plant, Investigators Say

By William J. Broad, David E. Sanger

North Korea’s success in testing an intercontinental ballistic missile that appears able to reach the United States was made possible by black-market purchases of powerful rocket engines probably from a Ukrainian factory with historical ties to Russia’s missile program, according to an expert analysis being published Monday and classified assessments by American intelligence agencies.

The studies may solve the mystery of how North Korea began succeeding so suddenly after a string of fiery missile failures, some of which may have been caused by American sabotage of its supply chains and cyberattacks on its launches. After those failures, the North changed designs and suppliers in the past two years, according to a new study by Michael Elleman, a missile expert at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

Such a degree of aid to North Korea from afar would be notable because President Trump has singled out only China as the North’s main source of economic and technological support. He has never blamed Ukraine or Russia, though his secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, made an oblique reference to both China and Russia as the nation’s “principal economic enablers” after the North’s most recent ICBM launch last month.

Analysts who studied photographs of the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, inspecting the new rocket motors concluded that they derive from designs that once powered the Soviet Union’s missile fleet. The engines were so powerful that a single missile could hurl 10 thermonuclear warheads between continents.

16 August 2017

WHEN SHOULD THE PRESIDENT USE NUCLEAR WEAPONS?

REBECCA HERSMAN

In the United States, we do not just elect a president. We elect a commander-in-chief, and the Constitution grants that person tremendous power to protect and defend the nation. In doing so, the founding fathers entrusted an awesome responsibility to our electorate. No burden on the American president is greater than the authority to use nuclear weapons in defense of the nation. The U.S. nuclear arsenal, as well as the command and control system that surrounds and supports it, is designed to protect the United States and its allies from the most severe and catastrophic threats that are unresolvable through any other measure.

For this reason, the president is granted extraordinary authorities regarding the use of these weapons. But these authorities are not boundless, nor should they be. These authorities depend on context and are constrained by law and policy. Only the president can authorize the use of nuclear weapons, and a rigorous process and protocol exist to ensure that he or she can do so appropriately. These well-practiced procedures and mechanisms are designed to ensure that the president has all necessary information and the best advice from legal experts, military commanders, and civilian leaders, when these extraordinary circumstances arise.

Trump Preparing to End Iran Nuke Deal

By Jack Thompson

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) of 2015, which would have been impossible without close transatlantic cooperation, brought Iran back into compliance with the Nuclear Non-Prolifera­tion Treaty (NPT)

US President Trump and some of his political advisors are preparing to end participation in the JCPOA, possibly as early as October 2017. Iran is gaining ever more influence in the Middle East, they contend, which is why sanctions need to be reinforced, not lifted

If the US were to withdraw from the JCPOA, it would deal another blow to US-European ties and could weaken the NPT

Hence, European governments need to talk to Trump’s most influential advisers and convince them that withdrawal from the JCPOA would leave the US isolated

One of the most successful examples of transatlantic cooperation in recent years was the conclusion of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was finalized in July 2015. The deal imposes strict constraints on Iran’s nuclear program, and provides for enhanced transparency, in return for relief from international sanctions.

12 August 2017

North Korea, Nukes and Negotiations

By George Friedman

The narrative about North Korea, a narrative I believe to be true and have since early March, is simple: The North Koreans have reached a point in their nuclear and missile programs where they could soon have the capability to strike the United States. The U.S. isn’t prepared to let itself be vulnerable to the whims of what is seen as a dangerously unpredictable regime in Pyongyang. Therefore, the U.S. is prepared to strike at North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities.

At the same time, the U.S. is extremely reluctant to attack. The nuclear program sites are dispersed and hardened, making airstrikes difficult, and North Korean artillery concentrated near the demilitarized zone could devastate Seoul. So as it considers not just whether a strike should be made, but whether one is even possible, the U.S. has been trying to motivate China to use its influence in North Korea to get Pyongyang to halt its weapons development. The U.S. position is that a strike will take place if diplomacy fails, but also that a conflict with North Korea would be difficult, dangerous and potentially devastating to allies. Thus, the U.S. is postponing such an action as long as possible.

As time passes, it is important to re-examine old assessments. The United States didn’t suddenly in the last few months conclude that an attack on North Korea was dangerous. The Americans had to have known the North Korean nuclear development program was dispersed and hardened, and they have publicly spoken about the artillery threat to Seoul. But they might have been galvanized by indications that the North Koreans had a miniaturized and ruggedized warhead and were close to having an intercontinental delivery capability. Given the degree of U.S. focus on North Korea, however, the appearance of sudden apprehension is odd.

This Is How America Would Wage a Nuclear War Against North Korea

Dave Majumdar

The standoff between the United States and North Korea continues to escalate with neither side willing to back down.

With each passing day, the possibility of open warfare breaking out seems to increase as each side ups the ante. Indeed, President Donald Trump has ratcheted up his rhetoric in recent days—seemingly threatening to launch a nuclear first strike against North Korea.

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump told reporters at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey. “They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. He has been very threatening beyond a normal state and as I said they will be met with fire and fury and frankly power the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

Just hours later, Kim Jong-un’s regime in Pyongyang threatened to preemptively strike at American forces given even a “slight sign of the U.S. provocation.” That, according to the North Korean statement, would include a “beheading operation” such as a special operations forces raid aimed at assassinating Kim.

“The U.S. should remembered, however, that once there observed a sign of action for ‘preventive war’ from the U.S., the army of the DPRK will turn the U.S. mainland into the theatre of a nuclear war before the inviolable land of the DPRK turns into the one,” reads a North Korean Foreign Ministry statement. “We do not hide that we already have in full readiness the diversified strategic nuclear strike means which have the U.S. mainland in our striking range.”

11 August 2017

Why Russia's Nuclear Submarine Fleet Might Be 'Sinking'

Robert Beckhusen

In March 2017, Russia’s new Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine Kazan launched at the northern port city of Severodvinsk. Perhaps the quietest Russian submarine ever, the event was further evidence the Kremlin can still build capable and lethal subs capable of a variety of missions, including cruise-missile attack.

But it won’t be enough. The Russian navy — already badly depleted since the collapse of the Soviet Union — can’t quickly replace most of its existing nuclear submarine fleet, which is approaching the end of its collective lifespan. The outcome will likely mean a shrinking of the Russian nuclear submarine force in the years ahead.

By 2030, the bulk of Russia’s nuclear-powered attack and cruise-missile submarines will be in their mid-thirties at least — with some pushing into their forties. For perspective, the three oldest active American attack submarines, the Los Angeles-class USS Dallas, Bremerton and Jacksonville, are all 36 years old and waiting to be decommissioned during the next three years.

Submarines wear out in old age, particularly due to hull corrosion. Another serious concern is corrosion affecting components inside the nuclear reactor compartments, but data surrounding this subject are tightly guarded secrets among the world’s navies.

10 August 2017

Ordering Nuclear War: Gen. Selva Tells Us What Happens

By COLIN CLARK

CAPITOL HILL: The security of nuclear command and control is the Holy Grail of the US military. Nothing, especially in these turbulent days, matters more. Aside from occasional talk about the nuclear football — as the case containing the nuclear codes is known — most Americans know little about what would happen in the event that the president needed to order a nuclear strike.

In a moment of utter lucidity on the topic, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva outlined this morning just what the standards and broad actions are governing the most grim order anyone would ever have to make. He spoke at a breakfast on nuclear issues sponsored by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute.

I asked Selva if there were lessons to be learned for the next iteration of the nuclear command and control system from the Air Force’s early work on the Multi-Domain Command and Control system (MDC2), designed to take data from as many sources around the world as possible and allow commanders to use that data to good effect no matter whether it’s from a ship, a submarine, a plane, a soldier, sailor, airman, Marine or a satellite.

I spoke after his remarks with a very experienced nuclear warfare expert who said Selva’s description was the clearest and most concise he had ever heard about nuclear command and control.

9 August 2017

A Nuclear Command and Control System for India


The recent missile tests have brought to the fore, once again the talks on south Asian nuclear arms race and scenarios. It is imperative to understand that mere capability in terms of Agni V or any other nuclear delivery capability does not signify step-change in nuclear postures. The overall nuclear capability requires integration of delivery systems, technology, doctrine, and command and control (C2) system, that a nation has in place. The C2 system becomes the glue that converts disparate elements of potential into usable strategic capability to deter others. In this regard, we explore the key elements of a command and control system (C2) and propose a high-level structure of a national nuclear C2 system.

Command and Control (C2) is defined as the exercise of authority and direction by a properly designated commander over assigned forces in the accomplishment of a mission. The C2 functions are performed through an arrangement of personnel, equipment, communications, facilities and procedures which are employed by a commander in planning, directing, coordinating and controlling forces and operation in the accomplishment of the mission. The command system include sensors, communication links and command centers that form the physical network as well as the plans, procedures, organizations and widely shared assumptions that allow the parts to work together coherently. In essence C2 affects the human interface with mechanical/electronic, in fact the physical structures, that allows weapons to be deployed and utilized in real operations.

A Grim Future For Russia’s Nuclear Sub Fleet


In March 2017, Russia’s new Yasen-class nuclear attack submarine Kazanlaunched at the northern port city of Severodvinsk. Perhaps the quietest Russian submarine ever, the event was further evidence the Kremlin can still build capable and lethal subs capable of a variety of missions, including cruise-missile attack.

But it won’t be enough. The Russian navy — already badly depleted since the collapse of the Soviet Union — can’t quickly replace most of its existing nuclear submarine fleet, which is approaching the end of its collective lifespan. The outcome will likely mean a shrinking of the Russian nuclear submarine force in the years ahead.

By 2030, the bulk of Russia’s nuclear-powered attack and cruise-missile submarines will be in their mid-thirties at least — with some pushing into their forties. For perspective, the three oldest active American attack submarines, the Los Angeles-class USS Dallas, Bremerton and Jacksonville, are all 36 years old and waiting to be decommissioned during the next three years.

Submarines wear out in old age, particularly due to hull corrosion. Another serious concern is corrosion affecting components inside the nuclear reactor compartments, but data surrounding this subject are tightly guarded secrets among the world’s navies.

Surviving a Nuclear Attack

By Arik Eisenkraft

Acute radiation syndrome (ARS) results from exposure to high levels of ionizing radiation. This may be the result of an accident, such as exposure of individuals to x-ray diagnostic and therapeutic devices, or a possible large scale exposure following a nuclear facility accident (for example the Chernobyl and Fukushima incidents). It may also be the result of an intentional act of terrorism, involving the use of a radiological dispersal device (i.e., dirty bomb), an improvised nuclear device, or may involve an attack on a nuclear power plant, or any number of potential nuclear scenarios. Following the 9/11 attacks, and more recently the use of non-conventional weapons and toxic industrial compounds in the Syrian civil war and in Iraq by both state and non-state actors, the possibility of intentional exposure to radiation seems to be rising. Since the primary objective of these perpetrators is to create fear and panic to the general public, and since most of the public, as well as first responders, healthcare providers, and the mass media, may have misunderstandings regarding such an event, radiation is attractive. On top of that, the shortage of available medical countermeasures (MCMs) against ARS could make it even worse. The major goals of a response plan to a radio-nuclear emergency are to protect the public, as well as the emergency personnel while performing their duties. To achieve these goals, local, regional and national resources should be brought together to address such an incident of national impact. In a radio-nuclear exposure scenario, the numbers of casualties, some with life-threatening injuries and resulting complications, may be very high. This means major challenges of assessing the precise levels of individual exposure, and possible delayed medical support and care to those who need it. In any case, these are regarded as complex and resource-intensive efforts, driving research towards approving novel MCMs against ARS. This syndrome involves life-threatening injuries especially to the hematopoietic, gastrointestinal, and the neurovascular systems. Victims exposed to high levels of ionized radiation show a prodromal phase in the first few hours following exposure, followed by a latent phase, which shortens as the radiation dose increases, and finally, develop a manifest phase. The bone marrow involvement is considered as the major contributor to mortality.

8 August 2017

Back to Basics: Pledging Nuclear Restraint

How should India respond to the growing nuclear capabilities of Pakistan and China? This paper argues that rather than compete with its neighbors, India should pledge to avoid open-ended growth in warhead numbers and the acquisition of new nuclear war-fighting capabilities. The text´s author believes this would allow India, China and Pakistan to adopt credible minimum deterrence postures and avoid a wasteful, dangerous competition over the development of new counterforce capabilities.

U.S. Nuclear Strategy in the Face of China’s Rise

By Bradley A. Thayer

The strategic challenge of the 21st Century for the United States will be for it to maintain its position in international politics in the face of a competitive peer challenge from China. While this challenge has many facets, one of the most important is the role nuclear strategy plays in allowing the United States to maintain its position. The founders of U.S. nuclear strategy—in particular, Herman Kahn and Albert Wohlstetter—were quick to discern the value of nuclear weapons and their usefulness for America’s interests. As these nuclear founders identified, nuclear weapons are used for purposes of deterrence and coercion. To deter aggression, or to deter escalation within a conflict, the United States must have a counterforce nuclear strategy and nuclear superiority at the tactical, theater, and strategic levels. In order to coerce, it must possess nuclear superiority in each of these domains as well. The result of this was strategic stability during the Cold War.

In both a deterrent and coercive role, nuclear weapons have greatly served the interests of the United States. Nuclear weapons allowed the United States to credibly extend deterrence to Europe and Japan without generating an economically debilitating level of conventional power—the “First Offset” strategy of the Eisenhower administration. Nuclear superiority contributed greatly to the stability of the Cold War and U.S. dominance in its wake. 

7 August 2017

** US Military Eyes New Mini-Nukes for 21st-Century Deterrence

BY PATRICK TUCKER



The Joint Chiefs’ vice chair says smaller-yield weapons are needed to deter the use of same. 

The future of nuclear weapons might not be huge and mega destructive but smaller, tactical, and frighteningly, more common. The U.S. Air Force is investigating more options for “variable yield” bombs — nukes that can be dialed down to blow up an area as small as a neighborhood, or dialed up for a much larger punch. 

The Air Force currently has gravity bombs that either have or can be set to low yields: less than 20 kilotons. Such a bomb dropped in the center of Washington, D.C., wouldn’t even directly affect Georgetown or Foggy Bottom. But a Minuteman III missile tipped with a 300-kiloton warhead would destroy downtown Washington and cause third-degree burns into Virginia and Maryland.

Throughout much the Cold War, the thinking in Washington and especially Moscow was that bigger yields was better: the more destruction, the more deterrence. This thinking drove the Soviet Union to build the most powerful bomb ever, the Tzar Bomba, whose 100,000 kilotons, detonated over DC, would burn Baltimore.

Secrecy and Signaling

By Rastislav Bílik

One of the most pressing issues of mankind remains the issue of nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction. They remain on the fringes of our awareness, researched by academics and portrayed in films and television shows at plot catalysts (sometimes with debatable accuracy of their portrayal). Unfortunately, these weapons are often sought by states as “the ultimate weapon,” believed to be the best instrument of deterrence. Israel is no exception, and its nuclear policy presents a compelling case of a nuclear-armed state. This policy contradicts the very foundations of deterrence theory; it is distinctive for its secrecy and ambiguity, very unique characteristics when compared to nuclear policies of other nuclear powers. It has not changed for several decades, and its effectiveness and adequacy for present conditions is thus, after the emergence of Iranian nuclear ambitions, often subject of debates.

Israel belongs to the group of the so-called de facto nuclear states, a group which also includes India and Pakistan; these countries built their own nuclear arsenal outside the framework of Treaty on the Nonproliferation of Nuclear Weapons. Because Israel is not a signing party of the treaty, there is no legal obligation for Israeli nuclear facilities to be subject to regular inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.[1] In the case of Israel, these inspections are voluntary and only conducted in declared facilities. The program as a whole is not overseen by the international community, and there is no official way to get information about it. The majority of available information is thus based on expert estimates, in some cases open source information (such as satellite images), or even information leaks, such as the 1986 leak in which Mordechai Vanunu, a technician at the Dimona nuclear facility, published details and photographs about the situation in the facility and disclosed a considerable amount of information about Israel’s nuclear programme.[2] Availability of information is thwarted not just by secrecy, however, but also by censorship. Israeli authors are required to submit any publication dealing with issues of security to the censor, who is charged with assessing the degree of ambiguity of the text in terms of government’s requirements.[3]