The Coastal Post - December, November 4-9 at the Fairmont Hotel. Some 750 leaders and experts from over 50 nations gathered to discuss critical global issues. In attendan

The third annual State of the World conference was held November 4-9 at the Fairmont Hotel. Some 750 leaders and experts from over 50 natio

Jim Garrison is the president of the non-profit organization which started out in 1995 as the Gorbachev Foundation/USA. Interviewed in the Sunday Examiner/Chronicle of November 2nd, he said, "The jewel in the crown of the forum is the nuclear issue. Gorbachev [former President of the Soviet Union, 1985-91], who is our convening chair, and Alan Cranston [former California senator], chairman of our board, have brought together several hundred specialists from around the world to produce a timeline for the complete elimination of nuclear weapons by the year 2010."

Televise worldwide-except for the U.S.-by the BBC, this topic was discussed on Sunday morning, November 9th, in a panel titled "Rogue Nukes: A Clear and Present Danger." Participants on the Masonic Auditorium stage were General Lee Butler, Commander-in-Chief, U.S. Strategic Air Command, 1990-94, George Schultz, U.S. Secretary of State, 1982-89, and Andrei Kozyrev, Russian Foreign Minister, 1990-96. Mikhail Gorbachev had also been scheduled, but was not able to attend because of illness. Two other panelists were included via satellite TV: Alexander Lebed, former National Security Chief of Russia, 1995-96, and Jessica Stern, Director of Russian, Ukranian and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. National Security Council, 1994-95. Following are excerpts from those talks:

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"This is BBC World, now live from San Francisco, as key international figures discuss global priorities for the 20th century. There's a new danger in nuclear devices from the former Soviet Union missing and falling into the wrong hands that might use it for terrorist attacks. Former U.S. National Security Advisor Jessica Stern's job was to track these weapons."

Jessica Stern: "A terrorist could make a very profound statement the first time a nuclear device were detonated somewhere in the Western world. :

BBC: "Theres an emergency nuclear research center that attempts to track rogue nuclear material on U.S. soil, but experts say its use is limited."

Expert: "If, for example, a bomb or enough material to make a bomb, were stolen from Russia or somewhere else, it's very likely that we would not find out about it, because the country of origin would be so embarrassed that they would cover it up. So I think the most likely scenario is that it's just going to go off.

BBC: "Just a few weeks ago, Yeltsin's former national security advisor, Alexander Lebed, claimed that a number of nuclear devices built by the Soviet Union and no larger than suitcases are now missing. The Russian government has denied it, and so did Washington, but speaking last week to the BBC, Mr. Lebed stood by his story."

Lebed: "I do know they exist. There's a surface model called Rasp 115 and an underwater model called Rasp 11501. They weigh 30 kilos [66 pounds]. They're not dangerous in themselves-what concerns me are the people who created these nuclear suitcases. Where are they now? When someone creates such a thing, he may be tempted by someone who offers him a better deal to help them build a similar weapon. That's why it's an ideal weapon for terrorists."

BBC: "In an off-the-record briefing in London, British intelligence said they believe the reports are highly credible. If they are true, what if anything can be done about them?"

Stern: "It's very serious. These are small weapons, presumably without electronic locking devices-they are a perfect terrorist device. And we really have to hope that what General Lebed has said isn't true."

Kozyrev: "I never heard of anything like Mr. Lebed refers to. But the question is, why is he telling these stories? He just said, 'I want to be president of Russia, and I will be president of Russia!' But I don't believe that both the Russian and American governments are mistaken on this issue."

George Schultz: "The problem is not so much whether General Lebed is right or not, but rather that we have states that are outside the system and trying very hard to acquire not only nuclear weapons, but chemical and biological weapons. We also have terrorist groups trying to acquire these weapons."

Lee Butler: "The truth of the matter is, we're reaping the whirlwind-we're paying the price for 50 years of excess with respect to the building of nuclear arms.

BBC: "Jessica Stern, has there been any nuclear blackmail that you know about so far-have these kinds of threats already been made?"

Stern: "I certainly don't know of any threats. There have been very many cases of nuclear smuggling, but almost all of those cases have involved materials that are radioactive, extremely poisonous, but could not be used to make a bomb. There are eight cases or so that have been confirmed that have involved nuclear weapons materials-highly enriched uranium or plutonium-the essential ingredients of nuclear weapons."

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The problem of preventing rogue states or terrorists from making atomic bombs from spent fuel rods from nuclear power plants is one of immediate concern to residents of the San Francisco Bay Area. The federal government is planning to bring five shiploads of radioactive waste from Asian nuclear power plants across the Pacific Ocean through the Golden Gate to Concord. From there it is to be transferred to railroad cars and taken to the Idaho National Energy Lab from where the feds have promised to remove it 10 years from now.

The reason for those shipments is to prevent unauthorized acquisition by anyone in the originating countries, thus precluding nuclear weapons being made from the fuel rods. However, Bay Area residents and governments have objected to the project, citing potential accidents that could release radiation in a highly-populated area, and East Bay authorities have allocated $100,000 to oppose the shipments, and sued the federal government about it-resulting in a postponement until next April.

It is also risky to ship such deadly materiel over the sea, as an accident or terrorist attack could sink the "radwaste" to the ocean bottom-and who would or could dive down to try to recover it? And Israel hijacked a shipload of such stuff back in the '70s, giving them the material for their present, though unadmitted, nuclear arsenal. So moving radwaste from Asia to America is not necessarily a safe or secure procedure, nor are rail shipments free from accidents or terrorist attacks. Remember the 70 rail cars of bombs that blew up in Roseville, California on their way to Vietnam?

I asked Alan Cranston what he thought about the proposed shipments. He replied, "Not a good idea." I believe that most of us would strongly agree. I wonder if that would include his two fellow Democratic current Senators Boxer and Feinstein? I have a better idea-secrete the stuff where it is.

:State Of World Conference Warns Of Rogue Nuclear Weapons

By Conrad Golich