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Robert Gleason – The Real Dr. Strangelove

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HS - Jason Hartman Income Property Investing (1)Join Jason Hartman and author, Robert Gleason as they discuss the plausibility of nuclear annihilation, based on Robert’s 28 years of research into the alarming lack of security at nuclear storage facilities in the U.S. and other countries, as well as the availability of nuclear bomb fuel and bomb-building technology for sale by governments and on the black market. According to Robert’s research, although it sounds like horror fiction, it is entirely possible. Robert’s book, End of Days, may be fictional, but there is much to ponder on nuclear terrorism. For more details, listen at: http://HolisticSurvival.com/category/audio-podcast/.

Robert Gleason has dedicated nearly 30 years to researching the threat of nuclear terrorism and the possibility of nuclear annihilation. He was recently featured in the History Channel special “Prophets of Doom.” He has also had an extremely long and exceptionally successful career as an acquisitions editor in New York publishing. Stephen King, Robert Heinlein, Nancy Friday, Harold Robbins, Father Andrew Greeley, Joy Fielding, Margaret Truman, Jack Anderson, Whitley Strieber, Ed McBain, Ice-T, Reggie Jackson, and Former Secretaries of Defense Casper Weinberger and William Cohen are among the hundreds of notables and bestselling authors that Gleason has signed up and edited. For the last 28 years, he has worked at Tor/Forge Books, where he is executive editor. He has published more than a dozen novels on his own and coauthored several, most recently, Apocalypse 2012. Robert Gleason has an BA in English literature from Indiana University, a master’s degree in English from the University of Wisconsin and he attended the Sorbonne, all of which were financed by seven hellish years in the Gary steel mills. He has worked in New York book publishing as an acquisitions editor pretty much forever. When he began, he says, he and his colleagues “chiseled books on the walls of caves.”

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Start of interview with Robert Gleason

Jason Hartman: It’s my pleasure to welcome Robert Gleason to the show. He has dedicated nearly 30 years to researching the threat of nuclear terrorism and the possibility of all out nuclear annihilation. He was recently featured on The History Channel, Special Prophets of Doom, and he’s got an extremely long and successful career in the New York publishing world with all sorts of big name people and I think you’ll find this interview to be very interesting. Bob, welcome. How are you?

Robert Gleason: Pretty good. Thanks for having me on.

Jason Hartman: My pleasure. Now, where are you located? Where are you coming from today?

Robert Gleason: New York City. I live in Manhattan. In my real life, I’m a New York book publisher. And I live and work in Manhattan.

Jason Hartman: Fantastic. So your most recent work, I think you’re the author of about 13 books or so. But we’re talking today mostly about End of Days. Tell us more about the novel.

Robert Gleason: The thrust of the novel is how really skilled nuclear terrorists in league with a rogue state have the potential now to create, to ferment nuclear Armageddon both in The United States and around the world. The thesis was based on something that was developed by Herman Kahn, a very brilliant nuclear strategist over 50 years ago and a book called Thinking About the Unthinkable. And he said at the time the scenario wasn’t feasible. But he said there could come a time when the nuclear bomb fuel proliferates enough and enough nations proliferate delivery systems, airplanes, cruise missiles, submarines that it would be possible for these skilled terrorists with a rogue state in back of them create the illusion that certain nations are nuking other nations. And he said once you got that going that they would start nuking each other in retaliation. And he said depending on how good they were at it, he said that had the potential of genuinely destroying the world. And he said that was the only scenario he saw, really plausible scenario for complete nuclear global annihilation.

In my novel Wrath of God, there’s a woman in her 80s who’s a wealthy media mogul, very innovative, and she’s part Apache. Her grandmother was a legendary Apache shaman named Wozen War Shaman, who really existed in the real world, and that she had visions of the end times since she was young. And she knows something like this is happening. And she’s always hated nuclear proliferation, which is like horrible – it really does go on.

And she’s got a daughter who has gone…and a reporter that works for her named John Stone. And Stone’s kind of like Hunter Thompson. He’s crazy and goes off and wants to cover wars and that. He’s a former Yankee baseball player. And he’s uncovered a conspiracy, a nuclear conspiracy to destroy the world. And he really is tracking it down and he’s been writing a book about it – a big manuscript called The Coming of the Nuclear Psychopath. He’s gone a bridge too far. He’s gone into a middle eastern country to track down some of these people. And instead, they’ve been tracking him and they capture him. And he’s captured by two beautiful Middle Eastern princesses known as the Sin Sisters. And they want to torture and seduce out of him how he learned so much about them and who his sources are. And the only person who could theoretically save him is a former colleague partner of his, then Kate McGruer who is also on the floor is an investigative reporter who travels all over the world to all kinds of strange and dangerous places.
And that’s basically the premise and the setup of the book. There’s also a mad Russian general known as Mad Vlad who seems to have gone rogue and a dozen nuclear submarines have gone missing. And he seems to have lost his mind. And that’s basically the setup for the novel.

Jason Hartman: So, the first thing I want to cover if we can, Bob, is how does this look? I mean there’s been a lot of talk – especially post 9/11 talk – about a suitcase nuke, a one-off event, a dirty bomb. You’re not talking about that. Again, it’s a novel but it’s based on a lot of reality, right? You’re talking about a complete all-out nuclear event, a global event here, just an absolute unthinkable catastrophe, right?

Robert Gleason: Yeah. The nuclear weapons, somebody once called them weapons of mass distraction, but they’re weapons of mass panic and sporadic death that they really don’t compare in any conceivable way to a nuclear weapon. In fact, when you get down to it, the only real weapons of mass destruction are nuclear weapons, the real nuclear weapons. If you set off the Hiroshima sized bomb in the middle of Times Square at rush hour you could kill as many as 5000 people. It sets off a blast zone, sonic blast, supersonic blast that covers a whole square mile. It would knock down everything it ran into. It would shatter everything, so you’d have all these exposed surfaces of the shatter rubble. This would be less than a second. Immediately, you would have a fireball – during the first nanoseconds, it would be hotter than the sun – it would be millions of degrees. And it would spread rapidly. It would fill up this vacuum, the sonic boom was left, and all these exposed surfaces will be instantly ignited by this unbelievably hot fireball. The convective forces would force in a pumping action would push everything up into the rising fireball. It would be destruction beyond belief. That’s the only real weapon of mass destruction.

Jason Hartman: So when you say that, you’re making the comparison to biological or chemical weapons also being classified as WMDs, right?

Robert Gleason: They don’t destroy life and property and property en masse, not to that extent. In fact, the greatest biological weapon we had was really smallpox. And smallpox is surprisingly easy to contain. The chemical weapons, when you look at them, it turns out they’re very hard to disperse and they really don’t last very long. And they tend to evaporate rather quickly. Now, yeah, they can hurt a lot of people and if you’re exposed to them you’re gonna suffer very badly. One of the problems, let’s say you somehow manage to engineer a really horrible virus, I guess the grossest thing would be that 1918 virus. The problem is your country is susceptible to it as anybody’s. And it’s very hard to control, hard to disperse this stuff. And almost everything is you just have to isolate the people. The thing about the nuclear weapons is they’re really powerful. If you set off a half dozen nukes in major American cities, we’d no longer be a superpower, we might not even be a great power. They took out Indian Point, which is 30 miles north of Manhattan, the damage it would do – it wouldn’t be hard at all, it’s practically undefended – if you put in 19, they’re designed to defend against 2 or 3 terrorists with handguns, small weapons. But if you hit them with 19 terrorists with automatic weapons, rocket propelled grenades, platter charges, taking out the surveillance cameras, they would get right into the control room. Once you’re in control of the control room, if you know what you’re doing, it takes about 10 minutes to melt down the reactor. You don’t even have to melt down the reactor. You could wrap the cooling pumps externally. You could wrap them in C4 and blow them up. We learned that from Fukushima – that’s what really knocked out Fukushima. You could eliminate New York City. Do you have any idea how many trillions of dollars of damage it’d be? I’ve seen estimates at least 11 trillion dollars. It would bankrupt the United States.

Jason Hartman: And the US is already bankrupt, but yes I understand.

Robert Gleason: Much worse. We would never come back from that. One terrorist attack by probably 15 people on Indian Point, United States would never come back from it financially.

Jason Hartman: Let me ask you a question. I want to talk to you a little bit more today in the interview – there are several scenarios about how it is possible for terrorists to gain control of nuclear, I don’t want to say weapons necessarily because we’re also talking about power plants and research facilities and so forth, but before we do that, let’s talk a little bit about survival and preparation and is there anything one can do to potentially or at least increase the odds of surviving this type of event?

Robert Gleason: Sure. You could read End of Days. Buy End of Days and read it. I’m serious. I spent like 28 years and there are people that do survive it. And it dramatizes really what you gotta go up against and what you gotta do, what you have to avoid. The problem with most of the so-called apocalyptic novel – that includes The Stand, Left Behind, almost all of them – they’re really not apocalyptic. You never see the apocalypse. The post-apocalyptic, very frequently the apocalypse happened quite some time ago. And no real cases are the apocalypses nuclear. And we’re talking about a nuclear apocalypse – it’s some kind of weird biological experiment that went wrong in The Stand and that’s described in the prologue. Left Behind is some war with God actually. It’s almost exclusively in the Mideast and it’s with divine armies versus the Antichrist. And End of Days describes a great deal what people have to do in order to survive a nuclear Armageddon immediately afterwards and then what they also have to do in the long term. In the short term, you’re in New York City, the central blast zone, the best you could do is just run.

Hiroshima, if you were anyplace near the atom bomb you had to run because if you didn’t the firestorms would get you. In fact, there’s a book by Robert J. Lifton called Death In Life in which he describes the survivors. He talked to a lot of survivors, including the Hibakusha, the seriously burned survivors. But an awful lot of the survivors, if they were too close to the firestorm, you couldn’t stop to help a friend, you couldn’t stop to help a neighbor, you couldn’t go back and grab your child. If you did, you died. And one of the hardest things for the survivors were some of the survivors are the people that did not stop to help neighbors’ loved ones, that didn’t rescue family members – they just split. And they had to live the rest of their lives with that guilt, that yeah, I lived but these other people died, and it was a terrible, terrible burden for them. They never got over the post-traumatic stress which sensed this could happen again. This could happen anytime. They would go through life at any moment knowing that, bang, it would be a flash, and a nuclear weapon could be – you know I could be surrounded by fire. It was just a terrible thing ironically, but most people in the New York area, in the general New York area which is a large area, 90% of the people aren’t gonna be that close to the firestorms. They’re gonna be out in the Bronx. Let’s say that it’s in the middle of Manhattan, they’re gonna be in the Bronx, they’re gonna be in Queens, they’re gonna be in Staten Island. Most of the people are gonna survive. So the question is where do I go? Do I run, do I go to Jersey, do I go to Connecticut, what do I do? Most cases you’re better off staying where you are.

And people made fun of it, but if you think you’re in danger of getting nuked, one of the things you ought to have is duct tape. You seal up the windows with duct tape and you have a lot of protection from fallout, radioactive fallout. One of the problems of leaving your house, leaving your apartment, is you’re going to suddenly be exposed to fallout which is going to be fairly lethal. The thing, too, about the kind of nukes they have at the End of Days is they tend to hit on the ground for a variety of reasons – they tend to hit on impact. We’ve actually never tested a ground burst, the reason being they launch too much debris into the atmosphere. They create way, way more nuclear fallout than a Nagasaki and Hiroshima did which were air bursts from the kind of nuclear attack I have at End of Days. But you would have tremendous fallout afterwards.

Jason Hartman: So let me ask you about that. So my understanding is that the modern weapons, the modern missiles, they’re airburst oriented because what they have is they have multiple warheads on them and as the missile is traveling towards the target, the warheads then disperse and maybe have 12 separate warheads and so they cover a larger area, is that correct?

Robert Gleason: What you’re talking about is more of a cold war scenario and I eventually have that in End of Days. But, initially, the kind of weapons that would catalyze that kind of ultimate destruction which would be the destruction of the world, it would begin with certain kinds of terrorist nukes. And what most people don’t understand about terrorist nukes is once you get the bomb fuel, they’re shockingly easy to cobble together, to put together. And getting in the bomb field isn’t that hard. I bet most of us know that at least 15 years after the Soviet Union broke up for 1991 well into the 21st century the nuclear bomb field sites in the old Soviet Union, there were over 100 of them that were shockingly well secured. There were lots of studies done on this and it was amazingly easy for people to go in there with some money to buy this stuff.

In fact, even today, with the theories a little better, all you need to steal the stuff is a trusted insider. You can be one trusted insider and I can still predict nearly anything. Even in the United States, we do tests so we can see if people can sneak into Los Alamos or Oak Ridge or Sondia. They can sneak in, walk out with a nuclear bomb fuel. 50% of the time, they walk out with the nuclear bomb fuel. There’s a famous test in Los Alamos where some guys went in disguised as maintenance workers and they wanted to see how much nuclear bomb fuel they could actually come out with and it was no longer a test to see whether they could just carry stuff out – that was too easy. In fact, there’s nuclear facilities in The United States where 90% of the time the phony terrorists walk out with the bomb fuel. So they decided they were gonna steal a whole lot, so they drug the flat bedded Home Depot garden card and they piled it up with nuclear bomb fuel, walked out the front gate in front of God and everybody completely unaccosted. The nuclear regulatory commission decided that was an embarrassment, so they tried to disqualify the test on the ground so the Home Depot Garden cart wasn’t on the equipment list so the governor of New Mexico, Bill Richardson, overruled the NIC’s ruling saying that this was BS. If they come on the terrorist one again you’re just embarrassed. But we really can’t secure nuclear bomb fuel. That’s one of the fallacies of it. So once you get it – in fact, if you give me a really large grapefruit size chunk of highly enriched uranium and you have a second chunk the same size – you put that on the floor – and you grab the other chunk and you hold it 6 feet above the chunk on the floor and you drop it onto it, you’ll get 50% of the Hiroshima yield. And you’ll want to use less bomb fuel than that. You can get an old piece of cannon barrel, a piece of Civil War cannon barrel that you can cut off a chunk with an acetylene torch. You cap off one end of the barrel and you put one chunk at the end that was tapped off and then very close to the not touching you put a second shot. And then you back it up with an extra high explosive, you blast it into the first chunk and you get the Hiroshima yield.

It takes three people to assemble it. All you really need is they don’t have to be experts. One of them would have to have a really good machine shop and be a good machinist. But that’s the most expertise you’d need. If you want to put it on a cruise missile, it’s not that hard because the terrorists can really kind of create the fusing system – they can become the trigger. You want to set one off in a panel truck in front of the nearest stock exchange. You take your piece of cannon barrel and you take it in a panel truck and the terrorist just pulls the trigger on it and the terrorist of course goes up at the epicenter and goes up, but since he’s a suicidal terrorist, he wants to die anyway, so that’s not a big deal. If you want to put it on a cruise missile, you can’t have a complex cruising system like the ICBMs you described because they’re airburst, remember? So you need a very complicated fusing system – the furthest cruise missile to this cruise missile. You’d probably launch it from a submarine that would be very close to the target and it would just be designed to detonate on impact, so there is no fusing system.

Jason Hartman: We’ll be back in just a minute.

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Jason Hartman: Bob, the thing that kind of blows my mind is you’re saying stuff that just seems very hard to accomplish here that somebody could actually get control of nuclear submarines and sneak nuclear…

Robert Gleason: Russia’s sold hundreds of them – they’re called kilo class submarine. And to have the torpedo tubes, they’re 21 inches in diameter. They can be reconfigured to fire a nuclear cruise missile. Warren Cohen who is Bill Clinton’s defense secretary, he said that the scenario is completely feasible. In fact, he said end of days was tomorrow coming a day early. General Sid Shachnow who is the general in charge of all US special forces, part of his job was to combat nuclear terrorism. He said the scenario was not farfetched at all, particularly given current world events, and he said the scenario could happen much, much quicker than people realized. Publisher’s Weekly said it was frighteningly feasible. By the way, also all the reviews said and Booklist said it was better than The Stand and in a class by itself. Publisher’s Weekly said it made The Road look like a quiet stroll in the park.

Jason Hartman: So who did they sell the submarines to?

Robert Gleason: You’ll probably get them through a third party. Somebody who had legitimate credentials would buy them and then one of the submarines they bought would be siphoned off, sold to another middle man. There’s a book written on this called Critical Mass that came out about 20 years ago. And it documented a whole lot of those kind of sales. There was a company named BCCI that was accused banking of fraudulence and responsible for the biggest bank heist in world history. And they had elaborate scams for running these kinds of black markets. In fact, A. Q. Khan, when he became the greatest nuclear black marketer of all time, he used the basic BCCI systems to do that. But there’s a lot of black market arms dealers who know how to do these things.

Jason Hartman: So they’ve already done it is what you’re saying, right? These subs are already in the hands of terrorists now?

Robert Gleason: Pakistan owns – it depends on how you define it. The Obama Administration is attempting to sell Saudi Arabia nuclear power reactors. Nuclear power reactors and nuclear bomb fuel factories. There was an Oak Ridge study done in 1977 that showed if you have a nuclear power reactor and you get the equipment from an old area or an old winery, that in six months unskilled terrorists can build a nuclear bomb fuel re-processor, and in one month they can reprocess enough nuclear waste to have bomb fuel for the Nagasaki bomb.

Joe Biden said in December, when there was no Iraqi government, the Iraqi government was non-existent, he said that he saw no reason why we couldn’t sell nuclear power reactors to Iraq. We’re insane when it comes to stuff. We have sold so many weapons systems to Pakistan – I mean high tech delivery systems, all kinds of airplanes. And the Chinese sell cruise missiles, the Russians sell cruise missiles to all these people. There’s a huge weapons market and of course The United States is the number one purveyor of these weapons. We shell these weapons to people that’ll turn around and sell them to other people.

Jason Hartman: Why do we do that? Does the United States have a self-loathing suicidal mentality? Or do we just need the money so bad? Why are we doing this kind of stuff? Because it seems like all of these people that we prop up, two decades later they become our enemy. I mean it’s just crazy.

Robert Gleason: It’s very much like the book of Revelations. In fact, the older I get, the more I think like End of Days resembles the book of Revelations that chapter 14, verses 9-11, an angel comes down – an angel does some stuff to prove this is irrefutably an angel. An angel says to humanity that you gotta stop dealing with the antichrist. The reason everybody’s dealing with the antichrist is the antichrist controls all financial transactions. You want to make money, you gotta go through the antichrist. So, if you’re greedy, you’re gonna be a slave to the antichrist. You gotta have that money. And the angel says you’re either gonna reject the antichrist, you’re gonna give up your greed and you’re gonna stop chasing all this dirty money, or you’re going to spend all of eternity in hellfire and brimstone. And he says you can have money or you can have eternity and hellfire and brimstone. You have money or you can have eternity and hellfire and brimstone. And the overwhelming mass of humanity says I’ll take the money. And then you see the sixth trumpet. The mass of humanity is annihilated by basically fire and brimstone. And it’s actually kind of written on a sequence that 14, believe it or not, precedes chapter 11. That’s the actual chronological sequence of revelation. It’s a little confusion because it is written out of chronology. You look right now – we’ve got over 1.5 quadrillion dollars in global derivatives that is pure debt – it was based on no assets at all. It is based on debt, based on debt, based on debt. And everybody, I know a lot of high placed Wall Street executives, managing directors, all that kind of stuff. And they all acknowledge this thing’s gonna blow up. And we are so addicted to debt and to greed and you’re asking a question, yeah, sure there’s people that would be happy to sell the United States out for a bowl of pottage. Those people exist in every country.

Jason Hartman: Sure they do and that definitely happens – no question about it. Well, tell people where they can get the book.

Robert Gleason: It’s front of the store at Barnes & Noble, but it’s available at all the stores – you can buy it online too. And I gotta tell you, for the people that are really into apocalyptic fiction – and every religion, every mythology has a genesis myth on end time, that end time myths tend to be far more elaborate. And there are people that are interested in this kind of fiction that The Stand outsold any other Stephen King novel at least by 3 to 1. Then Left Behind series sold 65 million books. I was very fond of a book called Lucifer’s Hammer that I signed up and edited. I’m an executive editor at Tor/Forge Books.

And, by the way, my website is RobertGleasonBooks.com if anybody’s interested. The History Channel built a 2 hour end of the world documentary around me and I starred in it. I was a TV star for two hours and it’s on my website. You can watch a 7 minute clip of it.

Jason Hartman: Fantastic. Hey, one final question for you, Bob. On your website, RobertGleasonBooks.com, one of the first bullet points there is really the killing of Bin Laden increases the risks that Al Qaeda or the Taliban will carry out a nuclear attack against The US. Why is that?

Robert Gleason: It turns out, in summary, US media doesn’t cover it but the foreign presses cover it. There’s some Al Qaeda and Taliban use in Pakistan right now that they’re really highly skilled. They’re trained by the SSG which is the elite Pakistani commando organization. And they were trained presumably to go fight in Kashmir, but they’ve gone rogue and they’re blowing up Pakistani nuclear facilities. They blew up the big army headquarters, they blew up the Karachi naval base. There are very skilled. We know that they trained a guy that blew up nuclear power plants in the United States. And he worked and trained in five US nuclear power plants. He aimed to meet with some more Al Qaeda who is a hardcore Al Qaeda operative. And he got captured in Yemen and he shot it out with the Yemen authorities and killed one of them and wounded several and he’s in custody in Yemen. But we know that, for sure, they’re looking. They’ve already trained a guy. We know for sure that they’re looking at Indian Point. And it’s ironic we do nothing to prepare for this, we do nothing to protect ourselves from these kinds of attacks. But they’re coming for sure.

Also, before Bin Laden was killed, they had a number of high place Al Qaeda officials that have said that they have acquired nuclear bomb fuel and it would be I think imprudent to assume that they were incapable of it. I mean we could steal it out of our own weapons labs, I don’t know why they couldn’t steal it out of Russia.

I’ve worked with a lot of military guys as a book publisher. And I’ve had a lot of them tell me if I gave them $30 million dollars they could go out and either buy or steal enough nuclear bomb fuel for half a dozen nukes. They could do it any place from 3 months to 9 months. They believed it was that easy to steal it out of Russia or buy it, just simply buy it. But a lot of these Al Qaeda officials have said Bin Laden, whenever killed or captured, that they would nuke a couple of American cities. I do think part of why they’re blowing up these Pakistani nuclear facilities is in retaliation for they believe the Pakistan showed them more to protect Bin Laden than blowing up stuff.

Jason Hartman: Scary stuff, scary stuff. Well, Robert Gleason, thank you so much for joining us today. Appreciate having you on the show and hearing about End of Days.

Robert Gleason: Well, thank you so much.

Narrator: Did you know that we offer one on one coaching? This includes 6 months of one on one coaching. For more information, go to JasonHartman.com.

Thank you for joining us today for the Holistic Survival Show, protecting the people, places and profits you care about in uncertain times. Be sure to listen to our Creating Wealth Show which focuses on exploiting the financial and wealth creation opportunities in today’s economy. Learn more at www.JasonHartman.com or search “Jason Hartman” on iTunes. This show is produced by The Hartman Media Company, offering very general guidelines and information. Opinions of guests are their own and none of the content should be considered individual advice. If you require personalized advice, please consult an appropriate professional, information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. (Top image: Flickr | Jon Olav)

Transcribed by Ralph

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