Dr. Mahdi Obeidi was in charge of the experimental program of the French built Material Testing Reactor in Iraq. He later led the Uranium Centrifuge Enrichment program, which is the pinnacle in the ongoing attempts to covertly obtain nuclear weapons capability. His work tells the story about the quest for nuclear weapons. It is about the intimidation, paranoia, and impossible deadlines of a rogue regime. It also tells how easy it is to get a nuclear capability through illicit efforts, as exemplified by his actual experience of entering the United States with a different name, designing the centrifuge in New York, getting materials and know how through the diplomatic pouch, and setting up fictitious front companies, which culminated in realizing one of the fastest and most efficient covert centrifuge programs in history.
In 2003, when the United States was looking for a suspected centrifuge program, he had ethical concerns that the information at his possession would fall in the wrong hands, which prompted him to cooperate with the Americans. While in the United States, Dr. Obeidi authored a bestselling book, The Bomb in my Garden, the Secrets of Saddam’s Mastermind, which was optioned by Johnny Depp for film rights. He has been active in his quest to stop nuclear proliferation, with lecture circuit throughout the nation including universities, such as Harvard and his Alma mater, the Colorado School of Mines, most DOE laboratories, NSA, numerous lectures for the FBI, along with many lectures at libraries, and conferences. He conducted scenario based training for HLS, the army, the air force, and DOE.
Dr. Obeidi experience is an eye opener showing how a rogue state or a non-state actor can circumvent the rules and pose a nuclear or radiological threat on the American soil. It can show, for example, how an intelligence officer in an American embassy can assess the threat of someone asking to attend a scientific conference in the United States through understanding the true motivation, be it personal, national, or ideological. The interplay between these factors can be instrumental in securing the homeland. Dr. Obeidi obtained his masters from the Colorado School of Mines in Chemical Engineering, and obtained his PhD from the University of Swansea in the United Kingdom in materials science and engineering. He supervised numerous masters and doctoral thesis.
Robert Carlin has followed North Korea since 1974, first as an analyst in the Central Intelligence Agency and later as the chief of the Northeast Asia Division in the State Department’s intelligence bureau. He is considered by many as one of this country’s premier experts on North Korea.
As intelligence adviser in the State Department, Carlin attended virtually all US-DPRK negotiations from 1993-2001, including crucial talks on the nuclear and missile issues. He also took part in numerous behind the scenes contacts. He accompanied Secretary of State Madeline Albright to Pyongyang in October 2000. From 2002-2006, Carlin served as political adviser in the Korean Energy Development Organization (KEDO), created by the US, ROK, and Japanese governments in 1995 to build two light water nuclear reactors in North Korea. While in KEDO, he led numerous delegations to the North for negotiations, and he was on the last ship that withdrew KEDO personnel from the North in January 2006. From 2006 until the present, Carlin has been a Visiting Fellow at Stanford University Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC).
Over the years, Carlin has made more than 30 trips to North Korea. In 2010, as part of a small CISAC delegation, Carlin was invited by the North Koreans to view a new nuclear reactor under construction and a large, previously unknown facility for enriching uranium — both potentially part of a nuclear weapons program. He continues to meet frequently with North Korean officials and to write on Korean issues, appearing frequently on news programs.
In 2013, Carlin revised and updated THE TWO KOREAS, a highly respected contemporary history of the Korean peninsula. Carlin received his MA. from Harvard University in 1971, and his BA from Claremont Men’s College in 1969.
Carlin is a regular contributor to the blog 38north.org which concentrates on North Korean developments and cited often in the press.
David Albright, a physicist, is founder and President of the non-profit, non-partisan Institute for Science and International Security in Washington, D.C. He regularly publishes and conducts scientific research. During the last three decades, he has written countless assessments on secret nuclear weapons programs throughout the world, particularly those of Iran, North Korea, and Pakistan. Albright has testified many times on nuclear issues before the U.S. Congress and advised numerous governments.
Albright has been frequently quoted in the media and appeared often on television and radio. His work has been cited regularly in the New York Times, Washington Post, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Time, Washington Times, Boston Globe, London Sunday Times, Guardian, Der Spiegel, and by Reuters, Associated Press, AFP and Bloomberg wire services. He has also appeared frequently on CNN, FOX, MSNBC, ABC World News Tonight, NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, Newshour, 60 Minutes, Dateline, and multiple National Public Radio shows.
He has authored four books, including 2010’s PEDDLING PERIL: How the Secret Nuclear Trade Arms America’s Enemies, listed by The Atlantic as one of the best foreign affairs books of 2010.
Fen Montaigne is a journalist, author, and editor who specializes in the environment, science, and international affairs. A Pulitzer Prize finalist, Guggenheim fellow, and former foreign correspondent who has written extensively for National Geographic magazine, Montaigne has authored or co-authored six books. He helped launch and is senior editor of Yale Environment 360, an online magazine that has won a host of awards and attracts 2.5 million visitors a year.
Fen’s latest book is the critically acclaimed Fraser’s Penguins: A Journey to the Future in Antarctica. The book tells the story of Bill Fraser, a U.S. ecologist who has done research in Antarctica for 40 years, documenting the decline of sea ice-dependent Adélie penguins as the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than any place on earth. Fen spent nearly five months in Antarctica as a member of Fraser’s field team. The Sunday New York Times Book Review said, “Fraser’s Penguins leaves one feeling exhilarated — by these remarkable creatures, the landscape they inhabit, and the scientists who’ve devoted their lives to studying both.” The book was excerpted in The New Yorker and Fen appeared on “The Colbert Report” to discuss Fraser’s Penguins. He lectures on Antarctic voyages run by Lindblad and National Geographic.
Fen worked for 20 years as a newspaper reporter, primarily for The Philadelphia Inquirer, where he served as the paper’s Moscow correspondent during the collapse of the Soviet Union. Fen then became a freelance writer for 12 years, traveling to every continent but Australia as he reported on the environment and international affairs. A graduate of the University of Virginia, Fen also has written for Outside, Smithsonian, and The Wall Street Journal, among other publications.
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