How to Buy Nukes on the Black Market

Uploaded by vice on 06.07.2012


SHANE SMITH: We came back from Bulgaria blown away by our
biggest story that we'd ever done, feeling like we were 60
Minutes or something.
And we gave all the footage to our editor Jake.
And Jake was confused and saddened and
freaked out by it.
So what we're going to do is go through the whole editing
process with Jake.
JAKE BURGHART: Did you go to Varna or Bapha first?
SHANE SMITH: I don't know what Bapha is.
I think Bapha is Varna.
That's sort of like that's phonetic and that's English.
So we should start there.
We did an article in the magazine about a French
journalist who went to Bulgaria and bought a warhead
on the black market.
We were so fascinated by this that we decided to fly to
Sofia and research it ourselves.
And when we were there, we met this guy who'd written the
first article about it from Standart.
He's an American dude, but he's been living
there for 10 years.
MATTHEW BRUNWASSER: Every big arms scandal that happened in
the world had a Bulgarian connection.
MATTHEW BRUNWASSER: They'd find some box which said,
these bullets were made in Bulgaria.
SHANE SMITH: He's the guy who helped us find this Ivanov.
It's not his right name, Ivanov is like Smith.
It's like, you don't want anyone to
know, like me, Smith--
MATTHEW BRUNWASSER: I first heard about Mr. Ivanov in
2001, a couple months after September 11.
He is a former military intelligence colonel.
He went into private business finding construction workers
for the building industry in Saudi Arabia.
The bin Laden family's one the most powerful in Saudi Arabia.
And if you're going to do construction work in Saudi
Arabia, you're going to work with them
one way or the other.
SHANE SMITH: We're interviewing this dude who
sold a warhead on the black market.

We're here in Sliven, which is in eastern Bulgaria.
It used to be a Russian military base where they have
some arms dumps.
Sliven is important because it's the place where the
French journalist bought the warhead.
It's where everything went down.
So we went there and are researching and checking
things out, and we get word that Ivanov is actually in
Sunny Beach.

We just got to Sunny Beach.
We've been driving for six hours, we're on the Black Sea.
Apparently, Ivanov is here doing a construction project
for retirees.
To him, there's no difference between making Beverly Hills
condos on the Black Sea and selling warheads.
Because it's all just capitalism.
It's just buying and selling.
JAKE BURGHART: He's just out in the open doing normal
business now.
SHANE SMITH: Definitely.
JAKE BURGHART: Why would he even talk to you?
I mean, he's got his own stuff going now.
SHANE SMITH: Well, because we gave him money.
Again, everything's very simple there.
It's capitalism, it's just like you want
anything, pay for it.
The mentality is selling women, selling drugs, selling
guns, selling condos, selling cars, selling houses--
it doesn't matter.
And the attitude, too, is this is your system, it's your
How can you look down your noses at
us for selling warheads?
That's what you do.
Warheads are worth money, and therefore we sell them.
EDDY MORETTI: So what's better,
capitalism or communism?

SHANE SMITH: And would you say this is the largest investment
of foreign capital in Bulgaria right now?

SHANE SMITH: What's the property tax
situation in Bulgaria?
Once you buy, you have to pay tax?

SHANE SMITH: As we're talking to him about his construction
project, which actually has a lot of Kuwaiti and Saudi
Arabian investment, the topic of the Bin Laden Construction
Company came up.
And he said look, if we're going to talk about this any
more, we have to go back to your hotel where we can film
in private.
And I want my face blurred and my voice distorted.
And we said, OK, let's go.

SHANE SMITH: Not the daddy bin Laden, Osama bin Laden.
SHANE SMITH: And what did he want?

SHANE SMITH: So what they asked him for was to set up a
waste management company that would get the contract to deal
with the radioactive waste from Kozloduy, which is the
big Bulgarian nuclear power station.
They asked him to get this waste management
company, he's like why?
And they're like, well, we want to get waste.
That's me being an Arab.
And then he said, but why?
Why don't you get the real thing?
And they're like, real thing?
And that's how the French guy found out that real thing,
meaning the warhead.

SHANE SMITH: So they brought in Fedor Patchenko, who was
the ex-Vice Director of the Soviet atomic program, to
verify that it was real.

SHANE SMITH: When you actually see the footage of the
detonator, you're like, they don't need to get shitty
radioactive waste.
They can buy a plutonium detonator on the black market.
So that's when you're like holy shit,
holy shit, holy shit.
JAKE BURGHART: So is it called a dirty bomb because it's made
with waste?
So let's say you set off a dirty bomb made out of cesium
or something, some radioactive material, in New York.
It wouldn't kill that many people.
Maybe it would kill a couple thousand people.
But it would irradiate all of Manhattan, so everyone would
have to leave New York.
Because the chances of getting cancer would increase 100%
Obviously nobody wants to get cancer, so they leave.
You can't come back for another 30 or 40 years, and
you can't clean it up.
So New York ceases to exist, it's done, which would kill
America, right?
JAKE BURGHART: So where's the bomb?

SHANE SMITH: Well we said, where's the bomb?
And he said oh, I buried it in my mother's garden in Varna.
And we're like, well, hey, we'll give you money.
Let's go see the bomb.
He was like no, no, we can't.
We tried to find out, but the bomb's still out there, which
is kind of terrifying.
Or there's other bombs.
I mean, this was part of the old Soviet
arms dump from Sliven.
There might be 10 other bombs.
God knows who the hell bought them.
So if you can go buy one of these things on the black
market, that's it.
JAKE BURGHART: Which you guys just went and found.
SHANE SMITH: Yeah, we found the dude who sold it.
Then that's it, that's the end of time.
Because it could be Osama bin Laden, it could be some white
supremacist dude from Arkansas, it could be some guy
who hates your football team, whatever it is.
I know, why don't we know this?
Why aren't we being told this?