DIY cruise missile thwarted

Zealand government forced him to shut down his project
Yep, that's me they're talking about. If anyone has questions I'll happily answer them.
-- you can contact me via
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Reply to
Bruce Simpson
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"A New Zealand man who built a cruise missile in his garage claims the New
Zealand government forced him to shut down his project
after coming under pressure from the United States."
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Reply to
PR
See also
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Jim
Reply to
Jim Wilson
Yeah, I have a question.
Are we going to let them get away with this?
My senior project at ODU: Google Groups, then "dgoncz" and some of: ultracapacitor bicycle fluorescent flywheel inverter Equipped with BoBike Mini removable child seat, too!
Reply to
Doug Goncz
I've got one. What was done to "force you to shut down?" I noticed something about a tax problem?
Jim
Reply to
Jim Wilson
Yeah, several years ago my tax affairs were in a bit of a mess -- but then I hired a good accountant who charged $10,000 to put everything into order, file a few outstanding returns and make sure all the paper-work was perfect.
I also paid $160K -- which covered the outstanding tax bill and much of the extremely punitive penalties and interest that had been added -- these accumulate on a *daily* basis for unpaid taxes so rapidly grow to completely dwarft the original amount.
As of the start of the year I was squeaky clean and paying back the remaining debt -- in instalments. Everything was sweet.
Then news of my cruise missile project hit the world media and the NZ government were silly enough to admit that I was breaking no laws in building this craft.
However, from the tax-perspective, things suddenly went to hell in a handbasket after a US official was quoted as calling the project "unhelpful" -- which is diplomatic-speak for "shut it down!"
Being unable to find any other way -- and having admitted that the project itself broke no laws, the government were clearly delighted to find that I had a small debt with the tax department that could be leveraged in to a motion for bankruptcy -- even though it was being repaid -- in fact it was only a few months away from total repayment.
Of course they knew that inorder to clear the debt, I'd already sold my house and most of my other non-productive assets -- leaving me with nothing to pay a lump-sum demand and no money to hire a decent lawyer.
In fact, when an Ernst & Young tax accountant kindly went to bat for me, the taxman simply refused to meet with them and effectively said that we've made up our minds as to what we're going to do.
Now as I'm sure most people know, it's bloody hard to fight people who are using your own money to pay their legal bills and who are the ones who make up the rules under which the game is played.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Soem other points of note: Earlier this year I received email from an Iranian aerospace/missile company which offered to invest US$100K into my jet-engine project -- obviously in return for information on that project.
Clearly I'm not the kind of guy who'd export technology with military application to Iran but I thought I'd check out the official stance on such exports. Well you could have knocked me down with a feather when the governmetn advised that there would be no problems with such a deal and there was nothing illegal about exporting military technology to Iran.
The irony is that if I had taken the government's advice and sacraficed my own principles, I wouldn't be in the situation I am now because that $100K would have paid my tax bill many times over and left me with enough to pay off the nortgage.
Unfortunately -- principles and the desire to sleep straight at night count for nothing with governments I fear.
So there you go -- the cruise missile project was an attempt to issue a "wake-up" call so as to avoid the chance that terrorists would be first to demonstrate the risks. And for my trouble I now face threee years of unemployment (I can't be self-employed while bankrupt and there are no jobs going around here). It also means my wife and family will be stuck here with me living in a "house" (and I use the term loosely) that costs US$70 a week to rent -- so you can imagine what that's like. It's raining right now and you can't see the floor for bowls and buckets I'm afraid.
But hell -- the sun's bound to come out tomorrow :-)
-- you can contact me via
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Reply to
Bruce Simpson
Ha ha ... the silly thing is that I have no desire to get into the cruise missile business and there's a *huge* difference between the craft I've built and the type of missile the big-boys are making.
I'm sure their products are worth the money they're asking for them and that I'm no threat at all.
-- you can contact me via
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Reply to
Bruce Simpson
I was taking subscriptions to access a part of the website where the project was documented in much greater detail. There's nothing there that a keen terrorist couldn't easily find in a dozen other places so it was mainly for those who had an academic interest or just wanted to see how I'd done it.
Key elements of the design -- such as the software for the flight control system were never going to be published -- although this component *was* included in the material I freely offered to the NZ and US military -- in the hope they'd find it useful in evaluating just what form a real terrorist-built LCCM might take and what its capabilities might be. This offer was also made so they could see that my motives were totally benign and that I wasn't planning to hide anything or act irresponsibly. I got no takers though -- both governments were obviously very keen to distance themselves from any involvement in the project.
Since the bankruptcy is now official, I'm refunding all those who paid a subscription (which just about cleans me out completely) -- even though I could quite legitimately consider them to be unsecured creditors and refer them to the bankruptcy court to make a claim (where they'd get nothing. I figure if these people were nice enough to support the project then the least I can do is refund their money now that I'm unable to supply the full service.
Fortunately for me, a couple of people have said "keep the money anyway" so I guess there are some really nice folks out there.
-- you can contact me via
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Reply to
Bruce Simpson
I think there is another reason that is more compelling then the terrorist angle that most people assume.
What about American defense contractors pushing the government to stop low cost, over seas production of cruise missiles?
Defense contractors could never compete with a non-defense contractor, much less an over seas company. If only 1% of the $5K missiles worked, then they would still be cheaper then the one's produce by the defense giants.
Vince
Jim Wils>PR wrote...
Reply to
Vince Iorio
Zealand government forced him to shut down his project
Do you plan on making the design available on the internet?
Reply to
Brian Dotson
I disagree. Modern cruise missiles, such as ther Anglo-French Storm Shadow, cost about a million quid each. The V1 cost 400 quid; that was in 1940s money so with inflation it'd be about GBP 10,000 - 20,000.
I see no reason why it wouldn't be possible to mass produce V1-like cruise missiles with GPS guidance and a several-hundred kg warhead for that sort of money. Even better, put a digital camera on the front, and write approriate image recognition software (something that can pick up a moving tank or other vehicle, or can recognise a particular building, should be doable).
Now imagine what 100 of these could do to an enemy tank column, or what 1000 could do to a city.
So why aren't they being made? Because the defence contractors have structured their industries around low-volume high-cost production. They'd have to change their entire "value network" as Tom Christiansen put it in _The Innovator's Dilemma_.
They will get developed, of course, but probably not at first in the West. China, Iran, India and Pakistan are the nations most likely to develop them first, IMO, though several others could: Israel, Brasil, South Africa, and Russia spring to mind.
Reply to
phil hunt
"Bruce Simpson" wrote in message ...
...
okay, I read the article on how it's possible for a reasonably educated and capable person to build a "hobby" cruise missile. I thought to myself: you know, I'm one of those guys, I have an electronics engineering background, I'm into digital mapping and GPS systems, I can handle basic machining, I'm a little weak in the aerodynamics area but I could pick that up... Given sufficient motivation, money, and time, I could probably build my very own cruise missile. Cool.
But, the sticker was that "sufficient motivation" part. I can't think of any reason I would want to spend my time and money doing this. Are you saying that your reason for spending thousands of dollars and huge amounts of time to build your very own cruise missile is "a 'wake-up' call" to the government? Why not send a letter? What did you expect to happen when said government woke up?
Is there any part you needed to buy that a government could ban production or distribution of that would not cause real harm to some legitimate use? Do you think government agents should run around confiscating any technical documents that might allow your design? What can any government do to prevent terrorists from using available technology to build destructive weapons? They can stop you, or people like you, by passing a law to prohibit it. I suspect governments around the world are probably considering this now. Said laws will probably hammer aviation experimenters and the like... But, no laws are going to stop the terrorists.
But then, why would a terrorist organisation go through the effort to build a functional cruise missile when the world is full of people eager to die in support of their way of life? A person like that in just about anything that can fly, even a hot air balloon, would be more effective as a weapon, and a whole lot easier to hide. The last time you saw a hot air balloon, did you think "terrorist" or "oh neat, someone's going for a balloon ride?" When you see someone with a cruise missile strapped onto the roof of an SUV, it's either a terrorist or... or ... someone wanting to send a wake-up call to the government???
Face it, as technology increases, and disseminates in the process, humans become more and more capable of killing each other. We've already passed, the stage where a few governments have the technology to destroy just about everything. As time goes by, individuals will become more and more capable of killing larger numbers of people. It's a trend we've been living with for a long time now. Eventually, in the hopefully distant future, I suppose we will reach the point where anyone with a minor amount of education will have the capability of destroying all life on earth, assuming we survive that long.
So, today, a gifted DIYer can build a cruise missile. In a while, your garden-variety idiot will be able to do this just by purchasing a few off-the-shelf components, wiring their GPS-enabled cell-phone to a reprogrammed game-boy or something, and away it goes. The question remains: of all the things an intelligent, skilled person could create, why create a weapon?
David...
P.S. I've re-read this and I'm going to answer my own question: Why create a weapon? Unfortunately, because we're human and that's what we're really good at. Want proof? Take the next 60 seconds and write down all the different -novel- concepts that come to mind for building something to kill lots of people. Then, take the next 60 seconds and write down all the things you could create to help people. I could list off a 100 in the first category and still be going strong. In the second category, I'd be lucky to get a dozen. I guess in the heart of every man is a little boy sharpening a stick. I guess, in the end, I can't choose who I am... but I can choose what I turn from idea into reality: no weapons from me.
Reply to
FixerDave
According to an article in today's paper, about 6,000 people in the US have been arrested by our home grown Gestapo. 184 have been charged and convicted of *some* crime. 4 received sentences in excess of 5 years. That's not a particularly inspiring record.
Gary
Reply to
Gary Coffman
Haven't they already confiscated all of your 0.22 cal rabbit guns down there? What did you think the government would do... award you a million dollar contract? Can you offer any possible commercial applications?
Reply to
Dave
On Wed, 10 Dec 2003 12:57:24 +1300, Bruce Simpson brought forth from the murky depths:
That you were a good and moral man who was bent over and buggered by the government _should_ have been the global news story. Effin' politics. Y'know, it's actions like that by governments which make people WANT to join the other side. Stupid, stupid govvies.
You should have a -really- nice tan 3 years from now. ;)
Best of luck to you and your family. Can we help? Is the donation button on your site still active?
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Reply to
Larry Jaques
As he already stated previously (you HAVE read his post, right?), he had a contract with an American company to produce the engine for use on UAV's. The contract fell through when the NZ government forced him into bankruptcy. Understand?
Reply to
dj28 *-A T-* comcast *-D O T-*
"dj28 *-A T-* comcast *-D O T-* net" wrote in news: snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com:
I've read the post, his site and had been following the progress. I'm sure Mr Simpson will post here but I don't see anywhere where he claimed to have 'a contract with an American company to produce the engine for use on UAV's'.... (you HAVE read his post, right?)
He had an offer from Iran however and so maybe you're confused. Understand?
Reply to
Mike
'Design for a Faith Based Missile' by Richard Dawkins
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Reply to
sidd
"What's even worse is that in July I went to the USA and signed a heads-of-agreement with a US company who were going to commence manufacture of my X-Jet engine for use in UAVs and RPVs. This deal alone was worth a huge amount of money to the NZ taxman and would have also created new jobs and export earnings for this country." --Bruce Simpson
The contract was based on the premise that both parties remained solvent. When NZ forced bankruptcy upon Bruce, the contract was considered void.
When attempting to be a smartass, it helps to have read all the material you are talking about. Understand? Thank you.
Reply to
dj28
My initial move was to simply use the written word to try and wake up the authorities. Check out the date on this page:
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This article was in fact highlighted by several mainstream news publisers, including the CSM and produced a lot of feedback including comments from a number of former and serving US military personnel who acknowledged the risk but were also aware that there was little being done to address it.
I also contacted teh guys at DARPA responsible for the LCCM defense program and offered them all my research and the full results of my own project. They completely ignored all my emails.
So, clearly that idea didn't work.
If you read what I've written on this matter you'll see that I don't advocate banning the sale of anything. Banning is not only extremely disruptive but also totally ineffective. For example -- even though Bush has suggested the introduction of strict controls on the sale of GPS units -- if that were done, those who wanted them for nefarious purposes would just steal them. Let's face it, there are already many millions of such devices already in circulation.
Hey, you can get almost the entire plans for the German V1 from the Net -- and the copies I've seen aren't hosted in the USA anyway so there's not a lot they could do. The V1 carried a *ton* of high-explosive and, while not deadly accurate, would still be a formidable weapon in the hands of a terror group.
The reason for this project was to prove the futility of legislation as a weapon against such things. The *only* practical defense we have against the home-built cruise missile right now is a good public awareness of:
1, what it is 2. what it takes to build one 3. how they're built
If terrorists know that their attempts to build such a weapon are far more likely to be detected by the general public -- even nosey neighbors, they'll be less inclined to consider such a project to be a viable option.
Trying to keep information out of the public domain has already proven to be the worst thing you can do in such cases. Do you remember the lessons of 9/11? Woudl you really want them repeated?
You should read the FAQ on my website at
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Remember that the key component of the word "terrorism" is the word "terror".
Although the V1 was responsible for a disproportionately low number of deaths in WW2, it was by far and away one of the most feared weapons and the sound of one flying overhead then cutting out most certainly inflicted terror on those below.
Given that my craft would not have an explosive or otherwise dangerous warhead it was *not* a weapon -- it is a warning of what might happen if the public aren't educated as to the potential for others to do exactly the same with a less responsible agenda.
-- you can contact me via
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Reply to
Bruce Simpson

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