Creativity is central to Dr. Gerald Vincent Bull’s attempt to build the S1000 a 3,000-kilometre range super gun called the Babylon Gun. What is creativity? What are its limits and most importantly, what is “permissible” in its name? How does the scientist create the earth-shattering new and original from the old? Is there right and wrong in the art of creation?
The Babylon gun is a story of the desire of the scientist to realize dreams. It is also a question of morals and motivation. Why did Bull want to build the biggest gun? From whence came the desire? Is it good? Is it moral? Is it bad? Is it evil? These questions are important to understand the political nature of the whole affair. How are men to be viewed against the background of the Gulf War?
On 22nd March 1990, a few days after he test-fired a prototype “Baby Babylon” of his super gun over the tranquil Iraqi desert and five months before the August 02nd Iraq invasion of Kuwait, Dr. Bull was assassinated outside the door of his apartment in Brussels.
Project Babylon, or the Babylon gun was the fruition a lifetime of work and experimentation for Dr. Bull. In the thirty years after leaving the University of Toronto with a doctorate at 22, the youngest person ever awarded at a Canadian University and although he had become the best gun designer alive he had not realized his dream of building a supergun capable of launching satellites into orbit as he set out to do since 1954. Bull’s study of aero physics and his book “The Paris Gun” were dedicated to the principle of building a supergun capable of firing missiles 30 miles and more and putting satellites in orbit.
Iraq in 1988 commissioned Bull to build this gun one half of which existed in the design principles of the HARP gun in Barbados, which he built in the late 60s and the other half in his mind. At the time of Bull’s death the prototype was operational; nearly all the parts of the super gun were assembled in Iraq and in a matter of weeks the Babylon Gun would be ready for testing. Several other pieces for the gigantic 1000mm barrel, disguised as parts for oil pipes to escape export restrictions on scientific and military technology to Iraq, were on docks, on lorries or in warehouses in Britain and Europe ready to be shipped to Iraq. The hydraulics system, to dampen the guns gigantic recoil, had already been built by a British company.
“The Doomsday Gun” the recently released movie about Bull’s attempt to build his gun and his subsequent assassination should have satisfactorily answered these questions. This action-packed thriller although the flow of events is more in words, gives answers to these questions but only on the emotional level of feelings and sympathy. It portrays the passions of the characters but does not, however, comment on the implications of the profound intrigue involved on any system of ethics or politics. It does no tease out the final answer to the fundamental question of why Bull would risk his life to build the supergun just as it does not finally answer who killed Bull.
It is a pity, for at the centre of this magnificent political story is a void of blindness and decadence, which deserves comment for out of such comment comes great literary nihilism, which is found in the work of the 19th century classics of Doestoevsky,Mellville and Nietzsche.
The world of Gerald Bull is the true inheritor of such epics as“Moby Dick” and “The Brother Kalamazoo.” Men such as Bull are the product of a new society that writers such as Doestoevsky, Melville and Nietzsche envision. In Melville’s words he is a new “genuine character” in Nietzsche’s he is an “Overman.” “Man is something that is to be surpassed.
What have you done to surpass man?”
Frederick Nietzsche (1844-1900), the German philosopher and poet famed for his concept of the overman or superman, in his book “The Gay Science” in defining a central part of his philosophy said that the distinguishing difference between the higher being and the lower is the degree of their desire for certainty. The higher man sees and hears exceptionally more than the lower. The great majority of people, unfortunately, he wrote, lack an intellectual conscience and are unable to feel and think at the same time an eternally growing world of values, perspectives, affirmations and negations.
This creative world, which is the subject of the desire for certainty, is inaccessible to most people. Many prefer to believe this or that and live accordingly without first accounting the final and most certain reasons for or against their actions and beliefs. Such people are contented to live their lives unquestioning of the truth of their ideals. Nietzsche created a marvellous, new negative dialectic when he argued that the truth of these ideals was their lack of truth. The ideals of society are a lie. What kind of man and what kind of mind would design the Babylon Gun?
“The Doomsday Gun” gives its viewers poetic images: the image of praying and the symbol of the moon. In the beginning of the movie a twelve year old Bull kneels in a Catholic Church pew and keeps, under his prayer book, a copy of Jules Verne’s “From The Earth to the Moon,” which tells a story about a gun that could place things on the moon. The cover of the book is illustrated with a large gun and a picture of the moon. Verne (1828-1905), a lawyer turned science fiction novelist wrote amongst others, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under The Sea,” “Around the World in Eighty Days,” and “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” before the invention of airplanes, rockets and submarines yet he predicted accurately their uses. Verne’s work is still popular science fiction today.
The most authoritative book on the arming of Iraq by the English journalist Kenneth Timmerman “The Death Lobby” and the main instrument used by Western legislators to unearth the facts of the Iraqi military machine, simply suggests strongly that Bull was an unscrupulously evil man and ignores the philosophical questions behind his silent sanctioning of Bull’s murderers and ignores the philosophical and moral questions behind the actioning of Bull’s murder. The book provides the possible backdrop to the “Doomsday Gun”. The symbols in the move tell of some unknown and irrational inspiration bound up in the story of science and the imagination. They are deterrents to following Bull’s life, for they offer the marketable image of it as a tragic sacrifice.
The question, by both book and movie, that if Gerald Bull’s desire is irrational and atavistic what then of science and its goals? What does this say to society about scientific discovery for is not Bull’s unswerving desire to build the world’s longest firing gun - a gun with a range of 3,000 miles capable of launching satellites into space - an insight into what motivates people, in particular what motivates scientific genius?
Bull studied aero-physics at Mc Gill University. His dream after a careful study of the Paris Gun, the Krupp manufactured smooth bore cannon, which shelled Paris in World War I from over sixty miles away, was that it was possible with modern technology to launch rocket assisted payloads into space from a smooth bore artillery tube. It would be far less expensive than using fuel rockets to launch satellites and it could be used to transport components for use in building space stations in orbit. His HARP gun in 1967 did achieve this in a limited way but it was a prototype to the supergun. Arthur Koestler (1905-1983), the European essayist, novelist, political activist and scientific writer in his book on the nature of the scientist and scientific discovery, “The Sleep Walkers” examined the lives and theories of European natural philosophers and scientist, Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543), Tycho Brache (1546-1601), Johannes Kepler (1571-1630), Galileo Galileo (1564-1642) and Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) to illustrate the idea that scientific discovery is not a rational positivistic process, not a steady march of progress or a gradual growth of the human species from blind ignorance to cool rationality but it is stumbled upon through irrationality. Feelings, emotions and intuition play an important role in (scientific) discovery. Koestler argues it is the make up and the inclination of the scientist to trust certain irrational leaps not the mass of knowledge at hand that engenders scientific progress.
Bull was such a man. He continued to confound the ballistic world throughout his breathtaking career with his ability to consistently improve gun technology to the point that now with his supergun anything was possible. He worked against the notion that bore technology was obsolete, which gave a monopoly to the missile rocket complex to sell its costly technology. There seemed to be no stopping his ability to cut and contrive and keep his head and dream afloat. Behind this was a simple joy of life and freeness and openness that made Bull a very likeable man, who convinced and inspired the scientist, who worked with him and those, who were interested in his technology.
Koestler asks the question why do civilizations make scientific discoveries, which a few centuries later are forgotten and are rediscovered by another civilisation hundreds or thousands of years later? Scientific genius he shows, is like a pendulum swinging back and forth between periods of great scientific breakthroughs and dark ages of ignorance and superstition. Koestler’s ideas are amongst the most original that sought to understand human society through a study of the philosophy of it sciences.
Michael Foucault, a famous contemporary French philosopher of knowledge is also like Koestler, in that he writes books such as “The History of Madness” and “The Order of Things” to show the blind side of science. They describe the same thing. Foucault says imagine a world that thinks in a different way than today and then you can understand how science and philosophy works. It is what Koestler meant by saying that genius abandons useless ways of thinking for its own ideas in an apparently irrational form. A man like Bull will remain incomprehensible for the many without an understanding of this crucial idea.
Koestler examines the heliocentric solar system (the sun in the centre of an orbiting system of planets) of Copernicus, which was widely known in the ancient world but dismissed as heretical and unscientific in 17th century Europe. Copernicus’s proof for what is now known as the “Copernican Revolution” is wrong according to modern science, but the feelings he had about the validity of the ancient model were right. Koestler shows how an “idea fixee,” an unforgettable dream, based in feeling and thought is at the source of scientific discovery. Fixed ideas and unshakeable thoughts in the mind of the discoverer guide the geometry and mathematics of discovery.
It is not a matter of working from what you have and thinking how everyone thinks. It is a kind of leap from logic to intuition and then back from intuition to logic. Scientist such as Bull, Koestler calls sleepwalkers. They are led to discover from dreams and desires, emotions and feelings. Bull was like Johannes Kepler, the father of modern astronomy, who studied numerology and astrology all his life, subjects he thought were filled with ignorance and superstition. He numbered and plotted horoscopes of everything of importance. This same obsessive idea of geometrical and mathematical harmony led him to discover the planetary laws. Without his obsession for geometrical harmonyKepler would never had done away with the disorder of medieval astronomy. Without his devotion to perfect design, he would have deteriorated in the difficult times of his life, to a crank court astrologer, a far easier job, and left nothing for posterity. LikeKepler, Bull was the product of the scientific mind of the last three centuries.
The men, who founded the New Philosophy of modern science did so by the sheer magnitude of their great work, which elevated them to the level for geniuses. Tycho Brache, the greatest astronomer of pre-telescopic times, is the best comparison to Bull. At the end of his life, in 1600, the famous astronomer worked with Kepler to chart the planetary tables using the in genius instruments he had built. Throughout Tycho Brache’s unabated passion was the observation and plotting of the skies. His observatory was the envy of the entire world. All else took second place. His wealth, friendships, and political allegiances were important only in how nearer they took him to this goal. In his life, as in Bull’s this pattern was unchanged.
Why would Bull build his super gun in Iraq when it would tilt the balance-of-power in the Middle East and proliferate strategic nuclear weapons? Was the will, as Nietzsche wrote beyond good and evil?
London (MI5), Washington (CIA and NSA), France (Douzienne Bureau), Germany (Gehreinestat Politzi) and Moscow (KGB) were complicit in the affair. Iraq had been armed to the teeth by the western military establishment: arms dealers, bankers, government officials and the largest and most influential Western corporations - Daimler-Benz, Cargill, and Dassault and many more took advantage of the fantastic arms bazaar which Saddam Hussein had created in his programme of military industrialization.
French policy towards Iraq was that of an ally. Jacques Chirac, the French President, considered the sale of the Isis and Osiris reactors at the Osirak nuclear plant, as the legitimate trade of sovereign nations. The pressure that the United States and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) placed on its atomic programme in the name of nuclear proliferation did not intimidate the French. DeGaulle, the former French Prime Minister pulled France out of NATO in 1966 over his refusal to relinquish control of the French nuclear arson to NATO generals.
France had already sold Israel its nuclear reactor at Dimona in the 1950’s and France’s official policy of nuclear power was to consider it the right of “national sovereignty” not an instrument of foreign policy manipulation. Along with the sale of the Osirak plant, were a list of multi-billon dollar contracts for armaments, technology and capita works, which the French sold to Iraq from 1981 to 1989. Iraq bought from France the most advanced laser guided smart bombs - Exorcets, Milan, Aramat, H.O.T., Magic missile systems, the advance AMX30-GCT howitzers, multi-billion dollar aircraft and avionics deals including FI mirages: Super Etards, Alouette, gazelle, super Pama helicopters and supplicated Tiger G radars. France also built desalinisation plants, petrochemical complexes, fertilizer factories, car assembly works and an airport. The French were first and foremost traders.
The victorious Allies never captured or controlled the German mind. The Germans, banned from selling arms by the terms of its surrender in WWII, nevertheless, supplied the scientist and technology Iraq needed to develop its strategic missile programme and chemical weapons capability. German policy was to fight its straightjacket ban on selling weaponry by insisting that it did not sell anything specifically designed to manufacture chemical weapons. What Iraq was capableof making at the chemical plants - pesticide plants and otherwise, the German company Karl Kobb built - which could produce enough pesticide to spray every blade and shrub in the Middle East for a decade - was not Germany’s concern. They could not control how Iraqis thought or their actions. The Iraqi strategic weapons programme bought only what the Germans could sell - technical know-how and Degussa, the company that manufacture Zykkon B, the gas used in the death chambers at Auschwitz and spearheaded the Nazi atomic bomb programme: Messerschmit-Bolkow-Blohm (the builder of the V and V2 rockets of the Nazi missile programme and Bohlen (heir to the Nazi armament company Krupp) laughed all the way to the bank. By 1988 Germany had sold Iraq $1.2 billion in supplicated machine tools capable of manufacturing gyroscopes for guidance systems, complicated trigger mechanisms, uranium enrichment equipment, laboratory, machinery and tools for dealing with lethal chemicals. When the BBC programme Panorama in 1986 revealed to the world the gas attack the Iraqi army launched against the Kurdish city of Halabja, the German government of Chancellor Kohl refused to admit to or to back down from supplying and building Iraq’s chemical capability.
The U.S. in strategic partnership with Israel in the region supported Iraq and Iran, its enemy, in the Persian Gulf War. Israel through the Iran-Contra “arms for hostages” deal sold through the American National Security Council (NSC) (650 million in weapons in 1968 alone) contacts (Robert MacFarlane, Admiral John Poindexter and Brent Scrowcroft). It was in Israel’s interest to keep the war going as long as possible, for it would mean weaker Arab resistance to their policies in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
The United States was the greatest warmonger of them all for while the Iran-Contra initiative continued to secretly fund the Iranian Islamic fundamentalists, the US extended a credit line of $1 billion through the Department of Agriculture to Iraq. The Iraqi military machine, though not made in the USA was paid for by the USA. The Banque National de Levora (BNL) in Atlanta financed Bull’s Babylon Project out of the Department of Agriculture commodities Credit (CCC) programme, as were French, Italian and German arms purchases and developments. Timmerman states the effect of US Governments $1 billion credit extended in 1982 was “to turn the day to day management of US policy towards Iraq over to the huge agro-industrial conglomerates such as Cargill, Arab financed Drefuss.” The United States treasury financed a $5billon dollar line of credit after Iraq had exhausted its $35 billion reserve of foreign currency. By June 4th, 1989 when Kissinger Associates were called into reschedule Iraq’s debt, it was clear the country had been bought and sold. The French sold arms, the Germans supplied technology, the Americans loaned money and the Iraqis added their inspiration to put it all altogether. Bull’s S1000 would put the topping on the Iraqi strategic weapons programme. The International Atomic Agency had concluded that Iraq was two years from building a bomb from the Osirak reactor when Israel bombed it on June 07th 1981. After the success of “operation Babylon” as Mechanin Begin, the then Prime Minister of Israel, called the Osirak bombing, Iraq pursued four different processes of uranium enrichment for bomb building.
In 1987, Jonathan Pollard was arrested and found guilty in the US of treason for passing US satellite information on Iraq’s military factories to Israel. Pollard testified that the US did not want the world to know how close Iraq was to building an atom bomb. On February 22nd 1989 Rear Admiral Thomas Brooks, the Director of Naval Intelligence broke rank and told Congress that Iraq was actively pursuing a nuclear weapons programmed. Saddam declared on April 12th 1990 to a pro-Iraq lobby Senate delegation in Iraq headed by Senator Robert Dole that, “a just piece is possible when, if Israel possesses one missile, the Arabs possess one missile, so neither can use it.”
The West had come to terms with the existence of Iraq’s nuclear programme. Sooner or later if not already Iraq would have the bomb. Revised updates after the Gulf War was that Iraq was six months from completing the bomb. An Iraqi engineer claimed that he worked at an enrichment plant at Ash Shargai, which had produced ninety pounds of bomb grade material. He said the plant had never been bombed in the war and that four other plants like it had survived the bombing unscathed. Concern, therefore shifted to the development of the Iraq missile programmed.
The Missile Technology and Control Regime (MTCR) signed by the G7 nations in 1984 restricted the transfer of the technology necessary to build the guidance and propulsion systems of strategic missiles with a range of over 2,000 kilometres. The modified Scud Missiles, which Iraq used in its war with Iran, had a range of approximately one thousand kilometres and though of some concern to Israel were not effectively strategic weapons; they did not give Iraq a viable option of first strike in the event of a nuclear war with Israel. It was not a match to the Israeli designed intermediate range ballistic missile “the Jericho” and the Israeli Air Force, and any first strike would not remove Israel’s annihilating retaliatory strike. Israel also had the option of an overwhelming first strike.
Israel maintained nuclear superiority in all scenarios. In December 1989, however, Iraq entered the strategic arms race with the successful launch of the Al Abid, a two thousand-kilometre range ballistic missile. Alarm bells rang. The US administration began to “express concern” over the Iraq missile programme and Israel’s Mossad threatened scientist who worked on the Condor missile programme in Iraq. This situation was unacceptable to Israel, which because of its concentrated target formation meant that Iraq could much easier launch a crippling blow to its civilians and military but they could not halt the Iraq missile programme which was speeding along with German, Brazilian and Egyptian help.
The Americans calculated that the strike capability of a real super powers was still many years away from Iraq and seemed convinced that Saddam would run out of money and succumb to the economic pressures of sustaining a nuclear arms race and debt rescheduling. Iraq would have to play their diplomatic game with Israel for Saddam would run out of money before Iraq developed the expensive missile technology monopolised by the G7 countries.
Bull’s gun, however, would change all of this and the US and Israel would be unable to use its control of the missile-rocket complex to dictate Middle Eastern policy. With soft and inexpensive technology Iraq could mass produce Bull’s 3,000-mile supergun and establish in the mountains of Northern Iraq an impregnable nuclear zone of defensive and offensive capability. Added also to the bargain, was what Bull had promised from the beginning, a vehicle that could launch satellites. Bull had shown the Iraqis how to get around the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) restricting missile technology to the industrialized world. He gave Iraq a taste of true power.
“I am become death, the shatterer of worlds.” Said Ophenhemeir, a Jew, the builder of the nuclear bomb.
Was Bull’s gun the desire of a man of science? Perhaps the ethical answer is simply as Nietzsche says, you are supposed to do what you have trained your brain, your mind and your will to do. If you are trained to be a swimmer; you will swim. That is life. If you trained yourself to be a magician you will do magic. Training the will is an art. It is easier to have no will and be a slave working in a bank. Beyond the pursuit of money many have no will and without the intellectual conscience they have no idea of true motivation.
Bull had worked from the early 1960s when he built the HARP gun, to overcome the obstacles in designing a gun that could put satellites into orbit. There was no other person alive with this talent and ability. How could Bull become Saddam Hussein’s hireling, his hired gun? People asked how could he work for a murderer? Bull was smarter than that and he would not sacrifice his dream to false moralities built on the expediency of competing nation states fighting for world domination.
“I sell technology. I do not fire my guns. I am not responsible.” Bull countered always.
Scientist such as Galileo in his defence of the heliocentric solar system have had to pay lip service to the ignorance of their times. It is a common theme when looking at the lives of the great scientist that shaped the modern world. Science can cease to progress under the dogma of what is believed to be true. In Bull’s case what was believed to be true of the Middle East by the West was the propaganda of oil companies, anti-Semitics, bankers and arms dealers.
The development of science can never become so utilitarian so as to dispose with the idea of the scientist in pursuit of the unattainable. The purest form of scientific research has been hindered over and over throughout history by the interest vested in the application of its discoveries. Einstein, for instance, did not discover the laws of relativity so as to build an atom bomb. He developed it through looking at the world in a different way, in an interest to make real what exists in an idea. The danger of brilliant scientist to the status quo of their age is not their inventions but their minds. The kind of thinkinginvolved in the creation of something new and unique is more important than the uses of the thing created. Such ways of thinking sometimes challenges a vested interest in fundamentally revolutionary ways. It is for the integrity of his mind that the scientist is sometimes hunted, put on trial and killed. In Galileo’s time the study of the natural world by the New Philosophy, as modern science was then called, could not take precedence to the application of its discoveries and theories by the Church. The Church, itself filled with learned men of the new way of thinking would only allow what it felt it could use as dogma and thus Galileo, the inventor of the optical telescope, the thermometer and the proponent of the heliocentric solar system (and personal friend of the Pope) was put on trial and placed under house arrest.
This is particularly applicable to Bull especially in view of his involvement with key players of today’s arms industry. The technology of weaponry has revolutionized the organization of society over and over again. The moment of the realization of such ideas as building a rocket that could travel at thousands of miles per hour or of building a cannon that could destroy the walls of a castle, or of developing an invincible form of empty-handed fighting was not just a matter of good and evil for a scientist like Bull trying to do what had never been done before. Bull wanted to develop his technology to build his supergun to launch satellites and put things on the moon. It was not simple marching but it was the moment when man achieves the impossible.
Let the leaders of countries play their political games, it was not his affair, he was interested, not in power, business or patronage but in doing what had never been done before. He was a scientist in love with the laws of ballistics, which where not governed by the ideologies and propaganda of competing nation states in their quest for power. This was his great danger, however, because his dream and integrity to the scientific quest would lead him against the status quo.
Bull always felt that he should have won a Nobel Prize for his ballistics work, after all Alfred Nobel used the money he received from his invention of TNT to set up the Nobel Trust. Bull was not the kind of man to remain quiet of such contradictions. He was open and frank in his dealings and knew what he did - sold technology to make guns, artillery and rockets. It was not for Bull first and foremost a clandestine affair and for someone involved in so secret a profession he was accused of having a big mouth. His conscience was clear. Bull’s motivation was never making money. He was not poor, married money and could make it as easy as any of the “cocktail scientist” (his contemptuous term for the scientist who pursued careers for money and prestige). He risked his money and career, involved himself in the dangerous intrigue of the intelligence services in pursuit of a single fixed idea, and it separated him from his company. Bull’s virtue was the dream of his gun.
The world comes to him, who designs the longest firing gun. Israel came, saw and bought the smooth bore and shell technology, modified the G3 howitzer, used it to protect the Golan Heights and devastated the Palestinians hope of regaining their homeland. The US had developed Israel’s intelligence gathering machine and boosted its military in a secret nuclear pact between the two countries. It began in 1968 and became publicly known in 1986 when an Israeli nuclear scientist,Mordechie Vannunu claimed Israel possessed 400 nuclear warheads and 100MRVs (Multiple Independently targeted re-entry Vehicles.)
The swapping of secrets, information and technology in the years 1968 to 1986, the early part of which Bull worked with Israel, resulted in the propaganda that Israel was the defender of democracy in the Middle East region. The promotion of Israel as a “democratic ally was so successful that even in little Barbados where the Israelis visited the HARP Project, the Prime Minister was fond of exclaiming his sympathy with the Zionist cause by professing that he was Jewish.
The danger to scientist like Bull, Vannunu, Sakarov orOppenheimer, however and not the masquerading political leader, is that their work in and knowledge of weapons technology involved them in the web of international espionage. They knew too much. It is dangerous for such men.
Bull was the only person besides Sir Winston Churchill to be made a citizen of the USA by an act of Congress so that he could work in their laboratories and be privy to the designs of its intelligence and scientific community. Bull, the anti-communist, was broken by the disloyalty of the White House who had left him out in the cold. The defenders of the West against Soviet and Cuban expansion in the horn of Africa had done an about face and the communist bogie evaporated before his eyes. US/Soviet affairs were taking a new direction and Bull was expendable to Kissinger now that Israel had got what they wanted. Bull was shattered. They had used him, involved him in a dirty arms complex of their creation only in the end to destroy his dream and reputation and bankrupt his company. Bull had been held up to the world for ridicule in the name of democracy and human rights. The irony is that in their name, the CIA had asked Bull to help South Africa against Soviet and Cuban incursion in the region. His disillusionment was the result of a deep understanding than most people of what the Carter ‘human rights’ foreign policy meant for the future of democracy in America. In any case the story of the exposure of Bull’s South Africa dealings needs to be extracted from a dross of propaganda and disinformation.
When Bull came out of prison he wanted nothing to do with the United States of America administration; he saw them for what they were, traitorous. He vowed never to set foot US soil again and never to deal with them again. His company, SRC, was almost bankrupt. He moved to Europe and set up SRC Brussels. A ballistic wizard cannot be kept down; before long companies in Austria, Belgium, Britain and South Africa purchased the licence for his base-bleed, smoothbore technology and he made millions again. He started business with Iraq in 1981 and just after that Israel bombed the Iraqi nuclear facility. He cooled down; next the Chinese invited him to China. He went, developed a variety of assets in the Chinese war machine and he improved vastly their artillery. Bull made his millions but his dream was again laid to rest. He tried to sell the S1000 dream gun to the Israelis in 1983 but they were not interested and refused it; they said that it was out dated and not workable and they no longer wanted his technology. The British did not think that the gun would work either and the missile rocket complex in the US continued to discourage the development of smooth-bore technology preferring to sell their expensive technology to client states. Bull was back in Iraq for the duration of the 80s. He was on his own having abandoned every one. He began to feel restless and tired of this continuous slave labour routine. He knew it all and understood that nothing in this world makes sense. He decided to build his gun - a gun to put missiles on the moon. The cost of building such a gun would be in the $10 to $20 millions and it is foreseeable that he would have problems placing it anywhere in the world. He needed a country to finance and fulfil the facilities to build it. The only taker was Iraq. In 1988 Iraq asked him to design his supergun and he took the opportunity.
The project was going very fast and successful; his supergun was prominently featured in a Baghdad arms fair and two weeks later Iraq announced the test firing of the prototype, the Baby Babylon gun. They said that it was a test programmed for putting satellites in orbit, however, with a firing position of forty-five degreesand without the tracking and guiding system necessary for observing the exact telemetry of the shell it was clear that the gun was an artillery piece. The range was reputedly in excess of 1000 kilometres making it the longest firing gun in the world. It was the final milestone in Bull’s career.
In the movie Doomsday Gun an Israeli colonel in the Mossad threatens Bull and tells him that he cannot make a gun for Saddam to shoot missiles into Israel. Bull tells him that that is Saddam and his (Israel’s) problem. Also the CIA man who tracks him tells him that Saddam is a murderer and Bull asked him: “which country is not. It is all politics.” He says. “Today they sell the Iranians; tomorrow they sell the Iraqis; today they hate the Iranians tomorrow the Iraqis. Their enemy becomes their friend. It is all politics, big business and power what they made for themselves was their own concern.” And no matter the threat from Israel on his life Bull said that he was going to build his gun.
The movie does not clearly indicate or show clearly that Bull knew and understood that the NSC, the CIA, the MI5 had no objections to his dealing with Iraq. As it turned out the US government through its Ministry of Agriculture were financing his project as the films reveals through accounts on Iraqi banks in Atlanta Georgia.
Frank Langella played a good Bull. Bull was shorter, balder and wore his hair longer from a side part in his sideburn and pulled the hair over to hide the baldness, which was a particular problem in the wind. He was more informal with his Canadian accent than Langella and Bull was more of a clown and practical joker, who ate onion sandwiches and played absolutely low-key.
“There is nothing sinister about the movie, the mob - the CIA, the Mossad, the NSA - everyone cooperated; they blabbered insulted, intellectualised and cooperated and spoke to each best interest. The movie moves along at a leisurely pace and except for the dialogue one picture of Bull is of him sitting on top of the world, careless like lotus-eaters of Tennyson poem of mankind. Timmerman tries to capture the glee that Bull must have felt on December 05th 1989 at an Arab Space Research Centre when he watched the 2,000 mile range Al-Ahid missile disappear into the upper atmosphere to the shouts of “Allah Akbar” - God is Great - in its first successful launch. There are few who have the sense of power and Timmerman argues that its misuse is the greatest of evils. There is a sense of intelligibility that puts Bull and men like Brazilian Brigadier Hugo de Olivier Pina, who at sixty year of age was at the head of the Iraq Strategic missile programme. Timmerman is at a lost to understand how Pina can say on Brazilian television “my conscience is at peace.” This lack of understanding is, a conspiracy of silence about who killed Gerald Bull. The only escape from material life where the devil is king is death; all must die in order for life to begin again. Death then is the sign of creativity.”