Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Pantex nuke leak?

Pantex Radiation Safety Technicians found Alpha contamination while conducting contamination surveys on legacy components. The technicians confirmed the contents of the bag, properly packaged and labeled the component, and set it aside for further disposition.

As a precaution whole body surveys were performed on the Radiation Safety Technicians who performed the work. The results of the whole body surveys indicated background levels only. Analysis of nasal smears provided by the Radiation Safety Technicians indicated negative results. An area contamination survey of the work area was also conducted that indicated background levels.


Dems Want Nukes Gone

By Dan McKay
Copyright © 2010 Albuquerque Journal
Journal Staff Writer
Albuquerque city councilors found time this week to discuss more than just the usual array of zoning regulations, budget matters and road projects.
Monday's meeting took a turn for the global when the council took up whether to ask the federal government to remove and dismantle nuclear weapons stored at Kirtland Air Force Base. The resolution was rejected on a 5-4 vote along partisan lines.
The U.S. Department of Defense won't confirm or deny that nuclear weapons are at Kirtland or any other particular location, but it's widely believed that Kirtland maintains an estimated 2,000 nuclear warheads at an underground weapons storage complex.
New Mexico also is home to two national laboratories that do nuclear weapons work.
Councilor Rey Garduño sponsored the measure and said that while the city can't force the Air Force to do anything, seeking removal of the weapons is worthwhile.
"I hope (the munitions) will never explode or have anything disastrous happen," he said, "but I don't understand why people are so reluctant to discuss the issue and deal with it. We need to. It's a public safety issue, the dismantlement and disarming of those nuclear weapons."
Others weren't convinced.
"I don't believe it's within the City Council's purview to give direction to the federal government," said Trudy Jones, vice president of the council. "We are not the elected body to do that."
Garduño's resolution called on the U.S. House and Senate to seek funding to expand the capacity of the Pantex Plant in West Texas and accelerate the dismantlement of nuclear weapons. It further called on Congress to "take action to have the nuclear weapons at Kirtland removed and dismantled at the earliest possible time for the safety and welfare of the people of Albuquerque and the region."
Garduño said the request simply matches what the United States already agreed to in the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which calls for, among other things, negotiations toward the eventual disarmament of nuclear weapons.
Garduño said Albuquerque's emergency teams aren't prepared "to handle a mass evacuation" if one is ever needed. Accidents can happen, he said, and the military is not infallible.
He added that seeking funding for nuclear disarmament isn't much different from tapping federal funds for local road projects.
Jones, meanwhile, said the public already has elected federal representatives who can push for policy changes, if that's what constituents want.
In any case, she said, "I believe that nuclear weapons have had, and probably do still have, a place in the defense of our country," she said.
Voting against the resolution were five Republicans: Jones, Dan Lewis, Michael Cook, Brad Winter and Don Harris. In support were the council's four Democrats: Garduño, Isaac Benton, Debbie O'Malley and Ken Sanchez.

Extremist websites skyrocketing, says Interpol

Interpol says it has a register of almost 10,000 wanted or suspected terrorists
The sharp growth in extremist websites is making recruitment much easier for al-Qaeda, according to Interpol head Ronald Noble.

"The threat is global, it is virtual and it is on our doorsteps," he said.

Mr Noble told a conference of police chiefs in Paris there were 12 sites in 1998 and 4,500 by 2006.

He said tackling radicalisation had been made far harder by the internet because many of the activities involved were not criminal.

"As soon as you knock out one, another pops up. It's like playing 'whack-a-mole'” says Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation

Increasingly, he said, the individuals targeted were young and vulnerable and from middle-class backgrounds.

A researcher at the London-based International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation told the BBC that the number of radical websites was now far higher than the figure given by Interpol.

"It's well into the thousands in English alone," said Alexander Meleagrou-Hitchens.

He added that governments had found the increase in radical websites impossible to stop.

Last week, the head of British security service MI5, Jonathan Evans, expressed concern about the influence of Yemen-based radical Muslim cleric, Anwar al-Awlaki, whose sermons feature in more than 5,000 videos on YouTube.

Mr Awlaki has been linked to the deaths of 13 people at Fort Hood military base in the United States in November 2009 and the attempted bombing of a passenger jet as it flew to Detroit the following month.

Book reveals inner-workings of MI6

A book detailing the first 40 years of the UK's foreign intelligence service has been published.

Author Professor Keith Jeffery was given access to the archives at MI6, which has the official title of the Secret Intelligence Service.

Prof Jeffery said that in researching MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 he was allowed to view all files.

He said his only restriction was not to name some traitorous agents.

Among the controversial files he was able to study was an account of MI6 agents sabotaging ships due to carry Jewish refuges to the then British Mandate of Palestine, immediately following the end of World War II.

'Holy grail'
Prof Jeffery, from Queen's University in Belfast, said his research uncovered MI6 failures as well as successes.

He added: "[MI6] had a really bad start to the war but then so did every other part of the British machine, except perhaps the air force.

Professor Keith Jeffery: 'It's the Holy Grail of British archives'
"But, like the rest of the British war effort, it builds on its successes throughout occupied Europe and across the world where German intelligence was ruled up by MI6 successes."

Prof Jeffery - the first historian to be allowed access to the archive - told BBC security correspondent Gordon Corera it was a fascinating experience to examine the accounts of the real people involved with MI6.

He said: "This archive is the holy grail of British archives - it is closed tight to everyone, so when I got in there, I was like a child in a sweet shop.

"It was a cornucopia, an extraordinary Aladdin's cave of historical materials.

"It's very patchy - quite a lot of stuff has been destroyed over the years. It hasn't all survived but there are enough files there to tell the stories of the real people at the real sharp end doing real brave stuff.

"The reality is actually more difficult than the fiction. Because you're dealing with real people, you realise that they have their weaknesses and their strengths."

[I] was like a child in a sweet shop, a cornucopia. [It was] an extraordinary Aladdin's cave of historical materials”

The book tells the story of one of MI6's more controversial operations - the aptly titled Operation Embarrass, which agents launched just after World War II.

MI6 aimed to blow up ships in port preparing to take Jewish refugees to Palestine. At the time, Britain was still ruling Palestine and politicians ordered the service to stop the flow of refugees.

Prof Jeffery also unearthed the case of an agent code named TR16 who worked for the secret service during World War I and provided naval intelligence from within Germany.

Prof Jeffery said: "[TR16] runs right through to the eve of the Second World War - he's over 60, he's running out of steam and he wants to retire.

"The signals tell us that he suddenly doesn't turn up for meeting. It doesn't tell us what happens to him.

"All we've got is a 'presumed dead' in a file and that's an extraordinary moment when you hit a file like that."

He said he could not give the real names of the agents involved, because they had agreed to do their jobs in the knowledge their names would never be revealed.

"When I started, I wanted to tell everything. I'm a historian and my job is to reveal secrets. [MI6's] job is keeping secrets, so there is always going to be a tension," he said.

The book reveals the various gadgets used by spies
Prof Jeffery said he was thankful he had to stop his research in 1949, just as the Cold War was beginning, and MI6's greatest traitor, Kim Philby, was rising through the organisation's ranks.

"I fell down on my knees and thanked the Lord I was stopping at 1949. [The book is] 800 pages long and packing in even that period in is enough. There's still a lot of it skimmed over and we're summarising a lot.

"Yes, there's lots more exciting stuff to be done in the future but that's for my successor - if there is one."

Intelligence analyst Glenmore Trenear-Harvey praised Prof Jeffery's efforts but questioned why the account had to stop in 1949.

He told the BBC: "It is a masterly work. Full congratulations to him for covering the period that he did, but it is like hearing about my grandparents when I want to hear about the scandalous things within my recent family. That is missing."

"Even in the National Archive we can access more recent and up to date information. It is out there. This book is long overdue, but it is 50 years out of date."

Last year saw the publication of the first authorised history of MI5 - the secret service division that focuses on gathering intelligence in the UK.

The Defence of the Realm: The Spooks and the Politicians by historian Christopher Andrew also used the organisation's own secret records to tell its story from 1909 to the present day.

Revelations included the fact that MI5 infiltrated the Communist Party of Great Britain in the 1950s, using hidden microphones and covert methods to gain membership records; a number of union leaders and MPs worked for Soviet bloc intelligence agencies; and British politicians urged MI5 to spy on industrial and political opponents on many occasions.

MI6: The History of the Secret Intelligence Service 1909-1949 is published on Tuesday.

Fort Bliss shooter was retired Army sergeant

A retired Army sergeant is responsible for shooting two convenience store employees, killing one, Monday on the Fort Bliss military base in Texas, the FBI said Tuesday.

The man, identified as 63 year old Steven Kropf, of El Paso, Texas, was shot and killed by law enforcement on the base.

"It is not known whether the shooter had any relationship with either of his victims. The motive for the shooting is still under investigation. It has been determined this was an isolated criminal incident and not terrorism related," the FBI said in a statement released Tuesday.

The two female victims were brought to Beaumont Army Medical Center, where one was pronounced dead at the scene. She was identified as Bettina Maria Goins, 44, of El Paso, Texas. The identity of the surviving victim will not be released due to privacy concerns, the FBI said

Ahmedinejad warns U.S of "war without boundaries"

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad warned the Obama administration today that if Iran's nuclear facilities are attacked, the U.S. will face a war that "would know no boundaries."

The Iranian president, who is in New York for the annual meetings of the United Nations General Assembly, spoke at a breakfast meeting with reporters and editors at Manhattan's Warwick Hotel.

He said that Iran is on the brink of becoming a nuclear power, and warned Israel and the U.S. against attacking its nuclear facilities.

Asked about the possibility of a U.S.-supported Israeli air strike against Iran, the fiery Iranian leader said an attack would be considered an act of war, and suggested the U.S. is unprepared for the consequences. Such a war "would know no boundaries," Ahmedinejad said. "War is not just bombs."


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