Monday, January 23, 2006

Atack on Iran

Iran attack likely before April
U.S., Israel to destroy nuclear facilities by end of March

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G2 Headlines

© 2005 G2 Bulletin
Publishing date: 22.01.2006 22:42

U.S. and Israeli military and intelligence sources say a strike against Iran is nearly inevitable before April. The incapacitation of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has made a pre-emptive attack on Iran more likely in the next nine weeks, say Israeli sources.

It was Sharon who vetoed the nearly unanimous recommendations of Israel’s generals that a quick strike was the Jewish state’s only chance at preventing Iran from building a significant nuclear arsenal. Meanwhile, in Washington, there is growing concern that Iran’s ultimate target is the U.S. Earlier this month, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards conducted a conference on the use of weapons of mass destruction – nuclear, chemical and biological. Included in those briefings were presentations on electromagnetic pulse weapons and other military technologies deemed to be under development for use against the U.S., rather than Israel or other enemies of the Islamic republic.

Even one nuclear weapon, used in an EMP-style attack on the U.S., would prove catastrophic to the nation, a congressional panel studying the vulnerability of America to electro-magnetic pulse weapons concluded last year. Such an attack would not require Iran to use long-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles, which it does not possess. But a simple Scud missile, with a nuclear warhead, could be fired from offshore and detonated above the U.S. wreaking near total devastation on the country’s technological, electrical and transportation infrastructure.

It would also have the advantage of offering Iran a degree of plausible deniability, given that “terrorists” armed with one nuclear weapon could achieve the same results. In addition, intelligence sources say three battalions of Revolutionary Guards began exercises on the use of weapons of mass destruction near Iran’s ballistic missile testing grounds. But the reason for the planned attacks in the next nine weeks has more to do with conventional military concerns than with the unconventional weapons Iran is developing.

Russia is closing in on another arms deal with Iran that would provide Tehran with upgraded fighters that could present major problems for an Israeli air force action. Russia has already concluded a $1 billion deal to sell Iran S-300 anti-missile systems, considered among the world’s best. The preparations for the attack have been long in the planning stages by both Israel and the U.S. Early last year, the U.S. announced the sale of 500 conventional bunker-buster bombs to Israel.

There is virtually no other use for these weapons except an attack against the dozens of Iranian sites that would have to be taken out to destroy Iran’s nuclear ambitions. There has even been discussion in the Pentagon about the use of tactical nuclear weapons in such an attack. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent bellicose statements about destroying Israel and the U.S. have also contributed to the sense of urgency.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dates For Terror

Likely dates for terror
Clues suggest pattern to al-Qaida attacks

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G2 Headlines

© 2005 G2 Bulletin
Publishing date: 19.01.2006 21:50
There’s chatter, again, in the terror world. All kinds of clues suggest al-Qaida is about to strike at the West – probably in the U.S.

Ayman al-Zawahiri: Significance to release dates of videos? Some intelligence source point to specific dates as likely targets. And then there are the patterns of previous attacks to evaluate.

Some intelligence analysts are noting the significance of the release of videos recently by both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri. Zawahiri released his last video Jan. 6, making Feb. 5 the most likely target date, according to past attacks. But then what is the significance of Bin Laden’s video?

Some analysts suggest it might be the precursor to a mega-attack – something even rivaling Sept. 11 in scope and devastation. But there does seem to be an unmistakable pattern involved in the release of videos and al-Qaida attacks. Zawahiri, bin Laden’s right-hand man, who narrowly escaped death in the Pakistani missile attack several days ago, seems to release videos in pairs.

After the release of the second video, within 30 days a major event occurs. For instance: * release dates of Sept 9 and Nov. 9, 2004, were the first set of videos, followed by the Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, bombings Dec. 6. * release dates of Feb. 20 and June 26, 2005, were followed by the July 7, 2005, London bombings.

* release dates of Aug. 4 and Sept 1, 2005, were followed by the Bali bombings Oct. 1, 2005. The next set started Oct. 23, 2005, and last week on Jan. 6, the second video followed. That, suggests some analysts, makes Feb. 5 a likely target date. Interestingly, it is also a significant date to bin Laden. Feb. 5, 1989, was the day the last Soviet troops withdrew from Kabul, Afghanistan, signaling their defeat at the hand of the mujahedeen.

Kabul was the capital of Osama's adopted country and was a major win for him and Islam. Significantly, perhaps, in bin Laden’s audio release he referenced the U.S withdrawing from Iraq and Afghanistan. It also happens to be Super Bowl Sunday, when the eyes of the entire world will be watching America. Unrelated to the pattern, but also mentioned by G2B sources as a date to watch is this Monday – Jan. 23. This is a date reportedly heard in terrorist “chatter” recently.

No other information is available as to its significance or potential targets.

Sunday, January 15, 2006



Ariel Sharon

Corpse Prime Minister

By Shmuel Neumann January 13, 2006

Corpse Bride -- an animated farcical horror flick in which a dead woman believes that a live man has asked for her hand in marriage, and then responds accordingly -- illustrates humorously what can happen when people get what they wish for, or perhaps what they deserve. Something similar is happening, tragicomically, in Israel.

With his two sons on their way to jail despite his concessions, and likely facing jail time himself when the truth was fully revealed, the latest evidence of his corruption caused our Prime Minister to explode in rage. Or at least his brain did. He was first reported brain dead and then placed on life support, so that, medically speaking, he is only clinically dead: serious but stable. Yet now, we are told, his limbs twitch in response to pain and his blood pressure increases when addressed by his beloved sons.

In fact, our larger than life Prime Minister has the best of both worlds. His Corpulence continues, from his hospital bed, to dominate the media and command the government even though he ceases to exist in the manner of homo sapiens, lacking human consciousness. He is dead, for all practical purposes; he just doesn't know it. One Prime Minister was assassinated by his secret service, and now another Prime Minister is probably medically assassinated or at least manslaughtered by his own doctors.

Yet our fearless brain dead leader refuses to give up the ghost. While his body is kept alive artificially, and a quarter of his skull is sawed-off and frozen for safekeeping, he is for all practical purposes dead but not buried -- for political reasons. He is Corpse Prime Minister, whose intentions -- or what are ascribed to be his intentions -- are perpetuated indefinitely and incontrovertibly by the very same folks who worked him, and then medicated him, to sort-of-death.

This pliable and very popular sort-of-dead Prime Minister is the answer to everyone's dream, especially those who pressured him to give up Gaza and northern Samaria under threat of jailing his two sons. He gave them what he thought they wanted. But it turns out they wanted more: for starters, the whole of Judea and Samaria and at least half of Jerusalem. Corpse Prime Minister, under a shroud of secrecy, is actively campaigning and has garnered the number one slot of the Kadima party although he did not sign the papers before he was unable to.

Such technicalities pose no deterrent to the mighty Corpse Prime Minister. Corpse Prime Minister has already reversed himself on the issue of Palestinian elections in Jerusalem. He now not only allows it, but will permit Hamas to campaign in Jerusalem. Corpse Prime Minister expects to close a deal with the elected Palestinian officials right after the January elections. It makes no difference if Hamas wins. You make Peace with your enemies.

By switching hats they remain enemies and continue to get ?painful concessions? as all previous agreements were dead ends. But the Corpse Prime Minister feels no pain, except from pinch tests and the sound of his sons' voices. Corpse Prime Minister had a brainstorm and now recognizes that 2,000 Iraqi shells laden with Anthrax and Sarin stored in underground facilities in the Lebanon's Beka Valley give Israel no choice but to surrender first Sheba Farms, then the rest of the Golan and perhaps part of the Galilee.

No plots are needed for a Corpse living artificially and agelessly. No land is needed in a missile age. Corpse Prime Minister has also reversed himself on further unilateral disengagements. He ordered the destruction of a neighborhood in Hebron, and neighborhoods of Ofra, Yitzhar, Bracha, Elon Moreh and Nevei Daniel. Corpse Prime Minister is dead set against Jews who want to live on land legally purchased. In his haste to escalate the disengagement from Judea, so he ordered his private police corps to smash the skulls of Jewish youth who dare demonstrate against this insanity and resist further expulsions.

After all, why should he be alone in suffering a coma? Corpse Prime Minister has gotten tough on settlers who obstruct demolition of Jewish homes, ordering the use of tear gas and pepper gas on Jewish youth. And we thought only Germans were authorized to gas Jews! Anaesthesia is in these days, even if euthanasia is out. Feeling sympathy for fellow vegetation, Corpse Prime Minister has gotten tough only on alleged tree abusers.

And to punish those who may some day potentially abuse a tree, Corpse Prime Minister ordered all the dogs removed from the Kfar Tapuach kennel. Corpse Prime Minister may finally put a stop to those whining homeless Jews he threw out of Gaza and Northern Samaria. Sure they're homeless, but at least they're not in as bad a shape as he is. Corpse Prime Minister can finally lead by example. From now on, every victim of a terror attack will be brought to the decomposing dictator and feel grateful to be alive no matter how disfigured, maimed and disabled.

And even the clinically dead and dismembered may be restored to glorious life on machines. Corpse Prime Minister has nothing to lose, so next time there is a war, it will be a fight to the death. He reportedly blood-pressured his aides the following message: "Any further negotiations will be over my dead body." To motivate his new following of young people, and new political allies, he is reportedly twitching to establish a Peace Corpse. As for the slogans being considered for his new political party, Kadima [Hebrew for "Forward"], the favorite is "Look Forward to Death."

With renewed esprit de corpse, lightweights and deadweights from every other political party are rushing in. Everybody is dying to join. Why live on as a nation when, under his leadership, we can join Corpse Prime Minister in a victory celebration? So ... Kadima! In light of the circumstances, some of his chevra have even suggested renaming his party: Kadisha. But in the spirit of Corpse Bride, perhaps let us call it:

The Till Death Do Us Party. L'chaim!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Israel - Iran attack coming

Israel's warning to Iran
Jewish state adds stick to carrot policy

Top level

G2 Headlines

© 2005 G2 Bulletin
Publishing date: 12.01.2006 18:29

The sudden illness of Ariel Sharon, Israel’s prime minister and top defense strategist, cast a dark shadow on many critical matters on the Israeli political agenda. The acute Iran dilemma, and Tehran’s statements indicating the Islamic Republic is planning to go ahead with its military-grade nuclear development, is by far the most serious. As more rhetoric from Iran is flooding world media, it is evident the European Union group of Britain, Germany and France, have failed in its diplomatic efforts to reason with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and have decided to refer the problem to the U.N. Security Council.

This move is supported by the U.S. administration, but not by Russia and China who both might veto an anti-Iran resolution. The consultations between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Russia’s Vladimir Putin are obviously also on hold. The political and diplomatic activity over Iran’s nuclear plans could easily be bogged down in U.N. bureaucratic red tape. The U.N.’s endemic inefficiency, whether unintentional or deliberate, does not mean, however, the Israeli military will also put on hold its plans to solve the issue should all other efforts fail.

Last week in Tel Aviv analysts mentioned a statement made by the outgoing military Chief of Intelligence General Aharon Zeevi-Farkash, who said March 1 could be the time limit for diplomatic means to deter Iran’s plans. What Zeevi actually conveyed was an implied warning to Iran that playing around with fire after March 2006 might result in severe consequences. Sources in Tel Aviv and in several European capitals, say Zeevi’s remarks were based on a military planned timetable toward a possible D-Day to take the Iranian military nuclear plant out of the strategic threat.

Gen. Dan Halutz General Dan Halutz, Israel’s chief of staff and former air force commander, intentionally selected to be the first chief of staff to come from the air force, last week said there are several military means to deal with the problem. Although his statement was somewhat vague, especially against the background drama surrounding Sharon’s illness, those who know Halutz, and more specifically those who are acquainted with the Israeli air force, know that he is a of verbal restraint.

He would not have made this statement without being sure the Israeli military machine would be as effective against the Iranian project as it was in 1981 against the Iraqi Ossiraq nuclear site. In addition to the general’s statements, analysts, aware of the psychological warfare part of Israel’s military statements, pointed to the surprising disclosure of an exclusive Israeli air force unit called “the anti-aircraft imaging unit.” The Israel Air Force magazine re-published a story in December 2005 under the title: “Know Thy Enemy.” It deals specifically with the anti-aircraft missile threat, which could be the major obstacle in taking out the Iranian system.

The special unit’s existence was until recently classified as top secret. But not any more. Since 1996, the air force and the Rafael Weapons Development Authority have been jointly operating a unit of Soviet anti-aircraft systems similar to those in service in the Middle East.” The unit, based on thorough knowledge of Russian-made systems, is instrumental in the training of Israeli air force fighter pilots on how to survive anti-aircraft and radar threats, sometimes thousands of kilometers away from base.

The unit also operates weapon systems captured from Arab armies, undisclosed purchased equipment and secret computer developments of systems identical to anti-aircraft systems presently used by Iran, and even systems directly ordered by Iran from the Russians to protect their nuclear assets. The unit’s commanding officer described it as “the best playground where our pilots learn to deal with the real stuff.”

Among others the unit operates Russian-made SA-6, SA-8, SA-2 and SA-3, full missile systems, radar-guided ZSU-23 anti-aircraft guns and simulators, including some purchased from General Dynamics who built the a simulator for the U.S. Air Force which is trying to tackle the same problem. The officer heading the imaging unit said significant emphasis is given to Russian, Chinese and North Korean-manufactured radar systems. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the anti-aircraft imaging unit became more prominent when Eastern Bloc systems were more accessible.

“We constantly update all new threats our pilots may have to deal with and when we learn of a new threat we find ways to bring the (foreign) know-how to us.” An interesting statement dealt with the fact former Soviet or Russian anti-aircraft officers who had immigrated to Israel. Some were attached to the unit such as the former commander of a Soviet an anti-aircraft missile battery, who was also an engineer in a development team of sophisticated Russian radar.

The air force also chose to reveal details of its cooperation with the Turkish air force including the deployment of Israeli fighter jets in Turkey and Turkish squadrons in Israel as part of a joint training program. Even Greece, which for years rejected any cooperation with Israel, recently announced its air force is also fully cooperating with the Israeli air force. This cooperation with regional air forces, especially with Turkey, which borders Iran in the east, is highly significant when mentioned in uncensored air force publications.

The Israeli air force’s capability in the past to destroy the Iraqi nuclear reactor, to take out the entire Syrian anti-aircraft system in Lebanon and to successfully attack PLO headquarters in far away Tunisia, should serve as a clear message to Iran there is a vast difference between rhetoric and reality and that if push comes to shove Iran will pay dearly for her controversial nuclear ambitions.

G2B contributor Yoram East

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Arik Sharon

Report: Doctor says PM's brain disease hidden for political reasons

By Tamara Traubman and
Ran Reznick,
Haaretz Correspondents

A member of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's medical team said that the information about the brain disease diagnosed after his first stroke on December 18 had been concealed out of "political reasons," Channel 10 television reported Wednesday. The controversy surrounding Sharon's medical treatment has continued unabated, with his doctors coming under further criticism for concealing the diagnosis of cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA).Senior executives at Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, where Sharon was first treated in December and again since last Wednesday when he had the second, far more severe stroke, admitted this week that the hospital's doctors had decided to give the pime minister blood thinners despite the diagnosis of CAA.

The physicians had promised "full disclosure of [Sharon's] condition in the wake of his hospitalization" in December. The doctor said there was the fear that if made public, the information would be used against Sharon and his Kadima party, particularly in light of the fact that CAA has often been associated in medical literature with [Alzheimer's Disease].Sharon was in critical but stable condition Thursday morning, a statement from Hadassah said. "The prime minister's condition remains critical but stable," said the statement.

"His heart rhythm is regular. In the evening he will undergo a routine CT scan." Surgeons tending to Sharon were expected to decide on when to stop the intravenous drip completely at a daily consultation scheduled for 7 A.M., medical sources said Thursday."The prime minister's treatment is constantly being reviewed, but the decision to end sedation outright requires a major deliberation," said a source.As published in Haaretz previously, senior physicians say anticoagulants such as the Clexane given to Sharon significantly increase the risk of stroke in people with CAA.Sharon's physicians, Prof. Boleslav Goldman and Dr. Shlomo Segev, as well as Hadassah officials, did not comment Wednesday.

condition of Sharon, who has been hospitalized since last Wednesday night with his second stroke in less than a month, did not change significantly Wednesday. Sharon is still in serious but stable condition and his life is still in danger.Doctors at Hadassah University Hospital were lowering Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's sedation to a "minimal" level Wednesday night, in a further effort to awaken him gradually from the coma in which he has lain since his massive stroke and brain hemorrhage seven days ago.

The hospital has been gradually reducing Sharon's sedation since Monday. According to officials from Hadassah University Hospital, Ein Karem, "An additional slight improvement" in his condition was recorded. A hospital official told Haaretz on Wednesday that once again, Sharon's movements in response to pain stimuli were "greater." Also, Sharon's blood pressure was found to rise when his son spoke to him, one of his attending physicians, Dr. Felix Umanski, said late on Wednesday.Dr. Yair Birenbaum, a senior Hadassah official, told Razi Barkai of Army Radio Wednesday that the decision by Hadassah physicians to give Sharon anticlotting drugs despite the vascular disease was not, "in my humble opinion, an error in judgment.

The consultation about the prime minister was attended by a range of doctors with various specialties," and that Sharon's vascular disease was "one more variable that had to be calculated within a range of variables."Dr. Birenbaum also noted that the physicians at Hadassah considered the variety of blood-thinning drugs available and "considered various options and decided what was decided by a general consensus of the caregivers."In response to the call, which appeared in Haaretz Wednesday, by a doctor who is a department head at a major Israeli hospital, for a state commission of inquiry into Sharon's treatment, Birenbaum said there is no need for that.

However, he added that "there is plenty of time for examination committees and snoopers" and promised that if an investigative body is established "everything will be laid out" before it.A senior neurologist at a government hospital in the center of the country told Haaretz Wednesday that "it is known the treatments in modern medicine are always involved in an attempt to find a balance between risks and rewards, but in this case it is really impossible to understand the doctors' decision regarding the use of blood thinners.

"According to the medical literature, after the first stroke it seems as if the need to use anticoagulants was not very great, after the small hole in the heart was discovered. Therefore, the question becomes even more pressing."

Monday, January 02, 2006

The Hunt For Nukes

The hunt for nukes
Radiation detection efforts widespread in U.S., Canada

Top level

G2 Headlines

© 2005 G2 Bulletin

Publishing date: 02.01.2006 04:59

WASHINGTON – When U.S. News broke a story the day before Christmas about radiation detection efforts taking place in the capital of the United States, most of the attention such a startling development might have received was diverted by the timing and the emphasis on whether such monitoring might in some way violate civil rights. But the real story is that a massive government operation is under way to find terrorist nuclear weapons within North America in an effort to thwart a decade-long plot by al-Qaida to kill millions of Americans – the so-called “American Hiroshima” plan.

G2B first reported on al-Qaida's plans to detonate nuclear devices in seven to nine major U.S. cities simultaneously. The most interesting development is that the U.S. government has been monitoring radiation levels at more than 100 mosques, homes, businesses and other sites in and around the nation's capital and at least five other cities since Sept. 11, 2001, providing further evidence law enforcement officials suspect terrorists have secreted nuclear or radiological weapons inside the country.

The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team, or NEST, according to the report. The other cities monitored include Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle. As G2B reported, former FBI consultant Paul L. Williams has described how al-Qaida has already purchased some post-Soviet mini-nukes and hired Russians to help them operate them. Al-Qaida's prime targets for launching nuclear terrorist attacks are the nine U.S. cities with the highest Jewish populations, according to captured leaders and documents.

As reported in G2B, Osama bin Laden is planning what he calls an "American Hiroshima," the ultimate terrorist attack on U.S. cities, using nuclear weapons already smuggled into the country across the Mexican border along with thousands of sleeper agents. The series of attacks is designed to kill 4 million, destroy the economy and fundamentally alter the course of history. At least two fully assembled and operational nuclear weapons are believed to be hidden in the United States already, according to G2B intelligence sources and "The al-Qaida Connection:

International Terrorism, Organized Crime and the Coming Apocalypse," a book by Williams. The captured terrorists and documents also suggest smaller attacks may take place on American soil before the nuclear incidents. They may include some involving automatic weapons at schools and shopping malls, but will not include any airplane hijackings.

Why? Because bin Laden does not want any failed efforts to overshadow "the success of Sept. 11." There will also not be any attacks on U.S. nuclear power plants. The rationale? The nuclear power plants can act as force multipliers when the weapons of mass destruction are detonated. Another requirement dictated from the top at al-Qaida is that the attacks take place in daylight, so that the whole world will be able to see the images of a mushroom cloud over an American city. One of the sources for the information is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the chief planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, who is now in U.S. custody.

As previously reported by G2B, al-Qaida has obtained at least 40 nuclear weapons from the former Soviet Union – including suitcase nukes, nuclear mines, artillery shells and even some missile warheads. In addition, documents captured in Afghanistan show al-Qaida had plans to assemble its own nuclear weapons with fissile material it purchased on the black market. The plans for the devastating nuclear attack on the U.S. have been under development for more than a decade. It is designed as a final deadly blow to the U.S., which is seen by al-Qaida and its allies as "the Great Satan." At least half the nuclear weapons in the al-Qaida arsenal were obtained for cash from the Chechen terrorist allies.

But when the latest disclosures about nuclear radiation detection efforts under way in Washington to thwart an “American Hiroshima” plot were disclosed, it was the U.S. government’s defensive measures that got most of the scrutiny. Warning that constitutional rights were under threat, the Council on American-Islamic Relations condemned the monitoring of mosques in the nation’s capital without court approval as illegal and discriminatory. "All Americans should be concerned about the apparent trend toward a two-tiered system of justice, with full rights for most citizens, and another diminished set of rights for Muslims," the council said in a statement.

Somehow, radiation monitoring to prevent a nuclear disaster in the nation’s capital was being equated with eavesdropping and monitoring of communications.

But radiation detection efforts are spreading throughout the U.S. and Canada. The New York City health department announced just after Christmas it plans to spend nearly $1.4 million equipping hospitals with radiation detection devices that might become essential if terrorists detonated a "dirty bomb." The equipment, largely paid for with federal grants, could help medical centers diagnose the thousands of people who likely would flood hospitals after such a blast, the department said. "In the event of an incident in New York City involving radioactive contamination, hospitals will be on the front lines of receiving potentially contaminated persons with and without injuries," the department said in a statement.

The devices would go to public and private hospitals, whose staff members would be trained how to recognize and treat radiation injuries, and how to protect and decontaminate themselves while dealing with patients who may have been exposed. The program, to be implemented in the coming months, is part of a nationwide effort to prepare for possible attacks with nuclear material. Unlike nuclear weapons, which create huge fireballs fed by nuclear chain reactions, dirty bombs would use conventional explosives to scatter radioactive material. That type of blast would not be particularly powerful and would be unlikely to cause many deaths, experts say, but the fear of contamination could spark panic.

Land and buildings hit with radioactive particles might be unusable for years. Tens of thousands of people likely would besiege hospitals, wondering whether they had been contaminated by radiological material. Earlier this year, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases issued more than $47 million for grants and contracts aimed at making it easier to diagnose and quickly treat dirty-bomb attack victims. As part of that program, Columbia University is leading a consortium of researchers developing new technologies that would allow doctors to rapidly screen large numbers of people for radiation exposure.

Those who tested positive could then get quicker treatment. Meanwhile, some officials are suggesting that not enough Homeland Security grants are being used for this front-line of defense. While the U.S. government has launched an investigation into a New York port-security program under fire for awarding grants to dinner-cruise lines and small ferryboats, a state official who heads New York’s homeland security effort said he wants to see more resources go to radiation detection. "If you're going to take money and give it to cruise lines, then you're not going to be investing in these kinds of technologies, and they need to be," said state Sen. Michael Balboni.

At the same time, a report issued by House Homeland Security Democrats concluded that only two of the nation's seaports currently have the ability to screen all incoming cargo for nuclear material. Every port could begin nuclear screening for $280 million, but the administration hasn't requested the money and Congress hasn't provided it, they said. Also last month, Canadian officials announced they have installed the nation’s first radiation detector at the port of Saint John in New Brunswick in a bid to protect the country against nuclear terrorism.

All major Canadian ports will soon be equipped with the anti-terrorism technology. The radiation detection program is a key part of Ottawa's $172 million plan to beef up marine security -- all stemming from the terrorist attacks in the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. The devices, which have been in use for two weeks in Saint John, detect radiation inside containers. The detector is located on two large concrete columns. The containers are driven through the scanning portal after they have been loaded on trucks.

Earlier last month, the U.S. State Department acknowledged that efforts to stop nuclear terrorism through international non-proliferation policies had failed and that the time is right for greater emphasis on defensive measures such as radiation monitoring. Under Secretary of State Robert Joseph said the spread of weapons of mass destruction by rogue states and terrorists is widely recognized as the greatest security threat facing the nation.

“We have placed new emphasis on protection from, and response to, the use of these weapons against us or our friends and allies. We are building the counter-proliferation capabilities -- from missile defense to detection of chemical and biological agents in the field -- to deter, defend against, and defeat weapons of mass destruction in the hands of our enemies,” he said. “And we are acquiring the ability to contain and reduce the potentially horrific effects if these weapons are used against us, in terms of casualties and other costs, such as from biological attacks against our population centers.”

But critics say the U.S. still needs to tighten port security, particularly scrutiny of containers, which "can be filled overseas at many different locations and are transported through complex logistical networks," as the Government Accountability Office recently reported. The GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, warned that a terrorist still could use fake documents or a bogus company to hide an explosive device in a container. U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Patty Murray, D-Wash., recently called for searching a greater percentage of containers.

Collins said some of the post-9/11 improvements in port security "appear to be hollow." Container ships have been detained off New Jersey and Los Angeles after Coast Guard boarding teams detected radioactive cargo. The New Jersey vessel, whose searchers included Navy Seals, turned out to be carrying faintly radioactive clay tiles in a container below deck. The hot reading on the Los Angeles ship came from a small gauge used to test the vessel's firefighting system. Off New York in the summer of 2004, a ship carrying tons of fresh lemons was detained for a week on the basis of a tip that the lemons were biologically contaminated.

The lemons turned out to be fine, but they rotted at sea. In 2002, ABC News penetrated the port security system in Los Angeles by successfully smuggling 15 pounds of depleted uranium into the U.S. in a container, inside a lead box. The container was targeted for closer examination, but the examiners did not find the uranium and sent the container along. Federal officials say their detection system has improved since then, but critics say it is still ineffective at finding enriched uranium, which could be used to build a nuclear device.

While the U.S. is still behind in efforts to install radiation detection equipment at domestic ports, the government is active in assisting other countries with their efforts to thwart nuclear terrorist attacks. Last month, the U.S. and Israel signed an agreement to begin a joint effort to help detect the smuggling of radioactive materials. The agreement is the latest part of the U.S. National Nuclear Security Agency's Megaports Initiative which installs radiation detection equipment and trains law enforcement officials at seaports throughout the world.

It is part of the U.S.' broader Second Line of Defense Program which works with foreign partners to equip border crossings airports and seaports with the equipment.

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