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Posted: 9/26/2004 4:02:59 AM EDT
Four men are being questioned by UK police investigating a Sunday newspaper's claims that a group of businessmen were trying to buy radioactive material.
Three men were held on Friday after Met Police anti-terrorist branch officers targeted a hotel in Brent Cross, London.

The fourth was arrested later at his north London home. The arrests followed a tip-off from the News of the World.

A BBC correspondent said police had not found any radioactive or bomb-making material but that searches were ongoing.

The men have been arrested on suspicion of commissioning, preparing or instigating acts of terrorism.

BBC Home Affairs correspondent Margaret Gilmore said: "The allegation is that these men, who we understand are all businessmen, were trying to buy radioactive materials.

"The suspicion, and this is what the police are questioning them about now, is that they were trying to get hold of radioactive materials to sell them on to terrorists."

'Not highly significant'

She said although searches of houses and premises were still going on, police had not found any radioactive material or a "bomb in the making".

"They don't believe they have arrested highly significant people, on the other hand they have possibly stopped something in the making," she added.

The newspaper claimed it sent in an undercover reporter posing as a Muslim extremist following a tip-off that a Saudi sympathetic to "the Muslim cause" was willing to pay £300,000 for a kilo of powerful, radioactive red Mercury.

The chemical is said to have been developed by Russian scientists for "briefcase nuclear bombs", although scientists are divided over whether any actually exists.

According to the News of the World, meetings were held with gang members hoping to supply the radioactive material to their Middle Eastern buyer.

Police marksmen

Gary Thompson, associate editor of the News Of The World said the story followed covert investigations by its reporter Mazher Mahmood.

"He alerted police who made the arrests. We do not know what specific details there were of any targets (for bombs)," he said.

Police marksmen and surveillance teams surrounded the Holiday Inn hotel in Brent Cross on Saturday and the arrests were made.

Police have 14 days to question the suspects, who are being questioned at Paddington Green police station in central London, after which they must be charged or released.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said on Saturday: "Several addresses have been searched. Some searches continue."

MI5 were also involved in the operation, it has been revealed.

Link Posted: 9/26/2004 4:05:41 AM EDT
Red Mercury???
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 4:11:51 AM EDT

Originally Posted By IamtheNRA:
Red Mercury???

Roger that. It sounds as if the media are creating their own stories now. How pathetic.
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 9:48:06 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/26/2004 9:57:35 AM EDT by Buck_Naked]

Q. What Is Red Mercury?
From Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D

The science newsgroups have been a-buzz with tales of a 2-kiloton yield Russian red mercury fusion device, theoretically in the possession of terrorists. This, of course, begs the question: What Is Red Mercury? The answer to this question depends largely on who you ask. Is red mercury real? Absolutely, but definitions vary. If you had asked me before I did a bit of Internet research, I would have given you the standard cinnabar/vermillion answer. However, the Russium tritium fusion bomb is more interesting...

Cinnabar is naturally-occurring mercuric sulfide (HgS), while vermillion is the name given to the red pigment derived from either natural or manufactured cinnabar.

Mercury (II) Iodide
The alpha crystalline form of mercury (II) iodide is called 'red mercury', which changes to the yellow beta form at 127°C.

Any Red-Colored Mercury Compound Originating in Russia
as in the cold war definition of 'Red'. I doubt anyone is using 'red mercury' in this manner, but it's a possible interpretation.

A Ballotechnic Mercury Compound
Presumably red in color. Ballotechnics are substances which react very energetically in response to high-pressure shock compression. Google's Sci.Chem group has had a lively ongoing discussion about the possiblity of a an explosive form of mercury antimony oxide. According to some reports, red mercury is a cherry red semi-liquid which is produced by irradiating elemental mercury with mercury antimony oxide in a Russian nuclear reactor. Some people think that red mercury is so explosive that it can be used to trigger a fusion reaction in tritium or deuterium-tritium mixture. Pure fusion devices don't require fissionable material, so it's easier to get the materials needed to make one and easier to transport said materials from one place to another. Other reports refer to a documentary in which is was possible to read a report on Hg2Sb207, in which the compound had a density of 20.20 Kg/dm3 (!). Personally, I find it plausible that mercury antimony oxide, as a low density (nonradioactive?) powder, may be of interest as a ballotechnic material. The high-density material seems unlikely. It would also seem unreasonably dangerous (to the maker) to use a ballotechnic material in a fusion device. One intriguing source mentions a liquid explosive, HgSbO, made by Du Pont laboratories and listed in the international chemical register as number 20720-76-7. Anyone care to look it up?

A Military Code Name for a New Nuclear Material

As I understand it, this definition originates from the extraordinarily high prices commanded and paid for a substance called 'red mercury', which was manufactured in Russia. The price ($200-300K per kilogram) and trade restrictions were consistent with a nuclear material as opposed to cinnabar.


Another story...
Link Posted: 9/26/2004 10:00:21 AM EDT
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