Red Mercury

Jerry_B

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#1
Note the reference to 'red mercury'...

Terror arrests follow paper tip-off

The men are being held at Paddington Green station
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.

Source
 
A

Anonymous

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#2
JerryB said:
Note the reference to 'red mercury'...

...

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

Source
Now, I wonder who could have tipped off Murdoch's "The News Of The Screws"?

Could be some sort of con artist with, "red mercury" for sale, scam going on as well.
 
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#4
The Independent gives an interesting overview:

Four held after 'sting' uncovers alleged dirty bomb conspiracy

By James Burleigh

26 September 2004

Four men have been arrested on suspicion of terrorist offences following a sting operation organised by a Sunday newspaper, police said last night.

Three men were seized in a "pre-planned" operation by officers from the Metropolitan Police's anti-terrorist branch at a hotel in Brent Cross, north London on Friday. The fourth man was arrested later at his north London home.

The sting was set up after a News of the World reporter, posing as a "Muslim extremist", infiltrated a gang which was allegedly trying to buy radioactive material for an unnamed Saudi Arabian man.

The newspaper's investigations editor, Mazher Mahmood, went undercover after claiming to have received a tip-off that a Saudi sympathetic to "the Muslim cause" was willing to pay £300,000 for a kilogram of powerful, radioactive "Red Mercury". The chemical is said to have been developed by Soviet scientists for "briefcase nuclear bombs", but, said the newspaper, "scientists are divided over whether any actually exists".

The News of the World said: "We sent in our investigations editor Mazher Mahmood who, working undercover, convinced the gang he knew where to get hold of Red Mercury." Mahmood, known as "The Fake Sheikh" as he has often worn Saudi robes when working undercover, was allegedly told that the chemical would be used either "here in the UK or the USA".


A series of meetings were then held with the gang members including a merchant banker "who was on the look out for nuclear bomb-making material for a client in the Middle East", the newspaper claims. It called in Scotland Yard before the penultimate meeting. A final meeting was arranged at the Holiday Inn in Brent Cross on Friday. Police marksmen and surveillance teams surrounded the hotel and the gang was arrested.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said: "Acting on information received from the News of the World on 24 September, officers from the Met's anti-terrorist branch arrested three men ... under section 41 of the Terrorism Act ... All four men have been taken into custody at a central London police station."

Mahmood has gained a high profile after a series of investigations. After his story on an alleged plot to kidnap Victoria Beckham and her sons in November 2002, five men were arrested. But it emerged the newspaper's informant, Florim Gashi, was paid £10,000 by the newspaper and the case against the alleged kidnappers collapsed.


http://news.independent.co.uk/uk/crime/story.jsp?story=565797

Mahmood has a very dodgy reputation for his undercver work and it sounds distinctly like he broached the subject of red mercury.
 
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#5
I thought it worth splitting this thread off from terror alerts as there didn't seem to be a red mercury thread.

What is red mercury?

David Adam
Thursday September 30, 2004
The Guardian

The only thing we can be sure of is that it's a ripping yarn. Rumours that Soviet nuclear experts had produced a mysterious explosive material with unimaginable destructive power first circulated in the 1970s, and despite several official investigations and subsequent denials the story refuses to die. The near-mythical compound cropped up again on Sunday, when the News of the World claimed it had foiled a terrorist plot to buy red mercury as material for a dirty bomb.

Depending on who you believe, red mercury is either an elaborate hoax, a codename for nuclear material smuggled through the former iron curtain, or a terrifying new trigger for a handheld hydrogen bomb. What it isn't, according to the speculation and hearsay that makes up the scientific literature on the subject, is any use for a dirty bomb (one that scatters radioactive material).

"Nobody would dream of getting that stuff for a dirty bomb," says Frank Barnaby, a nuclear physicist who worked at the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston in the 1950s. "For a terrorist it would offer no significant advantages over an ordinary high explosive or, if they wanted a dirty bomb, a radioactive source. To go to the trouble of spending huge amounts of money on red mercury makes no sense at all."

Particularly so if all you get for the News of the World's reported price of £300,000 a kilo is mercury dyed red with nail varnish, which, according to a 1994 investigation by the Russian prosecutor-general's office, is what was in the "red mercury" sold by Russian conmen throughout Europe and the Middle East after the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Others, including Sam Cohen, the inventor of the neutron bomb, disagree, and Barnaby says there is evidence that the Soviets churned out vast quantities of mercury antimony oxide, the intermediate - and equally elusive - compound from which red mercury is supposedly produced by placing it inside a nuclear reactor. "There's no doubt that they made a large amount of that stuff. I've talked to chemists who have analysed it in East Germany," he says. "But what they did with it is a mystery."

Some say the intermediate compound can multiply the yield of explosions and that it was used inside conventional Soviet nuclear weapons or as a rocket fuel additive. Others say the compound was irradi ated in the core of nuclear reactors to produce pure red mercury, capable of exploding with enough heat and pressure to act as a trigger inside a briefcase-sized fusion bomb.

The International Atomic Energy Authority in Vienna takes a different view. "Red mercury doesn't exist," a spokesman says. "The whole thing is a bunch of malarkey."


http://www.guardian.co.uk/life/thisweek/story/0,,1315466,00.html
 
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#7
AndroMan said:
A possible case of 'entrapment' set up by the 'NotW' journalist then?
Dunno but where red mercury is involved it wouldn't be a suprise if it turned out that everyone involved was trying to cheat everyone else. If you want red mercury you'll be able to find someone to sel it you but they are likely to have your moeny off for no return (the beauty of using it as the basis of the scam is that it doesn't, as far as we can tell, exist so it would be difficult to prosecute anyone for trying to sell it - whereas trying to flog enrched uranium could get you ino trouble even if you don't actually have any).

In these heightened times of alert are we to believe that:

1. A NotW journo was able to get into a group of people negotiating the actual shipment of potentially dangerous material? It seems more likely that if you are running a scam and someone else is looking to get scammed too then you'd let them in.

2. If they are all for real how duff must the security services be if it is this easy to get in?

I suspect a quadruple cross is going on and there was no money and no red mercury.
 
A

Anonymous

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Emperor said:
...

I suspect a quadruple cross is going on and there was no money and no red mercury.
That would still leave a particularily nasty piece of 'black propaganda' and a suitably highly coloured story for the NotW's readership.
 

SilverGirl

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#9
My father passed away in last year and in amongst his effects were a couple of letters in which (it would seem) he was trying to buy obtain some red mercury for a third party in West Africa (either Nigeria or Ghana, guessing from where he used to do business. ) The thing is, these letters are dated from the mid-1960s, so I've been wondering if this is one of the first documented instances of the scam.
 
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#11
Silver Girl said:
My father passed away in last year and in amongst his effects were a couple of letters in which (it would seem) he was trying to buy obtain some red mercury for a third party in West Africa (either Nigeria or Ghana, guessing from where he used to do business. ) The thing is, these letters are dated from the mid-1960s, so I've been wondering if this is one of the first documented instances of the scam.
Thats fascinating (and potentially very important) - who was he trying to buy the material from?
 

wembley8

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#12
Red mercury - if you believe in it - was allegedly first produced in Russian in 1965.

http://www.tribulationalinstitute.com/Powerpoint/red_mercury_nightmare.htm

Now, if you go with the theory that there is a connection between red mercury and nuclear isomers, you might think it's more than a coincidence that the first isomers were isolated by one S.M. Polykanov in Russia in 1962.

Either way, it has nothing to do with dirty bombs, so there's no need to worry really :)
 

SilverGirl

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#13
Emperor said:
Thats fascinating (and potentially very important) - who was he trying to buy the material from?
Well, I don't know who he was buying it for but there were 2 letters. I can't remember the content of one but the other is from a chemical company (Clarksons or something?) that I presume he'd written too, saying that they'd never heard of it and could he provide them with a sample. The next time I go home, I'll dig them out and type 'em in, if anyone's interested.
And he did actually drive an orange Merc PhiloT, so you're nearly right!
 

brianellwood

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#14
I thought 'red mercury' was another name for cinnebar, a naturally occuring ore, an oxide of mercury which easily breaks down to give, well, mercury? poisonous but not radioactive.
 

wembley8

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#15
"I thought 'red mercury' was another name for cinnebar"

It may be that as well, but it is also the nickname of a mysterious substance allegedly manufactured in Russian nuclear reactors that has nothing to do with conventional mercury.
 

wembley8

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#16
Oops, I belatedly see your point Brian - the papers might have been referring to buying cinnebar. Apologies for being slow.
 

taras

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#17
Reuters--
25 Apr 15:04 SECURITY-BRITAIN-REDMERCURY
Britons on trial over "Red Mercury" terrorism plot
LONDON, April 25 (Reuters) - Three Britons went on trial on Tuesday, accused of plotting to buy a dangerous radioactive material known as ``Red Mercury`` to make a big profit by selling it on to terrorist groups.
The men planned to buy hundreds of thousands of pounds of Red Mercury, described by prosecutors as a ``highly dangerous and explosive substance.'' with the intention of selling it on to a contact in the Middle East, London's Old Bailey court was told.
However the man they were trying to buy the material off was reporter Mazher Mahmood, a well-known British journalist with the News of the World tabloid, famed for duping criminals and celebrities using his undercover ``fake sheikh`` persona.
The court heard that Mahmood had taped conversations with the suspects -- Roque Fernandes, 44, Abdurahman Kanyare, 53, and Dominic Martins, 45, -- during August and September 2004.
He had then informed the police of their intentions and the men were arrested.
Prosecutor David Ellison said the trio's motive was probably to make money for themselves but argued they had known Red Mercury was a dangerous, toxic substance ``being sought by terrorists to be used in terrorism``.
``The circumstances of the deal they were pursuing was such that each of them knew the intended customer may well have wanted the substance for use in terrorism.'' Ellison said.
``The tape-recorded evidence shows clearly that each of these defendants did agree to pursue the purchase of this radioactive ... substance at a price of hundreds of thousands of pounds, knowing it was the sort of thing used in acts of terrorism.''
Ellison said the News of The World had learnt of the plot through a banker referred to as ``Mr B`` who had been contacted by Martins who said he wanted to buy the radioactive material.
Ellison also told the court that Mahmood, who was acting for the anti-terrorism branch as an authorised covert source, was a controversial character famed for his exposes made while working undercover.
He said it was likely the defence would focus on some of the methods and motives the reporter had employed in the past, arguing some of Mahmood's subjects would claim his stories were inaccurate or the result of ``blatant entrapment``.
``He has become known as the 'fake sheikh' due to the times he has met people, often the rich and famous, under the guise of being such a character.'' Ellison said.
``The prosecution acknowledge there is controversy surrounding some of his work.
``I want to underline a fundamental feature of the core evidence the prosecution rely on. The core evidence is what the defendants themselves have said, pre-arrest in tape-recorded meetings or after arrest in police interviews.''
The three suspects all deny two counts of entering into a funding arrangement for the purposes of terrorism and one of conspiracy to possess an article for terrorist purposes. The case continues.
Red Mercury remains, as far as I know, a fictional substance. Wasn't there something in the magazine about it a few years ago?
 
A

Anonymous

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#19
I heard about this stuff 10 years ago. Nearly everyone claiming to know anything about it were in fact 'battersea businessmen'. These are the sad loners (usually not too well dressed) who always have deals on the go to the tune of many millions of pounds. This strange sub culture exists - truly. It seems that the elusive millionaire status is enough to rob sensible people of the brains they had. If I remember correctly, there was usually also a nigerian involved (finance) and somebody who knew a russian who knew somebody else that could get red mercury out. Load of old tosh and definetly a scam. Indeed, those taking war studies as Warwick are taught in lectures that RM was indeed a scam.
 

taras

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#20
Bit more on AP
LONDON (AP) – A banker and a bank security guard were part of an alleged British terrorist gang that attempted to buy radioactive material for a bomb, prosecutors told a court Tuesday. Three men set up a deal to purchase a “radioactive mercury-based substance” for a contact in the Middle East, prosecuting lawyer Mark Ellison told London’s Central Criminal Court. Negotiations by the trio continued until September 2004, when the suspects were arrested as they made plans to test a substance called red mercury, Ellison said. Roque Fernandes, 44, Dominic Martins, 45, and Abdurahman Kanyare, 53, are being tried on charges of conspiracy to possess a radioactive substance for terrorism and enter into a funding arrangement for purposes of terrorism. The three, all from London, have pleaded not guilty to the charges. Many scientists doubt that red mercury exists, though black marketeers have been peddling the substance since the 1991 Soviet collapse, claiming it is a highly radioactive compound developed in Soviet nuclear facilities. Samples discovered in Europe have proved to be bogus or far less dangerous than claimed.
 

TinFinger

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#21
if you wanted to create a bomb imho youd probable go for nuclear waste
just atomize it with whatever in a large city
this RM seems a whole lot of bother which a terrorist wouldnt bother with.
 

Quake42

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#22
Trio cleared of red mercury plot

Three men have been cleared of trying to procure a substance which police claimed could have made a "dirty bomb".

They were arrested in September 2004 after trying to buy "red mercury" from an undercover reporter.

But Roque Fernandes, 44, Abdurahman Kanyare, 53, both of Edgware, and Dominic Martins, 45, of Stanmore, had denied three terror-related charges.

They denied being interested in a radioactive or toxic substance and claimed they had been tricked.

The court heard how Mazher Mahmood, better known as the News of the World's "fake sheikh", played the part of a Muslim, called Mohammed, who claimed to have nearly a kilogram of red mercury which he was looking to sell.

Mr Mahmood set up a meeting and then contacted officers from the Metropolitan Police's Anti-Terrorist Squad, who arrested the men at the Holiday Inn in Brent Cross on 24 September 2004.

The three men were acquitted of two charges of trying to set up funding or property for terrorism.

They were also found not guilty of one charge of conspiracy to possess "a highly dangerous mercury-based substance" for the purposes of terrorism.

'Innocent motives'

All three men had denied any involvement in terrorism and claimed their motives were innocent. Kanyare said he was interested in a liquid called red mercury which could be used to wash discoloured money.

He said when Mohammed mentioned it was radioactive or toxic he "strung him along" because he thought he might be able to pass the information on to a Norwegian police officer whom he had helped in the past.

Defence lawyers criticised Mr Mahmood's tactics.

One described him as having an "egotistical obsession" for stories and accused him of being "charismatic and highly intelligent but...dangerously deceitful, ruthless, exploitative and corrupt."

Stephen Solley QC, defending Mr Martins, said justice had gone "out of the window" in a bid to sell newspapers.

He had urged the Recorder of London, Judge Peter Beaumont, to throw out the case - estimated to have cost upwards of £1 million - before the trial had even started.

'Deliberately misleading'

Mr Solley also accused Mr Mahmood of serially misleading the police, Crown Prosecution Service, Customs and Excise and the courts.

He said that a witness in the case - known only as B, to protect his identity - had deliberately misled the three men into agreeing a deal, when they would not have done if they had known the truth.

"B created, through his activities with Mr Mahmood - who himself knew it was entirely a sham - a pincer movement so both their respective motives could be satisfied."

He said the motives were "money on the one hand and selling newspapers on the other".

"We submit that justice went out of the window."

Mr Mahmood, who testified during the trial, denied manipulating the three defendants and setting up the covertly-recorded meeting to make them look like they were guilty.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/5176522.stm
 

misterwibble

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#23
Stop the Press!

Men found not guilty of trying to buy non existent substance!

Hell, why didn't they go the whole hog and charge them with trying to buy fairy dust while they were at it?
 

Heckler

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#24
misterwibble said:
Stop the Press!

Men found not guilty of trying to buy non existent substance!

Hell, why didn't they go the whole hog and charge them with trying to buy fairy dust while they were at it?
Defendant : 'I didn't attempt to buy anything.'

QC : 'I put it to you that you were seen by no less than four witnesses attempting to barter your cow for magic beans'


Edited for dreadful spelling
 

hokum6

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#25
Does anyone have contact details for these blokes? I've got a lovely metal structure to sell them, collection from Paris, France.

TinFinger said:
if you wanted to create a bomb imho youd probable go for nuclear waste
just atomize it with whatever in a large city
this RM seems a whole lot of bother which a terrorist wouldnt bother with.
Despite the media banging on about them dirty bombs don't work. The US, Russia and other countries all experimented at one time and dropped the idea because it's not viable. The only possible use they'd have is as a psychological weapon.
 

TinFinger

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#26
i would have thought releasing a large cloud of radioactive dust inside a city would constitute as a terrorist attack
you dont need it to go bang
 

Heckler

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#27
TinFinger said:
i would have thought releasing a large cloud of radioactive dust inside a city would constitute as a terrorist attack
you dont need it to go bang
Well the trouble with dirty bombs are that unless you sat in the immediate vacinity of the blast site for several days, you are unlikely to be harmed by the radiation (assuming you survive the explosion), the fear of the dirty bomb is largely a media invention.
 

wembley8

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#28
Heckler20 said:
Well the trouble with dirty bombs are that unless you sat in the immediate vacinity of the blast site for several days, you are unlikely to be harmed by the radiation.
Yes, that's the idea. A dirty bomb would cause few immediate casualties but a tremendous amount of disruption. How large a swathe of London would be evacuated if a dirty bomb was detonated in the City?

It would be several days at least before people would return to the area, causing far more disruption (and far more news stories) and the 7th July attacks.
Afterwards, there could be scares for months or years about lingering traces of radiation. Though not militarily useful for tactical targets, it would be a very effective terrorist weapoon.
 

wembley8

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#29
In any case, Red Mercury has nothing to do with dirty bombs. Supposedly it is a material which allows you to create a nuclear explosion with a sub-scritical amount of material, like a briefcase or even a pocket-sized atomic bomb.

It may be connected with the Hafnium nuclear isomer 178m2 which the Russians have supposedly doen some work on and which may theoretically be capable of this sort of explosion. Or it may not.
 

rynner2

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#30
Sewing machine hoax hits S Arabia

Saudi police say they are investigating a hoax that has seen people rushing to buy old-fashioned sewing machines for up to $50,000 (£33,500).

The Singer sewing machines are said to contain traces of red mercury, a substance that may not exist.

But it is widely thought that it can be used to find treasure, ward off evil spirits or even make nuclear bombs.

It is believed that tiny amounts can sell for millions of dollars, the Saudi Gazette reported.

The paper said that trade in the sewing machines was brisk across the country.

Rumours about the sewing machines have been spreading for days by word of mouth and over the internet, it said.

These included rumours that foreign experts and companies had been buying up Singers.

In Dhulum, it was reported that people had broken into two tailors' shops to steal the machines. :shock:

In the city of Madina, people were holding mobile phones up to the machines, due to the belief that they could be used to detect the presence of red mercury. :roll:

An interior ministry spokesman said authorities were trying to discover who had spread the rumours.

"We have to find out who started this hoax," he told Reuters news agency.

"People hope to make profit," he added. "This is no different to cases of citizens who put their money in untrustworthy schemes."

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle ... 999168.stm
 
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