Skip to comments.Nuclear plant target for stolen rocket launchers, police allege (5 in the hands of terrorist group)
Posted on 01/05/2007 7:42:51 AM PST by dead
STOLEN Australian Army rocket launchers are in the hands of a home-grown terrorist group which planned to use them to attack Sydney's Lucas Heights nuclear reactor, police allege.
The Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty, said a man arrested in Leumeah yesterday and charged with possessing stolen weapons was linked to a group that had planned to attack buildings in Sydney, including the reactor.
Mr Keelty would not publicly link the man, Taha Abdul-Rahman, directly to a plan to target the reactor, referring only to "evidence of a proposed target", and saying: "Clearly, there was a plan for the use of the weapon."
But the NSW Assistant Commissioner, Nick Kaldas, said: "There were a couple of sites that were probably being considered and that's one of them."
A source said an informant had specifically suggested there was a plan to attack the reactor with a rocket launcher.
Abdul-Rahman, 28, was arrested yesterday after the third raid on his home since September 30. Police allege he sold seven rocket launchers for $5000 each to Adnan "Eddie" Darwiche, a Sydney drug dealer who is now in prison serving a sentence for double murder.
In September, police from the NSW Middle Eastern Crime Squad bought one rocket launcher from Darwiche for $50,000 during an investigation into a bloody drug war in Sydney's south-west.
They say another five launchers are in the possession of the terrorist group, and that Darwiche has the seventh one hidden.
The Darwiche link came about as he tried to cut a deal to get a reduction in his life sentence for the murders of a woman and a rival member of the Razzak drug syndicate.
When he sold the first launcher to police, through a go-between, he also passed on to them 20 kilograms of Power Gel explosive.
On December 15, the Herald first reported the theft of up to nine launchers from the Army, and also revealed details of the extraordinary deal with Darwiche, in which police considered giving him a certificate of indemnity from prosecution. On that same day, Abdul-Rahman's home was raided again.
Mr Keelty yesterday said police had established a link between Abdul-Rahman and others arrested under the high-profile Operation Pendennis between November 2005 and March last year.
After the Pendennis raids, investigators said they had foiled imminent terrorist attacks in Sydney and Melbourne. The group of alleged Islamic terrorists was said to have been penetrated by an undercover police agent.
Mr Keelty said that as those arrested as part of Operation Pendennis were still before the courts, there was a limit to how much he could say about alleged ties to yesterday's arrest over the stolen launchers.
"We are continuing our investigations not only in relation to Operation Pendennis, but in respect of this aspect of the operation," Mr Keelty said.
Asked if the man arrested yesterday was linked to the group that allegedly made threats to attack facilities including Lucas Heights, he said: "Yes, he is."
The investigation into the stolen launchers is understood to focus on private security patrols of military facilities.
After his arrest yesterday, Abdul-Rahman was charged with offences relating to the theft and procurement of the rocket launchers.
According to court documents, police allege he is a second or third link in a chain that passed the weapons on to others after he acquired them from an unknown source, who got them from within the military. Abdul-Rahman is then alleged to have sold all seven to Darwiche for his alleged use in the drug war.
It is alleged Darwiche, now serving a double life sentence in the supermax high-security prison at Goulburn, sold five of them to the terrorist group with cells in Sydney's south-west and Melbourne.
Abdul-Rahman was taken to Sydney's Central Local Court late yesterday charged with 17 terrorism related offences.
They include two counts of dishonestly receiving stolen property, and seven counts of unauthorised possession of a prohibited weapon.
He was also charged with possession of ammunition under section 65 of the Ammunition and Firearms Act 1996.
His solicitor, Sam Abbas, told the magistrate, Robyn Denes, he did not want his client to be taken from underground cells and brought before the court.
With Abdul-Rahman's partner watching quietly from the public gallery, Mr Abbas said his client was not seeking bail, nor entering a plea but would make a bail application next Wednesday via video link.
Mr Kaldas said there was a wider investigation into links between the criminal world and terrorism in Australia.
"The line between criminality and politically motivated acts of terrorism is blurring worldwide," Mr Kaldas said. "We are open minded on whether other rockets have fallen into the hands of terror groups."
I would imagine their reactor would be sufficiently hardened against shoulder fired rockets. I was told once during a visit to a nuke plant that the reactor there could withstand a direct hit from a jetliner.
Identify your target Mr. Kaldas.
Arab Muslims again, what are the odds of that? 2 in 3?
Would an RPG penetrate it? I don't know. And even if it did penetrate the shell, I'd imagine the chances of it breaching the reactor itself would be damn pretty slim.
Yeah, I'd bet the folks there are not feeling quite as comfy now as they would if it had concrete shell.
You'd have to imagine the baddies would need multiple shooters firing at the same point in quick succession to have any kind of shot of producing a breech though.
True, but it is a small jetliner by todays standard -- a 707 class plane. Only the reactor core containment building is usually protected.
Newer PBMR designs are much better, more effecient, more stable, and can't do a Chernobyl style meltdown. We should start immediate deployment of them, that is provided you are really interested in reducing CO2 and not controlling people.
Since none of commercial size have ever been built, that's hard to say.
Thery have built experimental reactors and run the tests. Why aren't we leading the way with the first full scale?
If nuclear facilities are designed to withstand impact by a smaller airliner, it's goinf to take a lot more than a few hand-held rocket launchers to do significant nuclear-related damage...
Granted, they temporarily can interrupt power to a lot of customers, but that is equally true if they attacked any conventional power plants.
We (both the DOE and private companies like Westinghouse) are putting money into R&D on it but it's not ready for prime time yet. South Africa is scheduled to begin construction of the 1st "utility" scale demonstration PBR this year with operation in 2010. Another factor is optimum size PBR technology. Every thing indicates that somewhere between 100 and 200 MW is the max compared to 1000 MW+ for light water reactors so basically you need to build 10 PBRs to get the same energy that one PWR or BWR can deliver.
Until we get some experience with this thing, I would not think it wise to gush about it. When things scale up in size, there are always suprises. If you recall, back in the 60s and 70s, HTGR's were all the rage until they actually built one and ran into a host of problems they never anticipated. Light Water technology may not be as sexy as the new stuff, but for now, we know PWRs and BWRs work and work very well with no suprises.
I'm shocked that very few people know about this.
Ping to my post 13
My wife of 24 years is an Australian and after the attacks on Sept 11, I had to endure my sister-in-law. She was going on about America meddling in the ME and this attack was the result. I pointed out this article and that Australia was targeted before we were attacked which made her stop and think. Then when Bali was hit, she really had a change of heart as that was where her husband and her would spend holiday every year.
It's a year before 9/11, off the end of the timeline...
Memo to all FBI and CIA types. Use a (muslim) convicted felon to try to sell missiles to the local mosque. Arrest any buyers. Promote me to GS-15 status for being a freaking genius.
Ping to my post 13
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