Nukes Smuggled In TAXIS
World leaders just attended the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington DC less than a month ago. You can see why it might be a little embarrassing, then, for law enforcement to to discover that nuke materials were being smuggled in taxis in a capital city.
Unfortunately for the President of Georgia, that’s precisely what happened.
Authorities acted on credible intelligence that led to apprehension of six men. Four were pensioners, but two were active drivers of taxis. The group was attempting to sell uranium, a few kilos worth, for about $200 million.
Instead,the number they are looking at is 10 years. That is what they face if convicted of ” illegal handling of nuclear materials.”
A joint special operation by Georgian special-ops and counterintelligence departments located and arrested the smugglers in an apartment in the country’s capital of Tbilisi.
The plan, apparently, was to use their taxis to convey the materials. The fear, now, is that there may have been radiation exposure to unsuspecting passengers.
To make matters worse, this incident with the taxis is the second nuclear smuggling case in the last six months in Georgia.
Three people were arrested by the State Security Department in January for selling Cesium-137, a radioactive isotope. The group had collected $100,000 by the time they were taken into custody.
Local Georgian Muslims have been leaving to join ISIS. This only raises the threat level. It also lends veracity to rumors of terrorists trying to make a dirty bomb.
“There have been reports about alleged buyers for nuclear and radioactive materials coming either from the Middle East or North Africa,” stated Deputy Director for James Martin Center, Yelena Sokolova.“It is due to its [Georgia’s] geographical location on the pathway from Europe to the Middle East.”
A large part of the problem is that Russia and post Soviet States still have hundreds of tons of highly radioactive materials stored. Shota Utiashvili, former Interior Ministry spokesman, explained. ”The deals on nuclear materials happen here every year; people regularly smuggle radioactive substances from Russia via Georgia to Turkey or Iran.”
It’s too bad there’s not some way to bring a large number of world leaders together to try and combat this problem. Oh, wait. Obama just did that. Guess we can count this as another one of his “successes.”
© 2016 Vianna Vaughan