The military has destroyed some of the cargo, while other pieces were being repacked in a safer manner, Markku Koskinen, the director of traffic operations at the port of Kotka, told The Associated Press. He said he did not know exactly which pieces had been disposed of.
The ship’s Ukrainian captain and first mate were taken into custody on suspicion of violating weapons export laws, and have not been cleared to leave the country. There were 11 other crew members on the ship.
Koskinen said the vessel’s travel ban was lifted Monday afternoon, but could not say whether the vessel would actually leave without its captain or if it still intends to go to China.
“She can sail, but customs is still holding the cargo and the (detained) crew isn’t allowed to leave Finland,” he said.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Germany: Patriot missiles impounded in Finland were legit shipment to South Korea
A spokesman for Germany’s Defense Ministry said the missiles were an official shipment that was fully declared and had all necessary clearings from German authorities.
“Those patriot guided missiles are from the Bundeswehr’s stocks and have been shipped to South Korea” according to an intergovernmental treaty, he said, declining to be named in line with government policy.
He said no explosives were part of the shipment and he didn’t have any information on that part of the impounded cargo.
Finnish officials said the explosives were destined for China. Markku Koskinen, the director of traffic operations at the port of Kotka, said they were deficiently packed in wooden boxes on open pallets and would be moved to metal containers in line with rules on the maritime transport of explosives.
“We will do that as soon as the customs inspectors allow us to,” Koskinen told The Associated Press. “Otherwise, the shipment of explosives was legitimate and can continue on its way to China as soon as it’s safely packed.”
The ship sailed from the north German port of Emden on Dec. 13 and was en route to China, Finnish officials said. It docked in Kotka to pick up a cargo of anchor chains and an old paper machine.
Finnish officials impounded the cargo Wednesday and launched an investigation. Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen said the ship’s captain and first mate were detained.
“The missiles did not have the appropriate transit papers,” Virtanen said. “We are questioning all the other 11 crew members who are also Ukrainians.”
Klaus Kaartinen, spokesman for the National Bureau of Investigation, said Finnish police and customs would continue their investigation into the cargo.
“Even if the missile cargo is a legitimate shipment, from a Finnish point of view the law has probably been broken because it was not properly declared,” Kaartinen said. “Also, the explosives were stored improperly.”
American-made Patriot missiles are used to counter threats, including aircraft, tactical ballistic missiles and cruise missiles. They are part of the U.S. Army’s weaponry and were extensively used during the 1991 Gulf war.
Manufactured by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Florida, Patriot missiles have been in service in several countries, including Egypt, Germany, Greece, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan and South Korea.
Associated Press writer Juergen Baetz in Berlin contributed to this report.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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FROM VETERANS TODAY
Breaking: Patriot Missiles Seized, Sold To China by Israel (Updates)
Iron Dome Defense Missiles Seized by Finland, Labeled “Fireworks”
69 Newest Patriot Missiles Bound For Reds
“…Thorco Shipping representative, Thomas Mikkelsen said he was unaware any such cargo was on board his vessel”…a statement that categorically “debunks” attempts at denial – Editor)
…by Gordon Duff, Senior Editor
Latest update from today’s Washington Post:
Finland says cargo ship can sail again, but without its 69 missiles, explosives or it’s Ukrainian captain
HELSINKI — “A British-registered ship (editor’s correction, ship is not “British-registered”) that was held in a Finnish port after authorities discovered 69 surface-to-air [Anti-ballistic] missiles and 160 tons of explosives onboard has permission to travel again, but without those materials or its captain, a port official said Monday.
The M/S Thor Liberty was headed to China and had docked in the southern Finnish port of Kotka to pick up anchor chains when police last week discovered and seized the missiles and explosive piric acid on board.”
Finnish authorities have confirmed the seizure of 69 Patriot missiles manufactured by Raytheon Corporation today.
(A popular graphic going viral on the internet, edited to eliminate an inappropriate ethnic reference)
During a routine search of the MS Thor Liberty, a ship flagged by the Isle of Man, at the Finnish port of Kotka, authorities found 69 Patriot missiles of a type capable of intercepting ICBMs, the most modern available and America’s most sensitive military technology.
Update: The official publication of the shipping industry, The Maritime Executive states:
“Finnish police launched a probe on a ship bound for Shanghai, China, after they discovered 69 surface-to-air Patriot missiles, explosive materials, and propelling charges illegally aboard. “ Note, what had been called by some “chemicals” are now “propelling charges.” What they propel, of course, are guided missiles from nuclear submarines and plutonium and uranium components into contact to inititate nuclear explosions.
Germany officials have offered to take responsibility for the shipment to China though there is no record of Germany ever having received the missiles in the first place. There had been a shipment of PAC 2 missiles, 64, several months ago, which had been completed. No further shipment had been scheduled.
Germany is responding to a request from Netanyahu to Merkel to save Israel from a potential spy scandal.Similarly, a South Korean paper has published a story about the missiles but at no time has the South Korean embassy in Helsinki, made a statement or made contact with authorities as would be expected. This one gets more interesting every day.
Germany has a long history of working with Israel, call it “war guilt” or profiteering. The centrifuges used to develop nuclear weapons that were distributed by Israel, first to South Africa then by Israeli Johann Meyer to Libya were of Germany origin. Saddam Hussein received his biological and chemical warfare equipment from Germany, but through Bush family sources, not Israel.
We are told the missiles heading to China were to be “cloned” for sale along with radar and launch units, already there. They would be sold worldwide under Israeli branding in competition with the US. Israel is free to sell to clients the US would be likely to refuse.
The JA 20 Stealth fighter, built from plans stolen by Bush era White House Israeli “dual-citizens” is only one of dozens of defense projects stolen by Israeli spies and sent to China. China has every current nuclear weapons design and plans to upgrade its submarine fleet and will be building aircraft carriers eventually. All will be done with American technology.
Here is the photo of the ship’s ‘very special’ explosives in shrink wrapped cardboard boxes. Do you really think this is how western Allied/NATO countries transport munitions, or would allow hugely expensive anti-ballistic missiles to be put on a ship like this? If there was a detonation device in one of these boxes that could set it off (like with a satellite phone call), it would go up like an A-bomb. No one would have been looking for the 69 Patriot ABM’s listed as rockets or firecrackers. There is one rouge country’s Intelligence service, an American ally, that could do this in it’s sleep because it had extensive practice while building it’s WMD programs, the details of which our America government still holds secret from Americans.
Attempts to represent this as a sale of “second hand” PAC 2 missiles, stories filling the blogosphere, fail to address that these are PAC 3 advanced missiles and labeled for shipment to China, not Korea.
Patriot ICBM Interceptor – PAC3
The next stop for this cargo, valued at over $4 billion even without the associated radar, which may well have been shipped via some other method, was Shanghai, China.
Yet the Chinese government has given an official denial of any knowledge of this transaction.They went even further, they claimed the missiles were heading to South Korea.
However, were China to have given the issue a second’s thought, it would have been advisable to have failed to acknowledge any familiarity with the issue whatsoever.
China walked into a trap, one that uncovered their espionage cooperation agreements that involved, not the receipt of advanced Patriot missile systems but the full plans for the F22 stealth fighter.
Initial stories from 2009 indicating China has received plans for the F35 though espionage with Israel were false.
The F22 is a far more advanced aircraft.
On April 21, 2009, the Department of Defense announced the theft of 1.5 terabytes of data on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the platform meant give the United States and her allies air superiority for the next 40 years.
In a flash, all that was gone, $300 billion dollars of funding down the drain, every system, defense, offense, stealth, everything needed to build one or shoot it down, all gone. Day one, China was accused but it wasn’t China, it wasn’t Iran, it wasn’t Pakistan.
The theft left a clear signature, one identical to the data Wikileaks has been receiving, sources inside the Pentagon repeating the actions of Israeli-Soviet spy, Jonathan Pollard. As vital as the F-35 is to America’s defense, Pollard’s triumph on behalf of Soviet Russia and Israel dwarfs the current espionage coup.
Since the 2009 announcement, there has been nothing but silence.
Now we learn the Pentagon story was “cover” and it was the F22 Raptor, not the F35, an “export plane,” that was compromised:
F-22A Raptors – America Top Fighter
The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine fifth-generation super maneuverable fighter aircraft that uses stealth technology.
It was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities that include ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles.
Lockheed Martin Aeronautics is the prime contractor and is responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems and final assembly of the F-22.
Program partnerBoeing Defense, Space & Security provides the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems.The aircraft was variously designated F-22 and F/A-22 during the years prior to formally entering USAF service in December 2005 as the F-22A.
Despite a protracted and costly development period, the United States Air Force considers the F-22 a critical component of US tactical air power, and claims that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter.
While Lockheed Martin claims that the Raptor’s combination of stealth, speed, agility, precision and situational awareness, combined with air-to-air and air-to-ground combat capabilities, makes it the best overall fighter in the world today.
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, former Chief of the Australian Defence Force, said in 2004 that the “F-22 will be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built.”
The high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air combat missions because of delays in the Russian and Chinese fifth-generation fighter programs, a US ban on Raptor exports, and the ongoing development of the planned cheaper and more versatile F-35 resulted in calls to end F-22 production.[N 1]
In April 2009 the US Department of Defense proposed to cease placing new orders, subject to Congressional approval, for a final procurement tally of 187 Raptors. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 lacked funding for further F-22 production.
The final F-22 Raptor fighter jet rolled off the assembly line on 13 December 2011 during a ceremony at the Lockheed Martin aircraft plant at Dobbins Air Reserve Base.
China is testing a 5th generation fighter, 20 years earlier than estimated, the JA 20. It is based on systems from the Raptor and is considered a far superior plane to the F 35.From a January, 2011 Guardianstory suppressed in the United States:
Chinese F22 Raptor Clone, 20 Years Early
A photograph of what is reported to be a new Chinese stealth fighter and “carrier-killer” missile has prompted concerns that a tilt in the balance of military power in the western Pacific towards China may come sooner than expected.
The emergence of the hi-tech weaponry – which would make it more difficult for the US navy and air force to project power close to Taiwan and elsewhere on China’s coastline – comes at a politically sensitive time.
Later this month, President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, will hold a summit in Washington aimed at patching up their differences after a niggling year in bilateral relations.
he photograph, of what appears to be a prototype J-20 jet undergoing initial tests, has been circulating on the internet since last week, fueling speculation that China’s fifth-generation fighter may fly ahead of forecast.(Attempts have been made to alter photos of the plane and misrepresent its “lineage.” The only alterations from the F22 seem to be the rear control surfaces. What has been most telling is the attempt to misconstrue the JA 20 as a “large bodied” interceptor with a weapons bay for anti-ship missiles instead of the air superiority fighter it actually is. )
The defence ministry has yet to comment on the image, which seems to have been shot from long-distance near the Chengdu aircraft design institute. The photographer is also unknown, which has added to the mystery about its origins and authenticity as well as the motive of the distributor.
But defence analysts believe this is the first glimpse of the twin-engined, chiseled-nosed plane that mixes Russian engine technology with a fuselage design similar to that of the US air force’s F-22 “stealth” fighter, which can avoid detection by radar.
If confirmed, it would be an impressive step forward for the Chinese air force, which until now has largely depended on foreign-made or designed planes. “I’d say these are, indeed, genuine photos of a prototype that will make its maiden flight very soon,” said Peter Felstead, the editor of Jane’s Defence Weekly.
The J20 is likely to be many years from deployment, but the US defence secretary, Robert Gates – who visits Beijing next week – may have to revise an earlier prediction that China will not have a fifth generation aircraft by 2020.
It is not the only challenge to US superiority in the region. China has refurbished a Ukrainian aircraft carrier and wants to build its own by 2020.
Photo corrected from “stretch” version issued to mislead public
The US and Israel had scheduled an air defense exercise this week but no Patriot missiles were to be shipped to Israel as part of their mission, DOD sources indicate.
This week’s exercise was to use Patriot missiles deployed from American ships in the eastern Mediterranean to test Israeli missile defenses. Reports indicate that all missiles for this exercise have been accounted for.
” Patriots Away “
These units, the most advanced Patriot system had only been supplied to one nation, Israel.
The 69 Patriot ICBM interceptors are believed to be a highly secret consignment demanded by Israel as protection from any retaliatory strike by Iran were war to break out in the region.
Instead of deploying them, the missiles were apparently sold to China labeled as “fireworks” according to Interior Minister Paivi Rasanen.
Though the missiles themselves were worth only $4 billion, the technology transfer itself would be worth over $125 billion, and represent a significant loss of defense capability for the United States.
Sources termed it, “An absolute disaster, even if they only received the radar systems alone, much less the missiles.That this would go unreported though the story was broken in Europe 48 hours ago is astounding.
Nobody in Washington has this although even the BBC report contains more than enough information to bring Washington to a halt.
DOD sources indicate that it would be unusual for these missiles to be moved without radar and launch facilities to have been moved in advance. It was also indicated that the Department of Defense denies shipping any such missiles to Germany or anywhere else in Europe, labeled as “fireworks” or anything else.
The owner of the ship of record is Thorco Shipping. Their representative, Thomas Mikkelsen said he was unaware any such cargo was on board his vessel.
Patriot Command Control Center
Claims were made that the missiles were destined for South Korea but an examination of documentation indicated that there were no South Korean ports scheduled.
Additionally, the likelihood that the US government would ship its most valuable and secret missile technology through Germany mislabeled as “fireworks” rather than on a C 17 under military security supports the Finnish claim.
Finnish police say they opened all 69 units, are recording serial numbers and have been unable to find any documentation indicating the real ownership of the seized cargo.
And they certainly have found nothing involving the any of the claimed “cover stories” involving Germany or Korea, otherwise, of course, the cargo would never have been seized nor would there have been arrests made.
Detective Superintendent Timo Virtanen of the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation is in charge of the case. He has stated:
”Actually, in our investigation at the moment, we have got the information that we found 69 Patriot missiles on the ship and around 160 tonnes of explosives.”
The explosives are identified as nitroguandine, a low sensitivity explosive with a very high detonation speed. These explosives have several uses, among them launching shipboard or submarine launched missiles or in the development and testing of nuclear weapons design.
Finnish authorities indicate the explosives were packed in an “informal” and highly dangerous manner and that the Thor Liberty’s captain and chief officer are under arrest on suspicion of arms trafficking. Both are citizens of the Ukraine.The government of China has denied all knowledge of the incident although the cargo was destined for their ports.
The head of Finnish Customs CID, Petri Louatmaa said this was not the first such incident but by far the most serious he has ever heard of.Finland has requested “information” from several countries.
The US Department of Defense has assured all involved that these missiles were not being sent to South Korea and that their presence on a civilian ship either being loaded in Germany or in port in Finland was in now way a part of any exercise nor any accepted methodology for the handling of this type of ultra-high technology weaponry.
American sources further indicated confusion at the odd number of missiles:
“There are two missiles per launch container. The containers can’t be easily opened and the missiles can’t be removed for examination without damage to the launch mechanism.They are delivered for mounting to ships or land based mobile launchers. Thus, the packaging indicated either demonstrates confusion or serious unprofessional tampering.”
Israeli officials have failed to respond to questions about the consignment.Air Force transport command personnel indicate that high tech transfers to Israel are routinely offloaded at Schipol Airport in the Netherlands where Israel maintains secure facilities.
Editing: Jim W. Dean
Patriot PAC3s Are Shipped in Pairs – Ground to Air Patriots are Shipped With Launchers