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Finland impounds shipment of Patriot missiles, explosives in ship destined for Shanghai

[Image: Finland%20Missiles.JPEG-05892.jpg](Kimmo Mäntylä, Lehtikuva/Associated Press) - Cargo ship M/S Thor Liberty at the Mussalo harbour in Kotka, Finland Wednesday Dec. 21 2011. Finnish customs found 69 Patriot surface to air missiles on the British flagged ship, destined for the Chinese port of Shanghai from Germany. Police and customs officials are investigating whether the shipment broke Finnish laws on weapons trading.

By Associated Press, Updated: Wednesday, December 21, 3:16 PM

HELSINKI Finnish authorities on Wednesday impounded 160 tons of explosives and 69 surface-to-air missiles found on a British-flagged cargo ship ultimately destined for Shanghai, China, officials said.

More at the link:

Missile shipment confirmed aboard detained vessel

published Tue Dec 20 08:21 PM, updated today Dec 22 08:00 AM

[Image: R_j_hdealus_alus_la_457015b.jpg]Image: YLE Kymenlaakso

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A cargo vessel detained at Kotka harbour has been found to be carrying a shipment of American-made Patriot missiles. According to information received by YLE, the missile shipment originated in Germany and is destined for South Korea.

Onboard the ship are 69 of the missiles with their explosive warheads and propelling charges.
The National Bureau of Investigation confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the missiles are onboard the ship.
Both the missiles and a cargo of explosives were en route from Germany to South Korea. According to press reports, the ship made port in Finland to pick up a consignment of anchor chain for delivery to China. The ship is registered in the Isle of Man, a self-governing territory under the British Crown.
Officials stopped the M/S Thor Liberty last week as its cargo of explosives had been stored incorrectly. The ship is carrying 150 tonnes of the explosive nitroguanidine. The material is in 25 kg packages some of which was found to be damaged. Because of the characteristics of nitroguanidine, the material should be carried in shipping containers.
In the course of inspection, it was also found that the cargo included a shipment of military missiles.
Missiles seized
An investigation was launched and it was determined that while not contraband, the proper transit permits for the shipment are inadequate or missing.
The National Bureau of Investigation and Finnish Customs are jointly investigating the incident as a case of export violations and violations of maritime safety regulations. The captain and first mate of the Ukrainian crew are to be questioned as suspects.
The explosives onboard are to be re-packed in transport containers on Friday. The Patriot missiles are being impounded and Customs has requested assistance from the Defence Forces in storing the missiles until their origin and destination can be confirmed.

[B]More on the subject:[/B]
Ed Jewett Wrote:[B]More on the subject:[/B]

Mmmmm...indeed...of a kind.Confusedmallprint:

69 Patriot Surface-to-Air Missiles Found On Boat To China

2011[Someone not only transferred American technology to China, they transferred a shitload of our best missiles to China!]

Patriot missiles found on China-bound ship

CBS News

[Image: british_ship_missiles_AP111221016996_ful...20x350.jpg]The cargo ship M/S Thor Liberty is seen at Mussalo harbour in Kotka, Finland, Dec. 21 2011. (AP Photo/Lehtikuva)

(AP)HELSINKI Around 160 tons of explosives and 69 surface-to-air missiles have been found by Finnish officials on a cargo ship bearing a British flag and ultimately destined for China, authorities said Wednesday. They said they didn't know the origin of the Patriot missiles or who was supposed to receive them.The M/S Thor Liberty sailed from the north German port of Emden on Dec. 13 and two days later docked in Kotka, southern Finland, to pick up a cargo of anchor chains, officials said. Its final destination was Shanghai, but it wasn't clear whether that's where the arms shipment was going, officials said.
Detective superintendent Timo Virtanen of the National Bureau of Investigation said dock workers found massive amounts of picric acid an explosive and the missiles as they were loading the chains and alerted inspectors.
Some of the explosives were not stored properly, customs spokesman Petri Lounatmaa said, adding that an investigation was launched into a possible breach of Finnish export and weapons trading laws and that the cargo would be impounded if determined to be illegal.
"At this stage we don't know where it was loaded on the ship or if the Thor Liberty planned a drop before its port of destination in China," Lounatmaa told The Associated Press.
The whole thing reeks of underhandedness. Fireworks on the manifest like some sick joke. A South Korean individual listed as the recipient. Isle of Man registered ship. Unprofessionally secured and transported. This is not how legitimate state to state arms transfers are done.
The actual destination is the key, but given the US military build-up in and around the Koreas, and the work done covering this by Bruce Gagnon and the Global Network ( Global Network - Keep Space for Peace! and Organizing Notes )(he's been sent an e-mail on this news), as well as the tightening tensions and missile games being played by China and the US and Russia, I am reminded of an old line about the theatre: "If there is a gun on the wall in Act One, it will have gone off by the end of Act Three".

So where are these "guns" headed?
Ed Jewett well as the tightening tensions and missile games being played by China and the US and Russia, ....

The game of Russian roulette is solely being played by the US. They are out of their territory on another continent. The continent occupied by China and Russia. They were otherwise sitting at home minding their own business till the US lobbed on their doorstep with Darth Vader and his death star arsenal.

Ed Jewett Wrote:...So where are these "guns" headed?

I'd guess, South Korea or even .....possibly Japan....though they are not supposed to have them. I doubt it was China but I am sure they already have the design for them :rofl:


Breaking: Patriot Missiles Seized, Sold To China by Israel

Iron Dome Defense Missiles Seized by Finland, Labeled "Fireworks"

69 Newest Patriot Missiles Bound For Reds

"The owner of the ship of record is Thorco Shipping. Their representative, Thomas Mikkelsen said he was unaware any such cargo was onboard his vessel"…a statement that categorically "debunks" attempts at denial Editor)


[Image: Thor-Liberty0021-320x193.jpg]Finnish authorities have confirmed the seizure of 69 Patriot missiles manufactured by Raytheon Corporation today.
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.
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.
[Image: MFC_PAC3_photo3_m-254x320.jpg]
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:
[Image: 750px-Two_F-22A_Raptor_in_column_flight_...20x256.jpg]
F-22A Raptors - America Top Fighter

The Lockheed Martin/Boeing F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-enginefifth-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.[SUP][6][/SUP]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 partner Boeing 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 Forceconsiders the F-22 a critical component of US tactical air power, and claims that the aircraft is unmatched by any known or projected fighter.[SUP][7][/SUP]
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.[SUP][8][/SUP] Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, former Chief of theAustralian Defence Force, said in 2004 that the "F-22 will be the most outstanding fighter plane ever built."[SUP][9][/SUP]
[Image: 763px-Two_F-22_Raptor_in_flying-150x150.jpg]
Raptor Formation

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.[SUP][N 1][/SUP]
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.[SUP][11][/SUP] 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.[SUP][2][/SUP]
[Image: 776px-F22_Raptor_info-640x494.jpg]
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 Guardian story suppressed in the United States:
[Image: JA-20-Stealth-Fighter-5th-Generation.jpg]
Chinese F22 Raptor Clone, 20 Years Early

[Image: guardian-web_1961817b-320x200.jpg]A photograph ofwhat 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.
The photograph, of what appears to be a prototype J-20 jet undergoing runway tests, has been circulating on the internet since last week, fueling speculation that China's fifth-generation fighter may fly ahead of forecast.
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 Ukranian aircraft carrier and wants to build its own by 2020.
[Image: 11-640x177.jpg]
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.
[Image: Patriot_missile_launch_b-252x320.jpg]
" Patriots Away "

These units, the most advanced Patriot system had only been supplied to 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 onboard his vessel.
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, certainly 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.
Finnish authorities indicate 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.

Posted by poorrichard at 10:23 AM
If it was South Korea they could have just bought them legitimately from Raytheon or the US as they are on their 'good guys' list. Why would they want to have 69 Patriot missiles off the books? To sell on to another 3rd party? Some one who can't have them? Japan?

The US would not be selling to China for all sorts of reasons, at least not officially. If China is indeed the end destination and they were not going to be off loaded along the way (still a distinct possibility imho since the recipient's name was Korean not Chinese) who would be willing to sell them Patriot missiles? Germany? Finland?

I wonder if Israel is missing 69 Patriot missiles? If they have that many spare that they don't need it looks like all the Iranians are not so dangerous after all. The Iron Dome is not needed. Or is sufficient as is. As it should be with their nuclear arsenal and Samson option.

If no one owns them and no one claims them what does Finland do with them? Destroy them? Sell them?

I checked out the shipping company. They describe themselves as 'young and dynamic' with 'Tailor Made Shipping Solutions'. Hungry for business. They have not yet turned a profit according to their Danish tax retuns.