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Russian Politician (Lebed) Dies in Plane Crash: Warned US Congress about Suitcase Nukes!
BBC ^ | April 29, 2002 | BBC

Posted on 04/29/2002 8:43:04 AM PDT by FresnoDA

Russian politician dies in air crash

Lebed (l) with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin in 1996
Lebed (l) with former Russian President Boris Yeltsin
Former Russian presidential candidate Alexander Lebed has died from injuries sustained in a helicopter crash in Siberia.

The Mi-8 helicopter is said to have hit a power line in poor weather conditions at 0615 local time before crashing near Abakan, about 2,100 miles (3,400km) east of Moscow.

Lebed, elected governor of the huge Krasnoyarsk region in 1998 and once a prominent army general, was taken to a nearby hospital with severe injuries but later died.

At least five other people were killed in the crash.

He and other local officials were on their way to open a new ski centre in the district of Yermakovskoye.

Popular figure

Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent his condolences to Lebed's family.

Russian tank in Chechnya
Lebed is widely credited with ending the 1994-96 Russian war in Chechnya

A commission to investigate the crash, headed by Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu, has also been set up, Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Lebed, 52, who came third in the Russian presidential election of 1996, was once considered a possible successor to President Boris Yeltsin.

He was widely credited with ending Russia's 1994-96 campaign in Chechnya, and was a popular figure with the Russian people.

He trained as a paratrooper before rising through the military ranks to become battalion commander during the Soviet military campaign in Afghanistan from 1981-82.

He won plaudits for his action during the attempted August 1991 coup against then Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, when he refused to deploy his troops against coup opponents.

After resigning in 1995 from the army he unsuccessfully ran for the Russian presidency.

However, following his election as governor to Siberia's Krasnoyarsk region, some had hoped he would run again, but he declined.

TOPICS: Extended News; News/Current Events; Russia
KEYWORDS: loosenukes; middleeastconflict; russia; wmd
Sunday, April 28, 2002 11:18 p.m. EDT

Russian Gen. Lebed Warned of Suitcase Nukes, Dies in Crash

Former top Russian security official Gen. Aleksandr Lebed, who warned the U.S. Congress five years ago that at least 80 suitcase-sized nukes from the old Soviet Union's weapons arsenal had gone missing, was killed Sunday in a helicopter crash.

At the time of his death, Lebed was governor of the huge Krasnoyarsk region of Russia, and was considered a key regional leader, the Associated Press said.

A national hero, Lebed was a battalion commander in 1981 during the Soviet war in Afghanistan, where he won top military honors. But his popularity went far beyond military circles, with a career that had earned him a national reputation as someone who was willing to confront the Russian establishment.

For the U.S., however, Lebed's most significant legacy may turn out to be the information he imparted to Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Pa., during a 1997 fact-finding trip to Russia.

Weldon recounted Lebed's bombshell revelation during a March appearance on Fox News Channel's "Hannity & Colmes":

"This goes back to May of 1997 when I took one of my delegations to meet with General Lebed, who had just stepped down as Yeltsin's top security adviser.

"He was talking about the state of the Russian military and how generals and admirals were selling off technology they used to control because they felt betrayed by the motherland.

"It was then that he related a story to myself and six of my colleagues that he was assigned by Yeltsin to account for 132 small atomic demolition munitions. These are commonly referred to as suitcase nukes."

Weldon continued:

"He said, 'Congressman, I used all the leverage I have as the president's adviser. We could only locate 48.' Which meant that there were over 80 small atomic demolition devices with the capacity of one to 10 kilotons that they just could not locate.

"I came back and briefed the CIA and they said, 'Basically, we have no way of knowing [if that's true],'" Weldon recalled.

Russian officials subsequently denied Lebed's claim. But U.S. government officials remain concerned that rogue elements in the Mideast - terrorists Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein - may have gotten their hands on some of the missing Russian suitcase nukes.

In September, Rep. Chris Shays, R-Ct., chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, said "We don't really have a straight answer from our own government" on whether Lebed's report was accurate.

In 1992, former senior KGB intelligence officer Stanislav Lunev defected to the U.S. and revealed KGB plans to plant dozens of suitcase-sized nukes throughout the U.S. He documented his account in his 1992 book, "Through the Eyes of the Enemy."

Lunev is now a contributing writer for

In 1999, a second KGB intelligence officer, Vasili Mitrokhin, defected to Great Britain and corroborated many of Lunev's claims.

1 posted on 04/29/2002 8:43:05 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: dennisw;mixer;poohbah


More than 12,000 Mi-8 Hip multi-purpose helicopters have been produced.

More than 12,000 Mi-8 (NATO codename Hip) multi-purpose helicopters have been produced with more than 2,800 exported and they are operational with over 50 air forces worldwide.

The helicopters are manufactured by the Mil Moscow Helicopter Plant JSC in Moscow and the Kazan Helicopter Plant JSC in Kazan and are available in civil and military versions. The military variants include the Mi-8T transport, VIP transport, electronic warfare, reconnaissance, Mi-8TV armed version and the search and rescue Mi-8MPS. Recent orders include 40 Mi-8TV helicopters for India to be fitted with Vikhr-M (AT-16) air-to-surface missiles, delivered by the end of 2001.

2 posted on 04/29/2002 8:48:40 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA

CNS Reports

Are Suitcase Nukes on the Loose?
The Story Behind the Controversy

By Scott Parrish

November 1997

View the summary version.

Former Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed has stirred controversy in both Russia and the United States with his allegations that the Russian government is currently unable to account for some eighty small atomic demolition munitions (ADMs) which were manufactured in the USSR during the Cold War. Lebed originally made the allegations in a closed meeting with a US congressional delegation in May 1997. His charges generated public controversy three months later when he repeated them in an interview with the CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes, which was broadcast on 7 September 1997.1 Russian officials initially dismissed Lebed’s charges, saying all of the country’s nuclear weapons were accounted for and under strict control. Top-ranking Russian defense officials later went further and denied that any such weapons had ever been built by the USSR, claiming that they would be too expensive to maintain and too heavy for practical use. Lebed has stood by his statement, however, and his charges have been backed by a former advisor to President Yeltsin, Aleksey Yablokov, who told a US Congressional subcommittee on 2 October 1997 that he was “absolutely sure” that such ADMs had been ordered in the 1970s by the KGB.

Entire Report Here

3 posted on 04/29/2002 8:48:52 AM PDT by RCW2001
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To: FresnoDA
If it ain't a recently depot-maintained Sikorsky CH-53E Super Stallion, I ain't riding it...
4 posted on 04/29/2002 8:50:43 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: FresnoDA;Uncle Bill
Well, well, well..what a coinky dink.
5 posted on 04/29/2002 8:50:55 AM PDT by Registered
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To: FresnoDA
6 posted on 04/29/2002 8:56:44 AM PDT by NorseWood
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To: Poohbah

CH-53E "Super Stallion"

Photos by SSgt W. D. Crow.

Primary Function:  Transport of heavy equipment and supplies during the ship-to-shore movement of an amphibious assault and during subsequent operations ashore.

Manufacturer:  Sikorsky Aircraft division of United Technologies, Inc., Stratford, Connecticut.

Length:  99 feet 1/2 inch

Height:  28 feet 4 inches

Rotor diameter:  79 feet

Max Cruise Speed:  161 miles per hour (150 knots).  Max Speed:  184 miles per hour (170 knots).

Maximum takeoff weight:  Internal load:  69,750 pounds; External load 73,500 pounds

Range:  Without refueling: 540 miles; With aerial refueling:  Indefinite

Armament:  Two XM-218 .50 caliber machineguns

Crew:  3

Introduction date:  June 1981

Unit Replacement Cost:  $36,000,000

Mission:  The CH-53E is the heavy lift helicopter of the Marine Corps.  The Super Stallion is compatible with most amphibious class ships and is carried routinely aboard LHA (Landing, Helicopter, Assault), LPH (Landing Platform, Helicopter) and LHD (Landing, Helicopter, Dock) type ships.  The helicopter is capable of lifting 16 tons at sea level, transporting the load 50 nautical miles and returning.  A typical load could be a 16,000 pound M198 Howitzer or a 26,000 pound Light Armored Vehicle.  The aircraft can also retrieve downed aircraft including another CH-53E.  The Super Stallion is equipped with an inflight refueling probe which gives the aircraft an indefinite range.

Features:  The CH-53E is a follow-on for its predecessor, the CH-53D.  Improvements include the addition of a third engine to give the aircraft the ability to lift the majority of the Fleet Marine Force's equipment, a dual point cargo hook system, improved main rotor blades, and composite tail rotor blades.  A dual digital automatic flight control system and engine anti-ice system give the aircraft an all-weather capability.  The helicopter seats 37 combat loaded Marines in its normal configuration and has provisions to carry 55 with centerline seats installed.  

USMC Inventory:  160.

Other Users:  United States Navy, MH-53E; Japanese Maritime Self Defense Forces, MH-53J.

Background:  The CH-53E has consistently proven its worth to the Fleet commanders with its versatility and range.  With four and one half hours unrefueled endurance, the Super Stallion can move more equipment over rugged terrain, in bad weather and at night, than any other USMC aircraft.  During Operation Eastern Exit, January, 1990,  two CH-53E's launched from amphibious ships and flew 463 nautical miles (532.45 statute miles) at night, refueled twice enroute, to rescue  American Embassy personnel in the civil-war torn capital of Mogadishu, Somalia.  In June 1995, two Super Stallions rescued Air Force Capt. Scott O'Grady in Bosnia.

7 posted on 04/29/2002 8:59:42 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: Registered
Yes, or as the church lady might say, "Well isn't that convennnnnnient!!"
8 posted on 04/29/2002 9:00:26 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: RCW2001
I flew in a Mi-8 once.

Once is statistically invalid, but the once was a p.o.s. shaking towards midair disassembly.

I guess it wasn't that bad: it didn't crash that day. Two days later it tossed a main blade, all killed.

Statistically invalid.

9 posted on 04/29/2002 9:08:20 AM PDT by AzJP
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To: AzJP
Friends don't let friends ride Mi-8s...
10 posted on 04/29/2002 9:09:47 AM PDT by Poohbah
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To: FresnoDA
About all the tin-foil action regarding the legendary "suitcase nukes".

Has anyone come up with an answer to how much decay the deuterium, necessary to operate a small nuke, has occured in these old Soviet devices? I've heard that these things won't operate after 7 years or so, because the deuterium must be reprocessed to maintain its purity.

But then, what do I know. I'm a software guy.

11 posted on 04/29/2002 9:17:52 AM PDT by narby
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To: narby
I don't know if you heard this or not but US and Russian Intelligence, not to mention second hand reports from afgahan talk about Bin Laden trying to buy a suitcase Nuke from the Russian Mafia, he paid them a large amount of money between 20 to 50 million, no ones sure enough yet, and they ripped him off. The smeared the plutonium on alot of parts so the radiation detectors would go off and put some useless chemicals inside. They got paid and disappeared, and Al Quada got junk.
12 posted on 04/29/2002 10:14:01 AM PDT by Sonny M
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

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