India nuclear test ‘did not work’

By Sanjoy Majumder
BBC News, Delhi

In a file photo from 1974, a crater is shown in the Thar desert area southwest of New Delhi where India conducted an underground nuclear test. India successfully tested three devices in the same area on Monday May 11,1998. (AP Photo/HO)

India’s nuclear tests shocked the world

A retired atomic scientist who was closely associated with India’s 1998 nuclear tests has said they were not as successful as was claimed.

K Santhanam said one of the tests – on a hydrogen bomb – had not worked, and that India would have to carry out more tests for a credible nuclear deterrent.

His statement has been dismissed by the government and his former colleagues.

The Indian tests led to similar tests by Pakistan, raising fears of a nuclear conflict between the two countries.


K Santhanam is a respected Indian atomic scientist who was project director of the 1998 nuclear tests.

He now says that one of the five tests that were carried out, in which a thermonuclear device or hydrogen bomb was detonated, did not perform as well as expected.

He also said that everyone associated with the tests immediately recognised that something had gone wrong.

If his statement is accurate it points to a massive cover-up by India and also confirms what many in the West suspected at the time – that the nuclear devices India tested were not as powerful as had been thought.

India’s government has dismissed Mr Santhanam’s claim, which has also been disputed by senior officials of the BJP-led government which carried out the tests.

The scientist says that India is coming under pressure to sign up to the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, a move he says would be disastrous since he contends that the country does not yet have a credible nuclear deterrent.

FireShot Pro capture #094 - 'Nuclear Weapons - India Nuclear Forces' - www_fas_org_nuke_guide_india_nuke

Tensions with BSF increase in Sevastopol

Tensions with BSF increase in Sevastopol

Journal Staff Report

KIEV, Aug. 26 – Russia’s Black Sea Fleet forces on Wednesday detained Ukrainian court officers in Sevastopol after the officers tried to enforce a court ruling that had ordered return of some navigation equipment to Ukraine.

The officers were later released to police in Sevastopol, but the incident could have “tragic consequences” for the people involved, the BSF press service said, according to Interfax-Ukraine.

The development dangerously escalates tensions between Ukraine and Russia whose relations are already at the lowest point since the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

“The court officers intentionally broke international agreements by penetrating illegally to the facility that is under security protection, putting not only themselves, but also witnesses, in danger,” the BSF said in a statement. “The responsibility for the possible tragic consequences of such incidents fully lies with organizers of such provocations.”

This is the first time that Ukrainian citizens have been detained by the armed foreign forces on the territory of Ukraine, which sets a dangerous precedent that may have serious consequences.

A legislation recently suggested by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev would allow Russian troops based in other countries to open fire for self-protection.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, which appears to be seriously concerned with the legislation, has been seeking to get more details over how the legislation would affect Ukraine, home to Russia’s naval Black Sea Fleet.

The escalation comes after Ukraine on Tuesday vigorously denied Russia’s allegations that Ukrainian troops had been helping Georgia to fight off Russian army during their five-day war a year ago.

Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, the head of the SBU security service, said the allegations represent “a lying statement,” while Kostiantyn Hryshchenko, Ukraine’s ambassador to Russia, said the allegations point to either “unprofessional” investigation or an outright “order” to discredit Ukraine.

Vladimir Markin, Russia’s special representative of the chief investigation committee under the Prosecutor General Office, said Monday the committee had uncovered “evidence” of Ukrainian troop involvement in the Russia-Georgia war. He said undisclosed number of the Ukrainian troops and about 200 volunteers have been helping Georgia to fight off Russia during the war in August 2008.

No evidence, however, has been presented to the Ukrainian ambassador at a high-level meeting at the Russian Foreign Ministry, Hryshchenko said.

The escalation comes a week after Medvedev has accused his Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yushchenko of “anti-Russian” policy.

This underscores Moscow’s increasingly assertive foreign policy and fuels fears in Ukraine that Russia may be preparing for some sort of a clash with Ukraine, perhaps in Crimea, an autonomous region that is populated mostly by ethnic Russians.

In August 2008, Russia sent tens of thousands of troops and tanks into Georgia, a small pro-Western ally of Ukraine.

The five-day incursion ended with a de-facto annexation of Georgia’s two breakaway territories, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a move that had been condemned by most countries in the world. (tl/ez)

The rest of the story is available to subscribers only.

Black Sea lighthouse stirs Russia-Ukraine tension

Black Sea lighthouse stirs Russia-Ukraine tension

By Dmitry Solovyov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia accused Kiev of attempting to seize property belonging to its Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine on Thursday, in a sign of escalating tension between the two ex-Soviet neighbors.

Russia’s Black Sea Fleet said it had barred Ukrainian court bailiffs as they tried to seize navigation equipment at a lighthouse in Khersones, on the outskirts of the Ukrainian Crimean port city of Sevastopol — home to the Russian fleet for more than two centuries.

Russian television showed fleet servicemen in full combat gear with submachine guns at the ready forming a chain to guard the territory of the lighthouse. Bailiffs were shown being handed over to Ukraine’s police by the Russians.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia’s Black Sea fleet found itself based on territory belonging to independent Ukraine. Kiev has told Moscow it must abandon the base at Sevastopol when a 20-year lease expires in 2017, but Russia wants to extend the arrangement.

Thursday’s incident highlighted the emotional nature of the Sevastopol dispute, part of broader tensions between the two countries that have led to interruption of gas supplies to Europe and harsh exchanges between their leaders.

“The command of the Black Sea Fleet warns that the responsibility for possible tragic consequences of such incidents will rest entirely with those organizing such provocations,” the fleet said in a statement posted on the Russian Defense Ministry’s Web site

It said only Russian laws were valid on the territory of Russian Black Sea Fleet facilities, despite it being in Ukraine.

Ukraine accused its neighbor of “twisting the facts,” Interfax news agency reported, citing a source in Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry.


“The incident…(reflects a wish) to blame the Ukrainian side for the escalation of conflict,” the agency quoted him as saying. It gave no details of Ukraine’s version of events.

Ukrainian officials could not be immediately reached for comment. Officials in Kiev had said earlier that despite the fact some facilities like lighthouses are under Russia’s jurisdiction, Ukraine may claim its rights to them because they are deployed on lands that do not belong to Russia’s military.

The issue of Sevastopol and Russia’s Black Sea Fleet deployed there is a painful irritant in the icy relations between former imperial master Moscow and Kiev which has been seeking closer ties with the West and NATO membership.

In 1954 Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave Russia’s Crimean peninsula to Ukraine in a gesture of “brotherly love.” The act had little beyond symbolic importance at the time as Russia and Ukraine formed part of the Soviet Union under Kremlin control.

Ukrainian refusal to accept any extension has angered Moscow and pro-Russian locals who see Sevastopol as the natural home of the Russian fleet.

(Reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Editing by Ralph Boulton)

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet

Bill would give president emergency control of Internet

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance, which counts representatives of Verizon, Verisign, Nortel, and Carnegie Mellon University on its board. “It is unclear what authority Sen. Rockefeller thinks is necessary over the private sector. Unless this is clarified, we cannot properly analyze, let alone support the bill.”

Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller’s aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday.

A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. A Senate source familiar with the bill compared the president’s power to take control of portions of the Internet to what President Bush did when grounding all aircraft on Sept. 11, 2001. The source said that one primary concern was the electrical grid, and what would happen if it were attacked from a broadband connection.

When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. “We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs–from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,” Rockefeller said.

The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, D.C., about the government’s role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is “not as prepared” as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.

Rockefeller’s revised legislation seeks to reshuffle the way the federal government addresses the topic. It requires a “cybersecurity workforce plan” from every federal agency, a “dashboard” pilot project, measurements of hiring effectiveness, and the implementation of a “comprehensive national cybersecurity strategy” in six months–even though its mandatory legal review will take a year to complete.

The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. “As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,” he says.

Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.” The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government. (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF’s Tien says. “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review. That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”

Translation: If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.

The Internet Security Alliance’s Clinton adds that his group is “supportive of increased federal involvement to enhance cyber security, but we believe that the wrong approach, as embodied in this bill as introduced, will be counterproductive both from an national economic and national secuity perspective.”

Declan McCullagh is a contributor to CNET News and a correspondent for who has covered the intersection of politics and technology for over a decade. Declan writes a regular feature called Taking Liberties, focused on individual and economic rights; you can bookmark his CBS News Taking Liberties site, or subscribe to the RSS feed. You can e-mail Declan at

Ex-CIA official John Helgerson says agents lost control after torture go-ahead

Ex-CIA official John Helgerson says agents lost control after torture go-ahead

Tim Reid in Washington

The author of a scathing report on CIA interrogations during the Bush era has claimed that certain operatives lost control once they had been authorised to use “enhanced” interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

John Helgerson, the former inspector-general of the CIA, also told The Times that the Obama Administration had cut key passages of his report out of the released version, a decision he found “puzzling”.

Mr Helgerson told The Times that the CIA had given assurances to the Justice Department that although the techniques would be used more than once, repetition would “not be substantial”.

In fact, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11, 2001, attacks, was waterboarded 183 times in March 2003 — the month he was captured — while Abu Zubaydah, another top al-Qaeda official, was waterboarded 83 times.

“The very large number of applications to which some detainees were subjected [to the waterboard] led to the inescapable conclusion that the agency was abusing this technique,” Mr Helgerson said.

In the report, which was suppressed for five years until it was released under a judge’s order on Monday, Mr Helgerson says that in 2002 the Justice Department authorised a dozen harsh interrogation techniques for terror suspects and advised the CIA that they did not constitute torture.

Yet, he said, the Justice Department did not consider in 2002 whether such methods —

now banned — were in contravention of Article 16 of the UN Torture Convention, which prohibits cruel or degrading treatment and to which the US is a signatory.

“In fact,” Mr Helgerson said, “it appeared that certain of the techniques were designed solely because they were degrading.”

His report detailed a litany of excesses in secret CIA “black site” prisons between 2002 and 2004, described as “unauthorised, improvised, inhumane and undocumented”. Interrogators staged mock executions, repeatedly choked a detainee, lifted another off the floor by his arms while they were bound behind his back with a belt, threatened sexually to assault a prisoner’s mother and kill another’s children, scrubbed one inmate with a stiff brush until his legs were raw and beat one man with a heavy torch.

The revelations in the report convinced Mr Obama’s Attorney-General, Eric Holder, to announce on Monday a criminal investigation of detainee abuse by the CIA.

Mr Helgerson was particularly critical of the Justice Department for poor oversight. He said that even the CIA operatives who exceeded its guidelines were acting in good faith, because they believed that they would gain valuable intelligence.

To Mr Helgerson’s dismay, his final recommendations — which centred on the training and oversight of CIA interrogators, and the legal boundaries in which they should operate — were blacked out by the Obama Administration when it released his report on Monday.

His report has only fuelled the emotive debate over whether torture works. Mr Helgerson concedes that the interrogation sessions elicited an enormous amount of valuable intelligence — an observation pounced upon by Dick Cheney, the former Vice-President. Yet Mr Helgerson cannot say if it was the harshness of the tactics that produced the information or other factors.

“It was not self-evident that the information that was most useful followed a session where somebody was waterboarded. Perhaps it was only because he had been in detention for a long time or had been questioned by someone using traditional techniques,” Mr Helgerson said.

Truth Jihad Radio Discusses Psychiatric Abuse–Saturday,5-7 pm Central

Truth Jihad Radio Discusses Psychiatric Abuse–Saturday

Dr. Kevin Barrett of Truth Jihad focuses on medical professionals’ collaboration with CIA mind-control manipulators in torture/interrogation tactics used at Guantanamo,  Abu Gharib and elsewhere.  “Weaponizing Psychology” to be included.
This Saturday on Truth Jihad Radio, Dr. William Woodward, professor of psychology at the University of New Hampshire, will deliver his professional opinion concerning the respective sanity of Clare Swinney and the psychiatrists who institutionalized her for believing that 9/11 was an inside job. Then Clare Swinney herself will join us to tell her amazing, outrageous story. For details, see:

Clare is a journalist from New Zealand who began reporting on the holes in the official story of 9/11 and was subsequently threatened and finally incarcerated in the summer of 2006. During that same summer, Sean Hannity was calling me “a nut” and Bill O’Reilly was suggesting I should be killed in a mafia hit because I thought 9/11 was an inside job…while William Woodward, another 9/11-truth-seeking college teacher, was also being targeted by the forces of treason.

Psychology professor William Woodward tells me he will be consulting with a clinical psychologist in studying the horrendous ordeal of Clare Swinney and delivering his professional opinion. 

We will also be discussing the larger subject of psychiatric abuse (see Weaponizing Psychology).

Somebody’s crazy here…but who? Find out this Saturday, August 27th, on Truth Jihad Radio, 5-7 pm Central, (to be archived at

Kevin Barrett
Author, Questioning the War on Terror: A Primer for Obama Voters:

Weaponizing Psychology

Treating People Like Dogs