Saturday, June 14, 2008

The Rooskies

Cweldon Our new book, A Nuclear Family Vacation: Travels in the World of Atomic Weaponry, isn't all road trips and sightseeing. In between travels to nuclear bunkers and missile test ranges, we paid visits to gadflies of the nuclear world who we thought could help us plan our travels. That's how we (well, Sharon, anyhow) ended up in the office of Curt Weldon, the former Republican congressman from Pennsylvania.

Weldon, for those of you not familiar with the former lawmaker, was famous for securing funding for some Russian flying saucers, his conspiratorial belief that a classified program had identified several of the 9/11 terrorists, and his determination to insert himself in nuclear issues, ranging from North Korea to Iran. It was actually the Russians that got him in trouble. We'll get back to that.

We wanted to see Weldon because we were trying to get access to Russia's closed nuclear cities, and frankly, Weldon was known for having good contacts with the Russian government. How close? Well, we'll get to that, too. Weldon, on hearing of our interest, was thrilled to talk, just thrilled. Because he wanted to tell us all about how he could single-handedly solve the world's nuclear problems. I mean, this is a man who kept a mock-up of a suitcase nuke in his office.

This was in 2006. Not long after that,the FBI raided Weldon's office and he subsequently lost his seat in the House. It is suspected that Weldon may have helped secure funding for Russian companies that in turn, paid money to his daughter. Nowadays, it's tough to get Weldon, who is at the center of a corruption probe, to talk about Russia, let alone the International Exchange Group, or IEG, the nonprofit Russian corporation that appears to be part of the FBI's investigation into the former Congressman. The Kremlin-connected IEG, the Wall Street Journall notes, was dedicated to "promoting U.S.-Russia business exchange" and "removing bureaucratic obstacles to the implementation of U.S.-funded nonproliferation programs" in Russia.

Weldon remains under investigation, though he has not yet been charged. Ken Silverstein at Harper's has been covering this issue for several years now, as has Laura Rozen writing at War and Piece. But the latest twist comes from the Journal, which reported that IEG may have paid money to the wife of a Weldon staffer. Many of the questions center on the mysterious figure at the head of IEG, Vladimir Petrosyan, and his relationship with Weldon. How close were Petrosyan and Weldon?

@ Wired


H/T to Alan for the story.



carey said...

A sad day, weekend. We face it without Tim Russert.

Oh my. What a huge hole he leaves.

carey said...

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! We have the U.S. Open in golf in town and it's right near where we live. The place is jam packed.

Still, this weekend and month are leavened by the loss of such a giant.

Those tears you see on the TV from Russert's cohorts--damn real, aren't they? This is very sad.

Alan said...

There's more to the IEG story in the other links in that article. In particular the one by Laura Rozen. The Able Danger program was shut down because it found info incriminating Condi Rice and others in technology transfers to Russia. It wasn't AT ALL about 9/11, but like Sibel Edmonds found, corruption and dealing in weapon parts and military application technology.

micki said...

Toyota Prius Gen. 3 (5 seat midsize)

* Est release date: 2008-2009

What we know: The next generation Toyota Prius is going to be significantly redesigned, may be built in the United States, and while Toyota officials have confirmed that the new design will not be a plug-in hybrid, a Guardian news article quoted Shinichi Abe, head of Toyota’s hybrid division as saying that the next Prius model will be able to do a nine-mile commute to work without using any petrol or diesel, and rumors persist of a plug-in possibility, especially now that GM has announced plans for a plug-in Vue (see Saturn Green Line Vue, 2007).

Auto Express magazine in the UK reported in December 2006 that Toyota engineers are targeting a mileage rating of 113 mpg (other rumors have it more in the 70-90 mpg range -- the discrepancy may be due to the differences between the Japanese and American fuel economy tests), with improved 0-60 mph acceleration of less than 10 seconds.

The internal combustion part of the drive train is reported to be a new turbocharged 1.8L lean burn four cylinder. Toyota officials have confirmed that, due to development delays with Lithium Ion batteries, the next-generation Prius will feature more traditional NiMH batteries, with the increased fuel savings coming from drivetrain redesign and simplification. This simplification has led to reports that the sticker price of the Gen. 3 Prius could be significantly reduced, though Toyota officials have tempered reports that the cost could be “cut in half.”

micki said...


David B. Benson said...

$4.109 today.

Webb for Veep?

DEN said...

NiMH batteries only last 3-4 years, then install new ones, at what cost?

$4.599 Friday here.

Better energy storage is needed.

We have the technology.

We have the scientists.

Get to work.

DEN said...

Oil is history folks, time to move on.

The sooner we get funding to study 'viable' storage solutions the less painful the transition will be.


micki said...

hybrid batteries

DEN, I don't know if this claim is real or not, but here it 'tis.

I do have a friend who bought a 2002 Prius (new) and is still using the factory-installed original battery with no problems.

micki said...

Oh, I meant the claim in the link.

DEN said...

Borrowed time.

The piper will soon have to be paid.

micki said...

Jim Webb's Bio

If Obama's veepster vetters think Webb's the man, I think I'd have to disagree.

He's against the Iraq War of Choice, but.......that does not a vice president make.

David B. Benson said...


Beware the Chicago boys!

Obama appears less and less to be 'progressive'.

micki said...


David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Thanks for the link. Webb appears to have said he is not interested. Since he is in line to be senior senator from Virginia, I believe him.

micki said...

Well, I hope he's not interested.

BTW, I mentioned that CHI boy (and Yale boy) Austan Goolsbee, Obama's willingness to suspend regulation, and Big O's close ties to the Straussian/Friedmanian gang A LONG TIME AGO!

But, too many people fell in love with his rhetoric and his wonderful voice...

micki said...

Gee, sure are a lot of folks saying (emphatically) that they aren't interested.

I wonder if some internal polling is not looking so good...

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- The editors of The Nation ought to have you as a consultant.

Still in all, I'm going to renew my paper submission to that 'newspaper' tomorrow.

David B. Benson said...

Who was it that said of the vice-presidency that it wasn't worth a bucket of warm spit?

micki said...

Cactus Jack -- John Nance Garner. Legend has it that reporters changed what he REALLY said..."not worth a warm bucket of shit."

micki said...

oops...misplaced the "warm"

micki said...

One other thing about the Chicago connection....two authors (I don't recall their names) who consult with the Obama camp wrote a book about "libertarian paternalism" and "choice architecture" -- I haven't read the book, nor will I, but did read a review...

One of their ideas is a fundamentally old (and traditionally conservative) approach--creating incentives rather than directly regulating.


David B. Benson said...

Sounds like Cactus Jack...

Saladin said...

Tim Russert was a Zionist cheer leading war monger. Good Riddance to one more MSM talking head. How many more to go? Too many I guess.


Bush remembers NBC's Tim Russert fondly

Bush mourns NBC's Tim Russert, calling journalist 'A hard-working, thorough and decent man'

AP News

Jun 14, 2008 08:02 EST

President Bush mourned NBC correspondent Tim Russert at a news conference Saturday with France's president, calling the veteran newsman who died of a heart attack "a hard-working, thorough and decent man"

Bush said that he, Laura Bush and the American people have Russert's widow, Maureen, and son Luke in their thoughts and prayers, saying "I know they're hurting right now," and saying the 58-year-old Russert loved his job, his family and his country

"America lost a really fine man yesterday," said Bush, who appeared with President Nicolas Sarkozy for a question-and-answer session with American and French reporters in Paris amid their talks on a host of country-to-country and global issues

"We're going to miss him," Bush said of Russert, saying he had been privileged to be interviewed by the NBC correspondent and Washington bureau chief for the network
HafuckinHa! Bush will miss him. You should too!

micki said...

Dear me.

I wonder if Ty the Preacher will jump on Saladin for being disrespectful.

Somehow I doubt it.

(Saladin, I'm not jumping on you...just calling attention to hypocrisy.)

tytandanmar said...


I didn't jump on you. I just thought you were wrong to use the analogy of Russert having an enlarged heart to Cheney having none. You could call Cheney heartless all day long and I could care less. But that doesn't mean that Russert had more of a heart.

Saladin doesn't like Russert. That is her opinion and her right.

By the way, crisy, I am not a hypo.

tytandanmar said...

Is anyone claiming the gummint blowed up those levees in Iowa like they did in Norleens?

Didn't think so.