The Friends of California Libre...

14 October 2001


Greetings, friends,
Okay, while we were worried about other things, here's one that slipped beneath the radar. Dig this idiot: (From Deutsche Welle)
The German government ordered a review of security at nuclear plants yesterday after the discovery in a blackberry bush of a glass tube containing plutonium, apparently borrowed by an employee at a reprocessing plant. As ecologists threatened to sue, J�rgen Trittin, the Environment Minister, accused the authorities of the southern Land of Baden-W�rtemberg of "flagrant security failures" at the Karlsruhe facility. Abnormally high radiation levels were measured in the employee, a 49-year-old man, as well as in his girlfriend and her daughter. The worker and the girlfriend were detained yesterday for smuggling the material out of the plant. The incident came to light when a routine urine test on the employee detected radiation levels several hundred times above normal. Further checks revealed radioactive hot-spots in the man's home and his car. The suspect led investigators to an abandoned French military airfield in southern Germany.
(From the BBC) THE arrest of a 49-year-old worker who successfully smuggled plutonium out of a recycling plant has highlighted the lax security of German nuclear reactors and the risks of closing down atomic plants. The man, named only as Johannes M., was helping to dismantle a recycling plant in Karlsruhe in southwest Germany. He told police that he was merely trying to expose the weak security of the plant but detectives are investigating whether he was trying to sell the plutonium to terrorists or aspiring nuclear states. The smuggled quantity appears to have been small � a tiny phial that could be hidden in a rubber glove � and well below the mass needed to produce a bomb. Even so, security at the plant was so poor that the man could have made several smuggling trips. A spokesman for the Stuttgart Environment Ministry said last night that every worker in the plant had to take off his safety suit at the end of the shift. He or she then takes a shower using an especially strong soap and can put on private clothing only if a geiger counter registers zero radiation. Some workers have to pass through five separate controls. Plainly, however, the system does not work. Herr M. carried the tube out in his trousers and kept it at home. When a routine urine check showed that he had high levels of radiation in his body, he told his wife to wrap the tube in a glove and bury it under a hedge. A spokesman for the Greens, the junior partner in the German Government, said that security at the plant seemed to be about as thorough as in a chip shop.

Oh, do wonders never cease? I wish I had a poem for these weird times. Instead I picked one out by Philip Larkin, a librarian who changed my life, helping me sit in the dark alone and rush into the future with you on this electronic tether, my friends,
Stopping the diary
Was a stun to memory,
Was a blank starting,
One no longer cicatrized
By such words, such actions
As bleakened waking.
I wanted them over,
Hurried to burial
And looked back on
Like the wars and winters
Missing behind the windows
Of an opaque childhood.
And the empty pages?
Should they ever be filled
Let it be with observed
Celestial recurrences,
The day the flowers come;
And when the birds go.

And then one by Mahmud el-Sakh, an Arab poet living in Israel:
Tears will be tears
And sadness will be sadness
And the roses that laugh everywhere
Keep uniting us in love
Will the terraces write us down some day
In their lovely notebook?
Will the Earth read us
Some day
Into its sweet song?
One year buds
Another follows
While the heart pines for the rose
Is pained by war, is pained by war.

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