Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Military Space News .




MILTECH
Corruption causes Cold War arms to still kill in Bulgaria
by Staff Writers
Sofia (AFP) June 13, 2012


Twenty years after the disbanding of the communist Warsaw Pact alliance, its weapons still kill in Bulgaria as lack of money and suspected corruption hinder the dismantling of tons of old munitions.

Three workers were killed and nine others injured last week in a series of explosions at an arms dismantling depot belonging to private company Bereta Trading, near the village of Lozenets in eastern Bulgaria.

The initial violent blast, which left a crater four to six metres (13 to 20 feet) deep, was probably due to a violation of safety regulations, prosecutors said.

The scale of the accident could have been limited if the company had not kept stocks of other munitions in the arms dismantling warehouse, deputy chief prosecutor Boyko Naydenov explained.

Survivors from the blasts -- all poor men from nearby villages -- told television crews that they were given for days training and paid 300 leva (150 euros, $187), barely above the minimum monthly wage of 290 leva, to do the dismantling.

"It is not that Bereta Trading could not hire professionals. It preferred to save on salaries," Trud newspaper commented after the explosions.

It noted that many specialists who were laid off from the arms industry after it was crippled following the fall of communism in 1989 were available to do the work.

"It is ridiculous to train people for four days to destroy explosives," security expert Ivan Boyadzhiev commented on state BNT television.

Iren Kostova, whose husband did not return from work after the explosion and is feared dead -- none of the bodies were found -- slammed the company's owner for the damages he said would pay.

"He evaluated my husband's life at 1,000 leva!" Kostova told private bTV television.

The injured men were promised half this sum.

Meanwhile, Bereta Trading reportedly paid for a 3,200-euro trip to Bali by a defence ministry official who played a key role in granting permits to the company, according to Bulgarian media.

"Corruption explodes and kills," Trud titled an article about the lucrative arms dismantling trade.

It cited a businessman from the sector who said his minimum annual profit amounted to 300 percent of his costs.

"It is only normal for these projectiles, mines and grenades to be destroyed by specialists. But this is not the case when big bucks are involved," the newspaper added.

Bulgaria had a 150,000-strong conscript army during communism that could reach up to 400,000 if reservists were called in, but this has now fallen to a professional force of just 30,000.

The shrinking in ranks landed Bulgaria with huge amounts of excess arms and munitions, which had to be stored somewhere while awaiting the necessary money for destruction.

As years went by, accidents started to multiply.

The first major one was in July 2008 when 20,000 tons of munitions exploded at an army depot just outside Sofia.

No one was killed, causing the media to speculate that the explosion may have been sparked deliberately to cover up large-scale theft at the depot.

Afterwards, the ministry of defence tasked private companies with destroying the remaining 43,500 tonnes of old munitions at 12 depots around the country. The law excluded foreign companies from the process.

Other accidents continued to occur but without major injuries.

The massive blasts last week, which rained shells all over a key highway intersection east of the capital, temporarily shutting it, fed the doubts about the capacity of Bulgarian companies to manage the job.

Defence Minister Anyu Angelov said he was considering changing the law in order to let EU companies step in to finish dismantling the remaining 15,000 tonnes.

However, feeble controls in the arms sector were highlighted again on Friday when police found 103 rockets in a minivan and believed them stolen, due to irregular paperwork.

The manufacturer, state arms giant VMZ Sopot, said it was just a routine transport.

.


Related Links
The latest in Military Technology for the 21st century at SpaceWar.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





MILTECH
US Marines fire Excalibur from record range in Afghanistan
Paris, France (SPX) Jun 13, 2012
The U.S. Marine Corps successfully fired two Raytheon Excalibur 155mm precision-guided artillery projectiles from a range of 36 kilometers (22.3 statute miles) in theater. These shots mark the longest distance the Excalibur round has been fired in combat since its fielding in 2007. "It is incredible to think about how this capability has evolved with its use over time, and these shots are ... read more


MILTECH
Missile defense system for Europe and potential threat to Russia

Rafael seeks to boost range of Iron Dome

Lockheed Martin Delivers Core Structure for Fourth SBIRS Satellite

NATO activates missile shield, reaches out to Russia

MILTECH
Lockheed Martin Partners With Turkey For PAC 3 Missile Canister Production

US Navy awards Raytheon $338 million for Tomahawk

Israel 'to evacuate Tel Aviv' in event of missile attack

Boeing Accepts Delivery of 1st Harpoon Launch Structure from Danish Aerotech

MILTECH
US drone kills three militants in Pakistan: officials

Karzai casts doubt on NATO air strike rules

Israel encrypts UAVs as cyberwar widens

US drone crashes in Maryland: Navy

MILTECH
Northrop Grumman Completes CDR For Integrated Air And Missile Defense Battle Command System

ASC Signal Introduces Redundancy Technology For Seamless Switching of Antenna Systems

Northrop Grumman Develops, Demonstrates SmartNode Pod

IGC and 3Di Team Up to Support Iraqi Military Network

MILTECH
Corruption causes Cold War arms to still kill in Bulgaria

US Marines fire Excalibur from record range in Afghanistan

Canada to spend $600 million on new armor

European country orders targeting system

MILTECH
Defense industries face $100B less orders

China, US smash international arms trafficking ring

Britain axes hundreds of Gurkhas in new round of cuts

German army aims to recruit more women soldiers: chief

MILTECH
India 'lynchpin' for US strategy in Asia: Panetta

British army to rely on allies, reservists as cuts bite

China, Russia vow to tighten UN partnership

US sees strategic role for Vietnam's southern port

MILTECH
Self-assembling nanocubes for next generation antennas and lenses

Researchers watch tiny living machines self-assemble

'Nanocable' could be big boon for energy storage

Researchers love triangles




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement