Op andere sites online
February 02, 2004
Abdul Qadeer Khan: Nuclear scientist for tyranny
There is no way to measure the betrayal of mankind represented by Pakistani
scientist Abdul Qadeer Khans selling of nuclear secrets to Lybia,
Iran and North Korea.
What made the Cold War so dangerous? It was nuclear
weapons in the hands of dictatorships, first the Soviet Union and then
China. If the Free World made a move to free an oppressed nation from
the totalitarian sphere, it risked nuclear war. As much
as the Free World wanted to help, it had no obligation to commit suicide.
The urge to free other nations wasnt for
empire or hegemony or even free trade. It was based on the
premise that all humans have a right to be free, and the practical reality
that, once freed, democracies rarely go to war with each other. Helping
dictators only blocks progress toward peace.
The prinicipal reason no two democracies went
to war with each other in the entire 20th century was that democracies,
as imperfect as they are, are open and accountable enough to provide
countless chances to avoid war with other democracies. If you can see
what a neighboring nations plans are, in its speeches, debates
and free press, you can see when that nation is upset about something
youre doing, and you can prevent a violent collision by talking,
negotiating and adjusting.
Thats why the end of the Soviet Union and
the beginning of democracy in Russia was so helpful. Here was a nuclear
power, made especially dangerous by the unaccountability, unpredictability
and secrecy of dictatorship. Today, Russia has more nuclear weapons
than the United States, but because of its democracy shaky as
it is Russia is an infinitely safer member of the world community
than it was just 15 years ago.
Which brings us back to Abdul Qadeer Khan. What
treachery it is to all who love peace and freedom that he would sell
off nuclear secrets, and in particular that he would sell them to three
of the most repressive dictatorships in the world.
Lybia, fortunately, appears to be surrendering
its nuclear ambitions. Iran is pretending to do the same, but will need
close watching. But North Koreas tyrannical rogue, Kim Jong Il,
either has used Khans technical assistance to build a few nuclear
warheads, or he is just about to.
The revelations of Khans betrayal come
just as defectors from North Korea are revealing the extent of torture
and murder in Kims concentration camps, including Camp 22, where
occasionally political prisoners often with their whole families
are placed in a gas chamber in painfully deadly chemical experiments.
Its bad enough that nuclear dictatorships
can push other nations around. Its important to remember that
these dictators also are able to get away with the most ghastly of crimes
against their own people because they know no outsider can challenge
their nuclear shield.
Who knows when, but someday North Korea will
be free. And when Kims camps are emptied, the mamed and mangled
prisoners, if any survive, will have every right to blame Abdul Qadeer
Khan for prolonging their suffering and delaying the day of their liberation.
Nation & World 2/16/04
Selling the Bomb
Pakistani scientist A. Q. Khan is the Johnny Appleseed
of nuclear weapons technology
By Thomas Omestad
Pakistanis know him as a gentle man who reads poetry and feeds the
wild monkeys in the forest by his house--but also as a patriot of
the first order. Abdul Qadeer Khan is revered as the father of Pakistan's
crash program to make atomic weapons, the first so-called Islamic
bomb. But in recent days Khan's larger-than-life persona has been
recast by extraordinary revelations that expose him as the master
of a shadowy world of nuclear intrigue.
Khan, 67, who confessed last week to trading nuclear equipment and
know-how to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, was a pioneer of sorts in
a dangerous growth industry: marketing the means to make the bomb.
U.S. and other officials count Khan's outing as a major success in
the fight to stop the spread of nuclear technology to rogue states
and perhaps terrorists. "The source of the goodies is dried up,"
says a senior State Department official.
But all is not well. A Pakistani probe launched
under pressure from the Bush administration and the International
Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations watchdog, revealed an eye-popping
global network of suppliers and middlemen--from agents in Germany
to brokers in Dubai to a factory allegedly making gas-centrifuge parts
The IAEA and U.S. intelligence funneled to
Pakistan evidence of the proliferation schemes, though until recently
President Pervez Musharraf roundly denied them. The IAEA, the CIA,
and other spy agencies are now trying to pick their way through Khan's
network, honed over a quarter century of buying parts for Pakistan's
own drive for a nuclear arsenal. The European-trained metallurgist
began his labors in the 1970s by allegedly stealing centrifuge technology
from a Dutch firm.
Some suspects in the procurement network have
been detained for questioning. "Khan is seemingly the guiding
hand, but after you cut off the head of the serpent, there are still
a lot of little serpents left around," says a western diplomat
who follows the IAEA's investigations. Another knowledgeable diplomat
tells U.S. News that the IAEA and spy agencies are "deeply concerned"
over whether any terrorist cells sought to buy nuclear designs or
equipment through the network and are probing the matter.
The Bush administration is pleased that Khan
has been "neutralized," as one senior official puts it.
It has asked Musharraf to permit American experts to question Khan
and his associates, which Pakistan is resisting. Yet U.S. officials
last week were protective of Musharraf, a key ally in the war on terror,
and they said they accept his assurances that military leaders did
not approve of or wink at the nuclear deals.
Secret deals. But nuclear analysts and many
Pakistanis suspect a coverup. Indeed, it's unlikely that Khan instigated
such wide-ranging nuclear transfers from the late 1980s to late last
year without the military's involvement. Khan maintained several houses,
foreign bank accounts, and a flamboyant lifestyle--all on a government
salary of $2,000 a month. Western diplomats say Iran received both
parts and designs for the centrifuges needed to enrich uranium into
bomb-grade material. Libya got all that--and a blueprint for a nuclear
warhead. And North Korea took centrifuge know-how in exchange for
ballistic missile technology vital to developing Pakistan's military
deterrent against India.
Khan reportedly told a friend--before his confession--that
three Army chiefs, including Musharraf, knew about the North Korea
trade. And according to Robert Oakley, a former U.S. ambassador to
Pakistan, one of Musharraf's predecessors as Army chief of staff told
him in 1991 that Pakistan would provide nuclear assistance to Iran
in return for oil and political support. "Khan's been allowed
to run loose," Oakley says. "They [the Army] knew something
was going on, but I suspect they decided not to ask too many detailed
Many Pakistanis find Khan's humiliation appalling.
They believe he is being scapegoated to appease the Americans and
protect the military--an accusation Musharraf denies. In a televised
apology, a contrite Khan took full responsibility and absolved the
government of complicity. The next day, Musharraf pardoned him. "Dr.
Qadeer is our hero. He is being penalized just because he has given
us the nuclear bomb to face India," says Wahid Hussein, the owner
of an auto-parts store in Karachi. If Musharraf cannot convince Pakistanis
otherwise, he may yet face their wrath.
With Aamir Latif
confession statement concocted: N. Korea
SEOUL: Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan's confession that he sold
nuclear weapons technology to North Korea was a lie cooked up by the United
States to justify an invasion, Pyongyang said on Tuesday.
Dr A.Q. Khan's confession, made last Wednesday,
came three weeks before North Korea is scheduled to join the United States,
China, Japan, Russia and South Korea for a second round of talks in Beijing,
on Feb 25, to try to end the North's nuclear weapons programmeme.
In Pyongyang's first reaction, a foreign ministry
spokesman said the United States had fabricated Dr Khan's story to derail
the nuclear talks and lay the groundwork for an Iraq-style invasion.
"The United States is now hyping the story
about the transfer of nuclear technology to the DPRK (North Korea) by
a Pakistani scientist in a bid to make the DPRK's enriched uranium programmeme
sound plausible," said the spokesman in a statement published by
Pyongyang's official KCNA news agency.
"This is nothing but a mean and groundless
propaganda," the spokesman said, adding Dr Abdul Qadeer's disclosures
were such a "sheer lie that the DPRK does not bat an eyelid even
North Korea has long denied it has been pursuing
an atomic weapons programmeme using highly enriched uranium (HEU), as
the United States has alleged. US officials said the North Koreans had
admitted in Oct 2002 they had such a programmeme when confronted with
The confrontation led to North Korea withdrawing
from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and taking plutonium rods out
of storage, reactivating a plutonium-based programmeme that was frozen
under a pact with the United States in 1994.
"This is aimed to scour the interior of the
DPRK on the basis of a legitimate mandate and attack it just as what it
did in Iraq in the end and invent a pretext to escape isolation and scuttle
the projected six-way talks," KCNA said of Dr Khan's disclosures.
Khan Claimed Nuke Equipment Was
L.A. Times, registration required. Edited for new stuff:
An official involved in the investigation of Abdul Qadeer Khan said
Monday that the Pakistani nuclear scientist has claimed that the equipment
he sold to Iran and North Korea to enrich uranium was outdated.
"Yeah. It was outta date. It wouldn't enrich uranium no more,
'less you could find some o' that old uranium."
Khans claim appeared to be an attempt to play down the value
of the technology he spread. That assertion, together with the announcement
that Khan could still face punishment, may represent an effort by
Pakistan to mollify critics in the U.S. and elsewhere who are angry
about Khans activities and the pardon.
I don't think that particular line's gonna work.
However, international investigators said that even sharing outdated
designs would substantially promote the spread of nuclear weapons.
Inspectors with the U.N.s International Atomic Energy Agency,
for instance, have found that Iran made significant improvements on
Wonder who else "assisted" them?
According to Pakistani officials involved in the investigation, Khan
said in his signed confession that he supplied old and discarded centrifuges
and other uranium-enrichment equipment to North Korea and Iran.
By way of Malaysia, where they were "refurbished".
One official, who spoke on condition that he not be named, identified
the equipment as P-I and P-II centrifuges, machines used to enrich
uranium to fuel nuclear reactors and warheads. The P-I is thought
to have been made using blueprints Khan is suspected of stealing while
he was working at a uranium-enrichment plant in the Netherlands in
the 1970s. The official said Khan had transferred P-I and P-II machines
to North Korea along with drawings, sketches, technical data and depleted
uranium hexafluoride gas the feedstock for gas centrifuges
and a crucial, difficult-to-obtain element.
Was the gas outdated as well?
Khan said he supplied equipment such as old P-I machines with drawings
to Iran under pressure from the late Gen. Imtiaz when the general
was defense advisor to Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto from December
1988 to August 1990.
Since Imtiaz is dead, he cant deny the charge.
Khan also said he met Iranian scientists in the Pakistani city of
Karachi at the request of another close Bhutto aide, identified as
Dr. Niazi. He had meetings with Libyans in Istanbul, Turkey, in 1990,
the officials said.
And now we have the "Blame Bhutto" meme.
Bhutto, who lives in exile in London and Dubai, United Arab Emirates,
said in an e-mail interview last week that she never had direct knowledge
that Pakistanis were involved in nuclear proliferation while she was
in power. Now she believes the military is trying to hide its complicity.
One official said the nuclear leaks started in the late 1980s. There
was a lack of strict command and control over Pakistans nuclear
program for 20 years, the official said, until after Musharraf seized
power in a 1999 coup.
You can see where Musharraf is going with this, it all started under
somebody elses watch.
The contention that Pakistans military and intelligence services
were unaware of Khans activities contradicts assurances that
Musharraf and senior Pakistani military leaders gave to U.S. officials.
"Musharraf and people before him constantly assured us that this
was something that the military had a firm grip on," a former
U.S. intelligence official said Monday in a phone interview from Washington.
Oh, Im sure they did know exactly what was going on.
Although relatives of the detained scientists have insisted that military
intelligence officers strictly monitored employees of the laboratory
and their families, the official interviewed Monday said it was "a
one-man show" under an officer he identified only as Brig. Tajwar.
The militarys powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency
which is widely believed to be present in virtually every corner of
Pakistani society was shut out of Khans nuclear facility.
Sure they were.
Khans direct shipments of bomb-making equipment went through
a black market network with the assistance of two Sri Lankans, identified
as Tahir and Farooq.
I thought Farooq was Khan's assistant?
Dubai became the shipment hub and the place where clandestine meetings
took place and deals were struck, the official said.
The hotels are better.
North Korea which has denied having a uranium-enrichment program
placed orders for P-I centrifuge components from 1997 to 1999,
and Khan and his associates provided direct technical assistance to
that country from 1998 to 2000, said an official involved in the probe.
Paid for by helping with Pakistans missile program.
Izaz Jaffery, the owner of an Islamabad nightclub called Hot Shot,
has been arrested on suspicion of being an emissary between Khan and
Iran, the source said.