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World Council for the Cedars Revolution

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Home arrow News Content arrow Blog arrow Blog Items arrow Intelligence arrow Blueprints on Swiss computers link Khan to Iran's nukes
Blueprints on Swiss computers link Khan to Iran's nukes PDF Print E-mail
Written by geostrategy-direct   
Thursday, 26 June 2008

Dr. AQ Khan (hatless) poses with Pakistani nuclear scientists shortly after the Chagai Hills nuclear test, summer 1998; The dust in the background was stirred up by the detonation. Simon Henderson, Financial Times Energy
Dr. AQ Khan (hatless) poses with Pakistani nuclear scientists shortly after the Chagai Hills nuclear test, summer 1998; The dust in the background was stirred up by the detonation. Simon Henderson, Financial Times Energy

A report by the Institute for Science and International Security determined that the nuclear smuggling ring led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan obtained blueprints of an advanced atomic weapon and sold nuclear components and technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," the report, authored by institute president David Albright, said.

The Khan blueprint was discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss nationals — Marco and Urs Tinner and their father, Friedrich — who worked with the smuggling ring. The contents of the computers were destroyed by Switzerland under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The report reflected four years of research into the Khan ring.

Albright, a former IAEA inspection chief, concluded that the contents of the Swiss computers demonstrated that the Khan ring acquired and probably sold advanced nuclear technology to clients.

In 2003, Libya acknowledged receiving blueprints from Khan. But the designs were those of an old and largely obsolete atomic bomb.

In contrast, the Swiss nationals who represented Khan acquired a design for a smaller atomic weapon that could be installed on a ballistic missile. The report said the design — believed obtained from Pakistan's nuclear weapons program — would be suitable for the missiles that Iran and Libya have deployed.

The Swiss nationals, at least two of whom remain in jail, also possessed hundreds of pages of files that provided instructions on assembling an advanced nuclear weapon.

The report said the information could have solved the warhead difficulties for both Iran and North Korea.

"These would have been ideal for two of Khan's other major customers, Iran and North Korea," the report said. "They both faced struggles in building a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop their ballistic missiles, and these designs were for a warhead that would fit."

While reliable information from inside Pakistan is difficult to come by, it is known that Abdul Qadeer Khan brought millions of dollars into the coffers of Pakistan's ruling military elite. Despite claims by his friend, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, the evidence suggests Khan wasn't motivated by greed. Instead, Khan seems to have been authorized to promote Pakistan's nuclear weapons development through the sale of blueprints and technology to oil-rich Middle East states and the relay of such expertise to such partners as North Korea.

Abdul Qadeer Khan
 
Task: Pakistan nuclear scientist
 
Former day job: Head of Pakistan's nuclear program
 
Alleged former night job: Head of nuke black market for rogue state regimes
 
Age: 72
 
Whereabouts: Islamabad

The Swiss nationals who represented Khan acquired a design for a smaller atomic weapon that could be installed on a ballistic missile. The report said the design — believed obtained from Pakistan's nuclear weapons program — would be suitable for the missiles that Iran and Libya have deployed.




While Khan may not be the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb, as he is known, he was clearly the most politically connected and PR-minded of Pakistan's nuclear developers. Khan didn't merely supervise development of Pakistan's bomb; he also helped develop Pakistan's Ghauri intermediate-range missile.

Khan, who had been feted and wooed by Pakistani presidents since 1976, may have been working for Musharraf, who pardoned in 2004 his favorite scientist immediately after he was charged.

"In the last year, we've uncovered probably the most significant hemorrhaging of nuclear weapons technology since the Soviets penetrated the Manhattan Project [in 1947]," said Joseph Cirincione, director of the Non-Proliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"Pakistan had a multinational, sophisticated operation selling some of the most advanced nuclear weapons technology in the world. We are now claiming it as an intelligence coup, but not imposing penalties of any kind on Pakistan or any of the senior officials involved in this network," he said.

The discovery of the Pakistani nuclear black market disproved the long-held theory that Islamabad would be responsible in its nuclear development program. For decades, the conventional thinking in the CIA and State Department had been that Pakistan would never endanger its standing as an emerging nuclear power by sharing such technology with other countries.

Today, officials acknowledge that the U.S. intelligence community misunderstood the dynamics of power in Pakistan's ruling elite. They said the transfer of nuclear technology by Islamabad was the basis for the success of its nuclear weapons program. Without Saudi Arabia, officials said, Pakistan might not have had the funding to sustain its missile and nuclear weapons programs.

U.S. officials have concluded that in the mid-1970s Khan copied plans for gas centrifuges from the Urenco uranium enrichment facility in the Netherlands, where he had worked. Dutch authorities sought to prosecute Khan in absentia for treason but the issue was never pursued.

By 1976, Khan was secretly building gas centrifuges at the A.Q. Khan Research Laboratories near Islamabad. China is believed to have supplied plans assembling of up to 60 nuclear weapons. In 1998 Pakistan detonated its first nuclear bombs.

"Many suppliers approached us with the details of the machinery and with figures and numbers of instruments and materials," Khan told Pakistan's Defense Journal. "They begged us to purchase their goods."

Khan's ties to North Korea date back to at least 1992. He was in Pyongyang that year to obtain No Dong intermediate-range missiles in an attempt to bolster deterrence against India. In April 1998, Pakistan launched the first No Dong, renamed the Ghauri I, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. Pakistan didn't have money for North Korean missiles. What Khan provided instead was nuclear technology, particularly the design for centrifuges to enrich uranium.

From there, Khan traveled to Iran where he trained scientists and helped Teheran construct nuclear facilities. The nuclear cooperation lasted from at least 1986 to 1994, when the two countries had a falling-out over Afghanistan. U.S. officials believe Khan and Pakistan have resumed nuclear cooperation.

Khan and Saddam also had a thing going. An Iraqi intelligence memorandum dated Oct. 6, 1990 states that Khan's representatives offered to help Baghdad establish a uranium-enrichment facility. It was not clear from the Iraqi memo, found by United Nations weapons inspectors in Iraq in 1995, whether Saddam agreed to Khan's offer. Saddam had long been intent on preventing any leaks from Iraq's nuclear program.

U.S. officials believe Khan had been directed by Pakistan to win nuclear contracts from such countries as Libya and Saudi Arabia. He is believed to have sent Pakistani nuclear scientists and engineers to those Arab countries as well as others in the Middle East.

About a dozen Pakistani scientists left their country and were believed to have resettled in the Gulf area. The scientists were trained in China and worked in Pakistani nuclear power plants and weapons facilities. It is not clear where the scientists are, but their families were said to be obtaining money from Gulf banks.

http://www.geostrategy-direct.com/geostrategy-direct/secure/2008/06_25/do.asp?



 
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