Saturday, June 17, 2006

Joe Wilson: girly-man

this via miguel
Recently the Pakistan government announced that the A. Q. Khan case has been closed. On May 25 the subcommittee of the House International Relations Committee on International terrorism and nonproliferation of the US Congress held a hearing on the subject, “The A. Q. Khan network: Case closed?” The subcommittee was chaired by Congressman Edward Royce and was attended among others by Representatives Brad Sherman, Gary Ackerman and Thomas Tancredo. Expert witnesseses were Dr David Albright, Dr Leonard Weiss and Mr Andrew Koch.

Dr Albright in his testimony focused attention on the US being remiss in assisting the overseas prosecution of key members of the Khan network. The US had ignored the multiple requests from Swiss authorities for cooperation to prosecute three key members of Dr A. Q. Khan network, father and two sons, the Tinners. He said: “I find this lack of cooperation frankly embarrassing and those of us who believe that the United States should take the lead in bringing the members of the Khan network to justice for arming our enemies with nuclear weapons.”

Dr Leonard Weiss pointed out that Pakistan was still not selfsufficient in building nuclear weapons. It still needed specialised materials for the weapons themselves and for the production of fissile materials for the weapons. He quoted a report from the British daily Guardian that according to a July 2005 document prepared by British, French, German and Belgian intelligence agencies for the European Union, since the beginning of 2004 the Pakistanis were making extensive efforts to procure materials and components for the nuclear and missile programmes.

What was more, the range of this procurement went beyond the requirements for Pakistan’s own nuclear programme. According to the document, 20 Pakistani government entities were active in the procurement effort and hundreds of companies around the world were involved. He added: “As long as Pakistan needs a network to provide it with materials and equipment for its own nuclear programme, that same network can and will be used to spread the technology to others.”
Mr Andrew Koch, writer of award-winning stories about Dr A. Q. Khan and Iran’s attempts to build its nuclear programme, disclosed that Pakistan had rebuilt its own suppliers network, particularly in Europe and Iran had done the same. In the year 2004 the Swiss authorities were able to intercept a shipment of 60 tons of aluminised steel from a Russian supplier to Pakistan through several front companies in Dubai. Mr Koch narrated his visit to the Karachi armaments exhibition in November 2000 and in that show, Khan Research Laboratories was fully represented. The Pakistani military were 70 per cent of the attendees.

Brochures were distributed on the products of Khan Laboratories and it offered a full range of nuclear products, including “complete ultra centrifuge machines”. Mr Koch was of the view that the Khan network was not the activity of Dr Khan alone but an institutionalised one in which Pakistani military was fully involved.

This subcommittee proceedings have evoked comments in Pakistan and are viewed as an attempt to apply pressure on General Musharraf. While this may be an effort to apply pressure on behalf of Congress it does not appear to involve the US Administration as no official witness was sent to appear before the committee. The important disclosure before the committee was contrary to assertions of the Bush Administration that a nuclear proliferation network succeeding Dr Khan’s was in place and quite active. It is also in the knowledge of the intelligence agencies of the Western European countries.

Dr Albright complained about US Administration’s noncooperation in prosecuting members of Dr Khan’s network . But this noncooperation is in conformity with the Dutch Prime Minister Dr Ruud Lubbers’ disclosure that the CIA had an interest in Dr A. Q. Khan going back to 1976. If Dr A. Q. Khan’s activities had the CIA patronage it would be embarrassing to the CIA and successive US Administrations to expose the full scope of the activities of Dr Khan’s network.

There has been a recent report that the CIA attempted to plant misleading data and drawings on the Iranians. Mr Koch’s detailed description of Dr Khan flaunting his “complete ultra-centrifuge machines” in official brochures in the year 2000 would tend to indicate that at that stage the Pakistan government and Dr Khan were not unduly worried about US pressure. []
Surely Pakistanis must be aware of this weakness of the US Administration. Therefore General Musharraf was in a position to persuade President Bush and British Prime Minister Blair to accept his cock and bull story of the Pakistani government not being involved in Dr Khan’s proliferation.
(oh yeah, and in case you forgot, Plame was outed so that the egadministration could paint Wilson as a girly-man)

Koch's testimony is here (pdf)

1 comment:

ewastud said...

It has been one or two years, but I recall reading in one of the books published about the BCCI scandal that the Pakistani founder of BCCI was most interested in furthering Pakistan's development as a nuclear power. Some of the criminal activities of BCCI was about developing such capabilities. The book I read also intimated of the close association of the Bush family, James Bath, and the CIA in BCCI criminal activities. The operations which later became exposed as the Iran-Contra scandal were also connected to BCCI activities. The complexities of geopolitical scheming makes the plot of Syriana seem pale by comparison.