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Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya

 
mathetes
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09/21/2009 02:32 PM

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Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
WASHINGTON: An angry, humiliated, and wounded A.Q.Khan has finally made public and official what has long been suspected: his nuclear proliferation activities that included exchanging and passing blue-prints and equipment to China, Iran, North Korea, and Libya was done at the behest of the Pakistani government and military, and he was forced to take the rap for it. ( Watch Video )

''The bastards first used us and are now playing dirty games with us,'' Khan writes about the Pakistani leadership in a December 2003 letter to his wife Henny that has finally been made public by an interlocutor. ''Darling, if the government plays any mischief with me take a tough stand,'' he tells his wife, adding, ''They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things they got done by me.''

But Henny was unable to play hardball because Khan had also sent copies of that letter to his daughter Dina in London, and to his niece Kausar Khan in Amsterdam through his brother, a Pakistan Airlines executive. Pakistani intelligence agencies got wind of it and threatened the well-being of the family, forcing him to recant and publicly take the blame for the proliferation activities in a humiliating television spectacle engineered by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf.

However, a copy of the four-page letter reached Khanâs long-time journalistic contact Simon Henderson in 2007. In fact, in the letter, Khan tells his wife, ''Get in touch with Simon Henderson and give him all the details.'' Henderson says when he acquired the copy of the letter, he was shocked. His acquaintance with Khan goes back to the late 1970s, but it was never intimate, and consisted of an occasional interviews and conversations, and seasonal greetings.

Describing the four-page letter as ''extraordinary,'' Henderson says in numbered paragraphs, it outlines Pakistanâs nuclear co-operation with China, Iran and North Korea, and also mentions Libya. Some of the disclosures are stunning , and in one para that is bound to embarrass Beijing, besides implicating it, Khan writes about how Pakistan helped China in enrichment technology in return for bomb blueprints.

''We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian),â Khan writes. âThe Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50kg of enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%).'' UF6 is uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous feedstock for an enrichment plan.

On Iran, the letter says: ''Probably with the blessings of BB [Benazir Bhutto]...General Imtiaz [Benazirâs defence adviser, now dead] asked me to give a set of drawings and some components to the Iranians. The names and addresses of suppliers were also given to the Iranians.''

On North Korea: ''[A now-retired general] took $3million through me from the N. Koreans and asked me to give some drawings and machines.''

Henderson does not explain why he waited nearly two years since he got hold of the letter to make it public. But he writes sympathetically about Khanâs travails in Pakistan, where he is held largely incommunicado under house arrest. The Pakistani government and the military have repeatedly rejected and challenged court orders to free him, and an episode last month, where Khan was freed just for a day on court orders before Islamabad locked him up again under pressure from Washington, appears to have precipitated the leak of the explosive letter.

Hendersonâs Sunday Times expose also implicates the U.S and other western powers, who he says, basically shoved Islamabadâs rampant proliferation (while blaming it solely on Khan) under the carpet in order to get Pakistanâs cooperation in the war on terror. The move also saved Washington from huge embarrassment since it was basically asleep on the watch when Pakistan began its nuclear proliferation and then winked at it when it was discovered, all the while lavishing billions in military supplies on its unstable client state.

PAK GOVT RESCUED BROKE A.Q.KHAN WITH $ 2500 PER MONTH PENSION

Henderson also implicitly defends Khan from charges that he profited from proliferation activities, as alleged by deposed military ruler Pervez Musharraf. Khan, he says, is adamant that he never sold nuclear secrets for personal gain. So what about the millions of dollars he reportedly made?

''Nothing was confiscated from him and no reported investigation turned up hidden accounts. Having planted rumours about Khanâs greed, Pakistani officials were curiously indifferent to following them through,'' Henderson writes.

According to Henderson, much was made of a ''hotel'', named after Khanâs wife, Henny, built by a local tour guide with the help of money from Khan and a group of friends in Timbuktu. But it is a modest structure at best, more of a guesthouse, he says. A weekend home at Bani Gala, outside Islamabad, where Khan went to relax, is hardly the palace that some reports have made it.

In fact, says Henderson, Khan was close to being broke by the summer 2007, when he was finding it difficult to make ends meet on his pension of 12,200 (Pakistani) rupees per month. After pleading with General Khalid Kidwai, the officer supervising both Pakistanâs nuclear weapons and Khan, the pension was increased to $2,500 per month and there was a one-off lump-sum payment of the equivalent of $50,000. Hendersen says he has copies of the agreement and cheques.

Hendersonâs 3000-word expose also reveals a couple of intriguing tid-bits that should interest the worldâs strategic community, including New Delhi. Besides details of the Pakistan-China nexus, he says Pakistan tested only two devices in its 1998 tit-for-tat nuclear tests that followed India.

While Pakistan claims it conducted six tests to be one-up on Indiaâs five tests, Western experts and seismologists have long said they recorded only two signals for devices that measured between two and four kilotons. Khan also states clearly that China gave Pakistan designs for the nuclear bombs.

In fact, in one colorful passage in his article, Henderson describes how Khan was warned by a Chinese counterpart about the Pakistani Army. On a visit to Kahuta, Li Chew, the senior minister who ran Chinaâs nuclear-weapons programme, tells Khan, ''As long as they need the bomb, they will lick your balls. As soon as you have delivered the bomb, they will kick your balls.''

Henderson himself seems deeply conscious of any perception that he is close to Khan or that he is a catâs paw for any country. ''Any relationship with a source is fraught with potential difficulties. One doesnât want to be blind to the chance of being used. Government officials and politicians in any country are seldom interested in the simple truth. They all have their particular story to tell. In this context, I am frankly amazed that Khan has chosen me to be his interlocutor with the world,'' he writes.

But Pakistani authorities were clearly aware that he and Khan had been in touch and Khan may have managed to smuggle a copy of the letter implicating Islamabad to him. Henderson says in a court document that Khan was asked to sign when he was promised freedom, there is a line that read âThat in case Mr Simon Henderson or anyone else proceeds with the publication of any information or material anywhere in the world, I affirm that it would not be based on any input from me and I disown it.â That line was eventually deleted and replaced with a more general prohibition about unnamed ''specific media personnel.''

In other words, stand by for a flurry of denials.

[link to timesofindia.indiatimes.com]
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
Anonymous Coward
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09/21/2009 02:33 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
sheep
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09/21/2009 03:01 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Those Pakis play a pretty good game.

Sounds very deniable, but just plausible enough for a British reporter to get his contract renewed.

Good catch Mathetes.
mathetes (OP)

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09/21/2009 03:15 PM

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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Those Pakis play a pretty good game.

Sounds very deniable, but just plausible enough for a British reporter to get his contract renewed.

Good catch Mathetes.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 373696

hf
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.
nicolaem
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09/21/2009 03:19 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
khan was under house arrest for his own protection.. omtels hold grudges in the nuke business.. he was released by the jihadisrs in pakistan as a message to the world that irs homerun time/...the russian oil is forcing their suicidal hand..
The Grey Knight
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09/21/2009 03:19 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Great find, OP. There were some suspicions about Pakistani scientists but not so deep. Sad, or not?
Anonymous Coward
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09/21/2009 04:53 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Here is the Sunday Times article referenced:

[link to www.timesonline.co.uk]

Good stuff.
Anonymous Coward
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09/21/2009 04:59 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
I'd say with thus information, it is safe to assume Iran was able to run its enrichment and warhead design programs in parallel.
Anonymous Coward
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09/21/2009 05:24 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Yes - but note it is China here who is enabling the proliferation of nuclear weapons into the hands of Islamic countries. they know full well that

Nuclear weapon in Islamic hands = Nuke explosions in US cities!
Ricfly52

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09/21/2009 07:58 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Hey nuking someone is ok. As long as the right someones get nuked!
Fishing and skiing keeps me a little sane.
DaJavoo

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09/21/2009 08:00 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
damned

Where are the good guys these days?
:DJrebelli:
jnchisox1

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09/21/2009 08:19 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
Hey nuking someone is ok. As long as the right someones get nuked!
 Quoting: Ricfly52

Nuking someone is never ok, it should only be used as a last, and i mean last, resort. Even then there are ethical questions that need to be asked.
ANNONYMOUS
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09/21/2009 08:55 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
5a

Great find Math the implications of this are HUGE. The first being that China was the real moving party in this scenario. Now why would one think that might be? Hmmmmmmm
Anonymous Coward
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09/21/2009 09:03 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
So China helps Pakistan develop nuclear weapons, then Pakistan disseminate them to other nations hostile to the west and the U.S. in particular.

Interesting, perhaps Pakistan should have been invaded instead of Iraq? All the recent terrorist attacks in the west have links to Pakistan after all and the dissemination of nuclear weaponry is even more damning.
ANNONYMOUS
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09/21/2009 09:14 PM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
5a

The point is that Paki is being used as the point man for CHINA who if they undertook these actions would or could suffer deleterious consequences to their industrial development. So CHINA stirs the pot through a surrogate. AMAZING.
Anonymous Coward
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09/22/2009 12:29 AM
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Re: Pakistan's Nuke mastermind A.Q. Khan says his government ordered him to pass on nuke secrets to China, Iran, North Korea, Libya
The only response after 9/11 was to use tactical nuclear weapons and destroy Pakistan and Afghanistan. But Bush was too much of a wimp to do it. I mean come on man, these scumbags attacked our financial system, defense system and tried to wipe out the white house. The time is NOW to stop fucking around with these scumbags and teach them a lesson. Nuke the piss out of them until all they can fight with are sticks and stones. What the hell is Russia gonna do. They would be happy too.

This is the word of the Lord Jesus Christ.