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Kahn-Gate Headlines

KhanGate Update

Before the presidential election we suggested that Bush had made a deal with Masharraf. Since Masharraf can't risk being too hard on Dr. A. Q. Khan, seen by Pakistan's citizens as a hero, the father of the Muslim Nuke Bomb, even though he has dealt nuclear technology and secrets with other nations on the black market for years, Bush was willing to strike a deal. Bush wouldn't press Masharraf about the gentle treatment of Khan at the hands of the Pakistanis if Masharraf sent his troops into the Northern Pakistan wilderness to root out Bin Laden before the election. We also believed that neither Bush nor Masharraf wanted to open up the can of worms about Khan's reported nuclear aid being given to the Saudis.

Now we learn in a report by the New Yorker's Seymore Hersh that Bush and Masharraf struck a KhanGate deal over Iran:

"Hersh reported that the US campaign against Iran is being assisted by Pakistan under a deal that sees Islamabad provide information in return for reducing the pressure on Abdul Qadeer Khan, the disgraced metallurgist who is the father of Pakistan's nuclear bomb and who was revealed last year to be the head of the biggest international nuclear smuggling racket uncovered. Since confessing his activities and being placed under house arrest almost a year ago, Mr Khan has been incommunicado." Guardian, 01.17.05

Given Khan's central position as the father of anti-American nuclear proliferation, it's understandable that Bush is keeping his deal with Masharraf as low key as possible. While Kerry knew that Bush's position on nuclear proliferation has been compromised by his decision go easy on Khan, Kerry did not press the issue far enough when it came up during the debates, and Bush talked around it. I suspect that Bush was releived when neither Kerry nor the media attempted to press the matter, subsequently. --Jerry Politex, 01.17.05


Editorial: The Bush-Saudi-Pakistan Nuke Connection

Now that nuclear and/or terrorism experts have begin discussing the likelyhood of a terrorist nuclear event taking place in this country within the decade, the follow-up question will be what administration will be blamed if it should happen. Another way of looking at it is to consider where we are now and what the present administration is doing to prevent future nuclear catestrophe. On this count, the BushAdmin is not looking good.

A New York Times editorial recently (03.14.04) opined: "At a time when the United States is trying desperately to keep nuclear weapons out of the hands of rogue nations and terrorist groups, it is disheartening to learn of the government's pathetically weak efforts to recover bomb-grade uranium from research reactors around the world." While Bush in mid-February attempted to get ahead of the curve of such negative press by calling upon nations to help halt nuclear proliferation as news of Pakistani Kahn's black marketing of muclear secrets broke, his administration's agreement with Pakistan to pardon Kahn suggested that, once more, Bush actions speak louder than Bush words.

Right now, Bush is taking great pains to keep this subject under wraps until after the election, but world events and his own political needs have created a conflict within his administration. Last week Paul Wolfowitz, who may very well be our next Sec. of State if Bush were to win the election, told an interviewer that there is a de facto quid pro quo between the BushAdmin and Masharraf: you help us capture the Taliban (meaning: Bin Laden) and we'll not make waves about your political need to pardon your nuke "hero," Dr. A. Q. Kahn, who has been selling nuclear secrets to "rogue nations" (Iran, N. Korea, Lybia) for years.

The stories behind this story are many, but what observers, such as the New York Times' Nicholas Kristof (03.10.04), are wondering is why the BushAdmin is doing so little to stem the tide of nuclear proliferation and why it has sent mixed signals to the world's nuke players since it came into power in 2001. Numerous reports have confirmed that the BushAdmin put a blanket over various government probes of the Saudis from day one, and Greg Palast has reported that a connection between Bush halting a probe of Kahn and Saudi interests exist. Ronald Motley, a lawyer who is presently suing a number of Saudis in connection with 9/11, believes:

"The president's ties to the Saudi kingdom are personal as well as political: his father, George H.W. Bush, was until recently a senior adviser to the Carlyle Group, an investment firm that counted bin Laden family members among its investors until October 2001. James Baker, whom Bush recently sent abroad seeking help to reduce Iraq's debt, is still a senior counselor for the Carlyle Group, and Baker's Houston-based law firm, Baker Botts, is representing the Saudi defense minister in Motley's case....Back in October 2002, news articles reported ''administration officials'' saying that the government was considering asking the courts to dismiss the suit."(NYT, 03.14.04)

A forthcoming book by Craig Unger, "House of Bush, House of Saud," goes even further: "Not only does [the book] pose disturbing questions about Saudi involvement in 9-11 -- wittingly or unwittingly -- it presents a believable case that the Bush administration's relationship with the royal house of Saud precipitated this catastrophe," writes reviewer John Freeman in the 03.14.04 Orlando Sentinel. "Unger argues, $1.4 billion flowed from the House of Saud to the Bush family and their interests. So how much influence does this $1.4 billion buy? Unger makes a compelling case that it kept our eyes off the rising extremism in Saudi Arabia. And yet, the incoming Bush administration didn't steer away from Saudis." To some, such financial connections, both governmental and private, could account for Bush's unwillingness to continue government probes of the Saudis in 2001, but what about the apparant quid pro quo arrangement between the BushAdmin and Musharruf?

This week the Times of India (03.13.04) reported that "in the past fortnight by the British and French foreign ministers, next week's visit by US Secretary of State Colin Powell, and Musharraf's sudden visit to Riyadh at the weekend have triggered speculation that the pressure is on Musharraf to let foreign troops in." Why would Mashurraf go to Saudi Arabia to consult with Saudi officials about the Bin Laden-Kahn quid pro quo?

A possible answer is that the hasty visit had something to do with a nuclear deal reportedly struck by Pakistan and Saudi Arabia last October:

"Pakistan and Saudi Arabia have concluded a secret agreement on "nuclear cooperation" that will provide the Saudis with nuclear-weapons technology in exchange for cheap oil, according to a ranking Pakistani insider....Saudi officials also are still chafing over a closed meeting, later well publicized, of the U.S. Defense Policy Board in 2002, where an expert explained, with a 16-slide Powerpoint presentation, why and how the United States should seize and occupy oil fields in the country's Eastern Province....GlobalSecurity.org, a well-connected defense Internet site, found in a recent survey that Saudi Arabia has the infrastructure to exploit such nuclear exports very quickly." (Wash. Times, 10.22.03)

Given this scenario, Masharraf's visit to Saudi Arabia was likely meant to convince the Saudis to put pressure upon Bush to back off his pressure on Masharraf to allow military access into Norther Pakistan to hunt down and capture Bin Laden prior to the November election. Will this force Bush to cut the Saudis and the Pakistanis more nuclear slack? One way or the other, the danger of nuclear proliferation appears to be taking a back seat to Bush's political expediency at the expense of our national security. As Kristof writes in the above-mentioned "A Nuclear 9/11":

"A 10-kiloton nuclear bomb (a pipsqueak in weapons terms) is smuggled into Manhattan and explodes at Grand Central. Some 500,000 people are killed, and the U.S. suffers $1 trillion in direct economic damage. That scenario, cited in a report last year from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, could be a glimpse of our future. We urgently need to control nuclear materials to forestall that threat, but in this war on proliferation, we're now slipping backward. President Bush (after ignoring the issue before 9/11) now forcefully says the right things, but still doesn't do enough." --Jerry Politex, www.bushwatch.com, 03.15.04


Bush Kahn-Gate In A Nutshell

In 2001 when the BBC and The Guardian reported that the BushAdmin thwarted investigations of Dr. A.Q. Kahn, the father of Pakistan's atomic bomb who has been discovered to have been selling nuclear secrets to rogue nations throughout the world, Noam Chomsky asked, "Why wasn't this all over US papers?" The "CIA and other agents told BBC they could not investigate the spread of ñIslamic Bombsî through Pakistan because funding appeared to originate in Saudi Arabia," writes Greg Palast.

The New Yorker's Seymour Hersh recently reported that "past and present military and intelligence officials" told him that the U.S. allowed Pakistan to pardon Kahn if the U.S. were allowed to move freely in northwest Pakistan in a major search for Bin Laden. Pakistan's President Musharraf offered tribal help in capturing Bin Laden, but he claimed he only learned from the U.S. about detailed Kahn black market sales of nuke materials in October: "If they knew earlier, they should have told us," he said.

Hersh reports that according to "a Bush Administration intelligence officer,"We had every opportunity to put a stop to the A. Q. Kahn network 15 years ago." The Guardian has reported that the BushAdmin has been aware of Kahn's dealings since it has been in office. Hersh writes, "politicians, diplomats, and nuclear experts dismissed the Khan confession and the Musharraf pardon with expressions of scorn and disbelief. For two decades, journalists and American and European intelligence agencies have linked Khan and the Pakistani intelligence service, the I.S.I. (Inter-Service Intelligence), to nuclear-technology transfers, and it was hard to credit the idea that the government Khan served had been oblivious." Other accounts reach the same conclusion. This morning the New York Times' Nicholas Kristoff quotes "experts" as saying the Bush-Musharraf quid-pro-quo came about because Bush wants to capture Bin Laden before the November election to strengthen his chances of winning. If this is so, we've come full circle in three years. If we were to believe these reports, throughout its tenure the Bush Administration has its political goals as a top priority, rather than preventing nuclear proliferation.

"Robert Gallucci," writes Hersh, "a former United Nations weapons inspector who is now dean of the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, calls A. Q. Khan ñthe Johnny Appleseedî of the nuclear-arms race....Gallucci: 'The scariest thing about all this [is] that Pakistan could work with the worst terrorist groups on earth to build nuclear weapons. ThereÍs nothing more important than stopping terrorist groups from getting nuclear weapons. The most dangerous country for the United States now is Pakistan...' Gallucci went on, 'We havenÍt been this vulnerable since the British burned Washington in 1814.'î --Jerry Politex, Bush Watch, 03.10.04

***

"The risks of a nuclear 9/11 are increasing. "I wouldn't be at all surprised if nuclear weapons are used over the next 15 or 20 years," said Bruce Blair, president of the Center for Defense Information, "first and foremost by a terrorist group that gets its hands on a Russian nuclear weapon or a Pakistani nuclear weapon."...

"It's mystifying that the administration hasn't leaned on Pakistan to make Dr. Khan available for interrogation to ensure that his network is entirely closed. Several experts on Pakistan told me they believe that the administration has been so restrained because its top priority isn't combating nuclear proliferation „ it's getting President Pervez Musharraf's help in arresting Osama bin Laden before the November election." --Nicholas Kristoff, New York Times, 03.10.04

BACKGOUND:

Risk Of A Nuke 9/11 Has Increased With BushAdmin Kahn-Gate, kristoff
Is There An Election-Year Quid Pro Quo Between Bush Bin Laden Search And Pakistan's Pardoning Of Nuke Black Marketer?, hersh
Bush Election Quid Pro Quo? 'US has placed huge bet on Musharraf', dtm
Wolfowitz Admits To Taliban-Kahn Quid Pro Quo, yahoo singapore
The Bush-Saudi-Pakistan Nuke Connection, politex
Bush Administration Considering Blocking Lawyer's Suit Against Saudis He Connects To 9/11, senior
"Why Single Out Kahn...?... Why This Selective Accountability?", khan
"Kahn Job: Bush Spiked Probe of Pakistan's Dr. Strangelove", palast
Bush Kahn-job "is irresponsibility Of the highest order.", Rothschild
Powell denies deal over Khan issue, iqbal
"UN sure [Pakistani] govt. knew of Dr Khan's [Nuke Sales] activity", dt
"The Bush administration has known about Kahn's operation for three years", guard
New CIA Report Confirms Link Between Kahn And N. Korea Nuke Program, nyt
Classified US report on Khan Research Laboratories, dawn
Bush Attempt To Recover Enriched Uranium From Around World 'Pathetically Weak', ed
Pakistan cooperating with US: officials - Nuclear black market, reuters
Hunt for bin Laden: Pervez under pressure, afp
US begins new sweep to net Bin Ladin, ap
US launches ïMountain StormÍ for Osama, reuters
How Kahn Built His Nuke Network In Pakistan, nyt
Both Maasharraf And Bush Engaged In 'Balancing Acts' Over Kahn Nuke Secrets Sales To 'Rogue Nations', nyt
In 2001 S. Korea Told CIA Of Previous Kahn-N.Korea Nuke Transactions, nyt
N. Korea Unwilling To Admit To Kahn-Like Uranium Enrichment Program, nyt

03.22.04

Zawahri claims to have nuclear bombs, ap
Journalist Says Al Qaeda Has Black Market Nuclear Bombs, AAP
Al Qaeda has nuclear weapons, journalist claims, ts
Powell took us for a ride: India, varadarajan
Pak's Osama ruse duped US, rajghatta
Pakistan declares ceasefire as criticism of offensive mounts , sengupta
Terms set for brief truce in Wana, khattak
Wana operation could lead to civil war: minister, sana
Terrorists or mujahideen?, ed
Battle in Pakistan halted, as council negotiates with local villagers, garcia
Frustrated Pakistani army looks to negotiate , agencies
Villagers caught in the crossfire as US-Pakistan alliance search for Al Qaeda leaders, tohid + bowers
Pakistan doubts they've cornered bin Laden, deputy - meanwhile, women and children have been killed, Pennington
ÔNon-US allies helping Pakistan in Wana operationÕ, hasan
Taliban still plotting attacks from Pakistan, says Khalizad, agencies

03.19.04

Pakistani Plot To Seat Kahn As Musharraf Replacement Is Exposed, de borchgrave
Wolfowitz & his strange [quid pro quo] remarks (2nd item), askari
Fighting Breaks out in Pakistan Tribal Areas, Shahzad
Troops launch major assault, dt
Pakistan to launch air strike against 'Bin Laden's deputy' , buncombe+mcgirk
Bin Laden: net closes as troops corner his deputy, tinning
How the US set Pakistan aflame, Shahzad
Al Zawahiri believed surrounded: Intensity of resistance indicates presence of high-value target, khan
US will make Pakistan a Ômajor non-NATO allyÕ: Powell, piracha
US pledges long-term strategic partnership: Pakistan designated major non-Nato ally, akhlaque
House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between The World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties, unger


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