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The Therapy Sessions
Saturday, January 24, 2004
 

The international nuclear arms market


This should be on the front page of every paper in the country:
Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, personally acknowledged yesterday that scientists from his country appeared to have sold nuclear designs to other nations, probably "for personal financial gain."

He denied that the Pakistani government knew of the sales at the time but vowed that those involved would be dealt with "as anti-state elements."

Musharraf's statement, at a global economic forum here, came after several weeks of delicate efforts to force Pakistan to deal with the scientists, according to diplomats and U.S. officials.

But most Americans will never hear about it. It appears to have some relation to our recent diplomatic victories with Libya, which had some relation to our military victory in Iraq:
Technical documents recently obtained from Libya on its nuclear program, as well as documents relating to Iran's nuclear activities, undercut years of Pakistani denials and appeared to forced Musharraf's hand, diplomats and U.S. officials said.

The documents "have created a situation in which the denials no longer hold up," one senior U.S. official said...

Musharraf continued to insist that there was no government involvement in the sales, portraying the actions as the efforts of corrupt scientists. U.S. officials, however, are clearly skeptical of those claims.

They note that when Pakistan received missile parts from North Korea -- believed to be the quid pro quo for nuclear aid -- a Pakistani air force cargo jet was dispatched to Pyongyang, North Korea, to pick up the parts.

Of course, our European "allies" are involved.
Musharraf told CNN that there were also credible allegations against European nuclear middlemen and other nations, "so it is not Pakistan alone."

And international nuclear arms inspectors are baffled:
... the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed ElBaradei, who said that the global black market in nuclear materials and equipment had grown into a virtual "Wal-Mart" for weapons-seeking countries.

ElBaradei, director-general of the agency, the United Nations' watchdog on atomic weapons, said he was astonished by the scale and complexity of the illicit trafficking through which the Libyans obtained material and blueprints for nuclear weapons designs.

"All of that was obtained abroad," he said in an interview during the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos. "All of what we saw was a result of the Wal-Mart of private-sector proliferation.

"When you see things being designed in one country, manufactured in two or three others, shipped to a fourth, redirected to a fifth ... there's lots of offices all over the world," ElBaradei said.

Why am I voting Republican this fall? You just read why.




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