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Open Edit Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Feb-13-06 05:03 PM
Original message
Edited on Mon Jul-03-06 10:54 AM by chat_noir
This new topic is awaiting edits. It was started by phoebe.

I think it's time to clear up some of the misconceptions about Iran and the US role in the latest misdirection with regards to Iran + nuclear capabilities

Beginnings of Nuclear Iran

Bio and more on AQ Khan


In August 2003, reports emerged of dealings with Iran; it was claimed that Khan had offered to sell nuclear technology as long ago as 1989. The Iranian government came under intense pressure from the United States and European Union to make a full disclosure of its nuclear programme and finally agreed in October 2003 to accept tougher investigations from the International Atomic Energy Authority. The IAEA reported that Iran had established a large uranium enrichment facility using centrifuges based on the stolen URENCO designs, which had been obtained "from a foreign intermediary in 1987." The intermediary was not named but many diplomats and analysts pointed to Pakistan and specifically to Khan, who was said to have visited Iran in 1986. The Iranians turned over the names of their suppliers and international inspectors quickly identified the Iranian centrifuges as Pak-1s, the model developed by Khan in the early 1980s. Two senior staff at the Khan Research Laboratories were subsequently arrested in December 2003 on suspicion of having sold nuclear technology to the Iranians.
Why did CIA shield A.Q. Khan?
K. Subrahmanyam


In the light of these disclosures of the former Dutch PM it is obvious that the CIA had continued interest in Dr Khan from the mid-seventies to 1985. Since 1987 was the year when Dr Khan boasted to Indian journalist Kuldip Nayar about Pakistan having assembled the bomb it is logical to expect that the CIA’s interest in Dr Khan continued. Dr Khan has confessed that he was approached by the Iranian authorities in 1987 for transfer of nuclear technology and he started his proliferation to Iran from that period with the full approval of Gen Zia-ul-Haq. The CIA which was keeping watch over Dr Khan should therefore have known about Dr Khan’s proliferation to Iran and his black market contacts with Western European firms.

Senator Kerry’s Senate Committee report on the activities of Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) of 1992 has referred to the linkage between BCCI, Dr Khan, Iranian proliferation and the lack of cooperation on the part of the CIA in regard to its interactions with the bank.


Going by Dr Lubber’s disclosures of the CIA’s benign interest in Dr Khan going back three decades and the US having looked away from China-Pakistan proliferation, is the interest in extending the Indo-US nuclear arrangement to Pakistan purely a matter of principle or an attempt to prevent the roles of former US administrations and some of the prominent officials in them being exposed for their activities in regard to global proliferation.

While President George Bush and Secretary Rice may have chosen to make a clean break with the past and work out effective measures to deal with proliferation threat from non-state actors, they may face resistance from those former officials in the administration and the agencies who have been colluding with the nuclear walmart of Dr Khan, Pakistani generals, China and West European black market. Otherwise it is difficult to explain the interest of such people in demanding the same treatment for Pakistan as has been extended to India.

Articles related to AQ Khan
US informed Pakistan about Khan network in early 2001: report

By Anwar Iqbal

WASHINGTON, Oct 26: The Bush administration launched its campaign to persuade President Pervez Musharraf to remove Dr A. Q. Khan from Pakistan's nuclear establishment as early as 2001, months before the Sept 11, terrorist attacks, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.

The front-page, 5,000-word report details how this low-key but persistent effort by President George Bush and his closest ally, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, led first to Dr Khan's removal from Pakistan's nuclear establishment and then to his home arrest in February this year.

The Bush administration's concerns about Pakistan's nuclear programme increased after Sept 11 when they learned that two Pakistani nuclear scientists, Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood and Chaudhary Abdul Majid, had met Osama bin Laden a month before the terrorist attacks. Both scientists had failed US polygraph tests about the purpose of their trip, the report said. The Post says that President Bush worked quietly, 'further from public view,' to penetrate and close 'the first private marketplace of the atomic age: Abdul Qadeer Khan's Pakistan-based distribution network.'

The report claims that President Musharraf retired Dr Khan on March 27, 2001 after the US government convinced him that Dr Khan was 'leading a secret life.' By the time Mr Bush arrived in office, the CIA and Britain's Secret Intelligence Service knew that Dr Khan was at the centre of an international proliferation network supplying uranium equipment to Libya.

Dr Khan not only dealt in designs but also had begun mass production of components, the report said.

"The US government had a dilemma. The picture was alarming, incomplete and dependent on sensitive intelligence sources. And the man at the centre of suspicion had a stature in Pakistan that easily exceeded Gen Musharraf's." The Bush administration sent envoys to Islamabad with deliberately opaque words of warning. Something was amiss at the Khan Research Laboratories, they said, and its secrets were being marketed abroad. One official said Assistant Secretary of State Robert Einhorn told the three-star general overseeing Pakistan's strategic nuclear force: "Either you are not on top of this or you are complicit. Either one is disturbing." US officials did not mention Dr Khan by name. They feared a confrontation that could break Gen Musharraf's grip on power, said Greg Thielmann, who was director of strategic proliferation and military affairs at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research until 2003. And, in the worst-case scenario (it could) bring about a "fundamentalist government in Pakistan that had nuclear weapons."

Dr Khan's retirement, however, did not block his access to the labs and his Network's global sales flourished, the report claims. By the second half of 2001, the CIA and British intelligence had concluded that Dr Khan had more than one customer, but they could identify only Libya.

After the Sept 11 attacks, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was preparing a list of "non-negotiable" demands for Pakistan's military intelligence chief, Mahmud Ahmed. The administration briefly debated: Should Khan be on the list?

Iran was given centrifuges by Pakistan's AQ Khan who was subsequently pardoned by Musharaf.


The US has called Dr Khan the "biggest proliferator" of nuclear technology.

Labelled the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme, Dr Khan confessed last year to leaking nuclear secrets.

He said he took full responsibility for proliferating nuclear weapons to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

President Pervez Musharraf pardoned him, but the scandal embarrassed and traumatised Pakistan, and stunned world nuclear experts.

Dr Khan had held the post of scientific adviser since retiring as head of the country's top nuclear facility in 2001 but was sacked after his confession.
Bush apparently thought Khan had been sufficiently punished

Disgraced Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has been punished by being nationally humiliated, US National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice said on Sunday.

Rice was asked on CNN to clarify President George W Bush’s statement during his debate late Thursday with Senator John Kerry that “the AQ Khan network has been brought to justice.”

Rice said Bush did not misspeak when he said that the network of Pakistan’s A.Q. Khan — the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear program who was caught selling secrets on the global black market — had been “brought to justice.”

Khan is living in a villa and was pardoned this year by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf. None of Khan’s co-conspirators have been brought to trial.

Asked how that could be interpreted to mean Khan has been brought to justice, Rice said, “He has been brought to justice because he’s out of business.”

It is election time, but for America’s national security advisor to make such arguments to justify campaignspeak is plainly absurd. If indeed, as Rice claims, A Q Khan has been brought to justice, then there surely is no reason for IAEA or anyone else to investigate the affair further. But no one really knows the extent of Iran’s or North Korea’s nuclear capabilities, and only A Q Khan and his Pakistani handlers can help piece the nuclear proliferation jigsaw together.

Rice’s statements tone suggests a sort of finality to the A Q Khan episode - the world cannot afford to close that casefile that early. Time and again, America has mixed its nuclear non-proliferation policy condradictorily with both cold war dogma and short-term exigencies.

Before the debate, it appeared unfortunate that the Centrifugist was forgotten; after the debate, it is disturbing that he has been forgiven too.

More on the Bush administration's lack of response to Khan's behavior ?

As Nuclear Secrets Emerge in Khan Inquiry, More Are Suspected

Published: December 26, 2004


Nearly a year after Dr. Khan's arrest, secrets of his nuclear black market continue to uncoil, revealing a vast global enterprise. But the inquiry has been hampered by discord between the Bush administration and the nuclear watchdog, and by Washington's concern that if it pushes too hard for access to Dr. Khan, a national hero in Pakistan, it could destabilize an ally. As a result, much of the urgency has been sapped from the investigation, helping keep hidden the full dimensions of the activities of Dr. Khan and his associates.

There is no shortage of tantalizing leads. American intelligence officials and the I.A.E.A., working separately, are still untangling Dr. Khan's travels in the years before his arrest. Investigators said he visited 18 countries, including Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, on what they believed were business trips, either to buy materials like uranium ore or sell atomic goods.

In Dubai, they have scoured one of the network's front companies, finding traces of radioactive material as well as phone records showing contact with Saudi Arabia. Having tracked the network operations to Malaysia, Europe and the Middle East, investigators recently uncovered an outpost in South Africa, where they seized 11 crates of equipment for enriching uranium.

The breadth of the operation was particularly surprising to some American intelligence officials because they had had Dr. Khan under surveillance for nearly three decades, since he began assembling components for Pakistan's bomb, but apparently missed crucial transactions with countries like Iran and North Korea.


Still, for all the surveillance, American officials always seemed a step or two behind. In the 1990's, noted Mr. Einhorn, the assumption was that Iran was getting most of its help from Russia, which was providing the country with reactors and laser-isotope technology. Virtually no attention was paid to its contacts with Dr. Khan.

"It was a classic case of being focused in the wrong place," Mr. Einhorn said. "And if Iran gets the bomb in the next few years, it won't be because of the Russians. It will be because of the help they got from A. Q. Khan."
Condoleezza Rice latest statements on Iran

more on US providing nuclear technology to Iran - back in the 70's
- an eye-opener - Russian/Chinese/Israeli/EU perspectives

A high-risk game of nuclear chicken
By F William Engdahl


In the past weeks, media reports have speculated that Washington is "thinking the unthinkable", namely, an aggressive, preemptive nuclear bombardment of Iran, by either the United States or Israel, to destroy or render useless the deep underground Iranian nuclear facilities.

The possibility of war against Iran presents a geostrategic and geopolitical problem of far more complexity than the bombing and occupation of Iraq. And Iraq has proved complicated enough for the US. We try to identify some of the main motives of the main actors in the new drama and the outlook for possible war.


Ahmadinejad has been taking very provocative, and presumably calculated measures including breaking nuclear-facility seals, and announcing a major conference that would question evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass murder of European Jews during World War II. Yet he also has stressed several times publicly that in accord with strict Islam law, Iran would never deploy a nuclear device, a weapon of mass destruction, and that it is only asserting its right as a sovereign nation to an independent full-cycle civilian nuclear program.

The history of Iran's nuclear efforts should be noted. It began in 1957 when Reza Shah Pahlevi signed a civilian Atoms for Peace agreement with Dwight D Eisenhower's administration. Iran received a US research reactor in 1967. Then in 1974 after the first oil shock, the shah created the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, explicitly tasked to develop civilian nuclear power to displace oil, freeing more oil for export, and for developing a nuclear weapon.


Washington journalists report that Cheney, and his advisers David Addington and John Hannah, are working behind the scenes to ensure that former premier Netanyahu succeeds Olmert. Cheney is working to defeat the more moderate Kadima Party formed by Sharon and his more moderate ex-Likud allies.

Bush has not come out with direct vocal support for Olmert, but Olmert has stressed that he will continue to work with America to realize a Palestinian state. Israeli media report the new middle-of-the-road (Israeli middle) party of Olmert and Sharon-Kadima will probably win a landslide - to the dismay of Cheney's and Karl Rove's Christian Right and the neo-conservative base.


Conplan 8022
In January 2003, Bush signed a classified presidential directive, Conplan 8022-02. This is a war plan different from all prior in that it posits "no ground troops". It was specifically drafted to deal with "imminent" threats from states such as North Korea and Iran.

Unlike the warplan for Iraq, a conventional one, which required coordinated preparation of air, ground and sea forces before it could be launched, a process of months, even years, Conplan 8022 called for a highly concentrated strike combining bombing with electronic warfare and cyberattacks to cripple an opponent's response-cutting electricity in the country, jamming communications and hacking computer networks.

Conplan 8022 explicitly includes a nuclear option, specially configured earth-penetrating "mini" nukes to hit underground sites such as Iran's. Last summer, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing around-the-clock military readiness to be directed by the Omaha-based Strategic Command (Stratcom), according to a report in the May 15 Washington Post.

Previously, ominously enough, Stratcom oversaw only the US nuclear forces. In January 2003, Bush signed on to a definition of "full spectrum global strike", which included precision nuclear as well as conventional bombs, and space warfare. This was a follow-up to the president's September 2002 National Security Strategy, which laid out as US strategic doctrine a policy of "preemptive" wars.

The burning question is whether, with plunging popularity polls, a coming national election, scandals and loss of influence, the Bush White House might "think the unthinkable" and order a nuclear preemptive global strike on Iran before the November elections, perhaps early after the March 28 Israeli elections.

Some Pentagon analysts have suggested that the entire US strategy towards Iran, unlike with Iraq, is rather a carefully orchestrated escalation of psychological pressure and bluff to force Iran to back down. It seems clear, especially in light of the strategic threat Iran faces from US or Israeli forces on its borders after 2003, that Iran is not likely to back down from its clear plans to develop full nuclear fuel cycle capacities, and with it the option of developing an Iranian nuclear capability.

The question then is, what will Washington do? The fundamental change in US defense doctrine since 2001, from a posture of defense to offense, has significantly lowered the threshold of nuclear war, perhaps even of a global nuclear conflagration - interesting article
March 10, 2006
Why Iran's oil bourse can't break the buck
By F William Engdahl


A number of writings have recently appeared with the thesis that the announced plans of the Iranian government to institute a Tehran oil bourse, perhaps as early as this month, is the real hidden reason behind the evident march to war on Iran by the Anglo-American powers. The thesis is simply wrong for many reasons, not least that war on Iran has been in planning since the 1990s as an integral part of the United States' Greater Middle East strategy.

More significant, the oil-bourse argument is a red herring that diverts attention from the real geopolitical grounds behind the march toward war that have been detailed on this website, including in my piece, A high-risk game of nuclear chicken, which appeared in Asia Times Online on January 31. (see article above - very enlightening )

In 1996, Richard Perle and Douglas Feith, two neo-conservatives later to play an important role in formulation of Bush administration's Pentagon policy in the Middle East, authored a paper for then newly elected Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. That advisory paper, "A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm", called on Netanyahu to make a "clean break from the peace process". Perle and Feith also called on Netanyahu to strengthen Israel's defenses against Syria and Iraq, and to go after Iran as the prop of Syria.

More than a year before President George W Bush declared his "shock and awe" operation against Iraq, he made his now-infamous January 2002 State of the Union address to Congress in which he labeled Iran, along with Iraq and North Korea, as a member of the "axis of evil" trio. This was well before anyone in Tehran was even considering establishing an oil bourse to trade oil in various currencies.

The argument by those who believe the Tehran oil bourse would be the casus belli, the trigger pushing Washington down the road to potential thermonuclear annihilation of Iran, seems to rest on the claim that by openly trading oil to other nations or buyers in euros, Tehran would set into motion a chain of events in which nation after nation, buyer after buyer, would line up to buy oil no longer in US dollars but in euros. That, in turn, goes the argument, would lead to a panic selling of dollars on world foreign-exchange markets and a collapse of the role of the dollar as reserve currency, one of the "pillars of Empire". Basta! There goes the American Century down the tubes with the onset of the Tehran oil bourse.

Some background considerations
That argument fails to convince for a number of reasons. First, in the case of at least one of the oil-bourse theorists, the argument is based on a misunderstanding of the process I described in my book, A Century of War, regarding the creation in 1974 of "petrodollar recycling", a process with which then-US secretary of state Henry Kissinger was deeply involved, in the wake of the 400% oil-price hike orchestrated by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The US dollar then did not become a "petrodollar", although Kissinger spoke about the process of "recycling petrodollars". What he was referring to was the initiation of a new phase of US global hegemony in which the petrodollar export earnings of OPEC oil lands would be recycled into the hands of the major New York and London banks and re-lent in the form of US dollar loans to oil-deficit countries such as Brazil and Argentina, creating what soon came to be known as the Latin American debt crisis.

The dollar at that time had been a fiat currency since August 1971 when president Richard Nixon first abrogated the Bretton Woods Treaty and refused to redeem US dollars held by foreign central banks for gold bullion. The dollar floated against other major currencies, falling more or less until it was revived by the 1973-74 oil-price shock.

What the oil shock achieved for the sagging dollar was a sudden injection of global demand from nations confronted with 400% higher oil-import bills. At that time, by postwar convention and convenience, as the dollar was the only reserve currency held around the world other than gold, oil was priced by all OPEC members in dollars as a practical exigency.

With the 400% price rise, nations such as France, Germany and Japan suddenly found reason to try to buy their oil directly in their own currencies - French francs, Deutschmarks or Japanese yen - to lessen the pressure on their rapidly declining reserves of trade dollars. The US Treasury and the Pentagon made certain that did not happen, partly with some secret diplomacy by Kissinger, bullying threats, and a whopping-big US military agreement with the key OPEC producer, Saudi Arabia. At that time it helped that the shah of Iran was seen in Washington to be a vassal of Kissinger.

Pentagon tells Bush that bombing Iran will fail -

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