Bush lies and deceptions: The Pakistani Exception

From SourceWatch
Jump to: navigation, search

In the March 1, 2004, article "Were We All Wrong About Pakistan, Too?," Leon Hadar wrote that "As with the failure to discover WMD in Iraq and the White House admission that there is no evidence of a link between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, officials, lawmakers, and journalists now want to examine why U.S. intelligence wasn't able to figure out what was happening in Iraq and Pakistan" ... to which should be added Iran, Libya, and North Korea. [1]

"The revelation that a leading Pakistani scientist has been running a smuggling operation that provided nuclear military designs to Iran, Libya, and North Korea, has ignited Shocked! Shocked! Shocked! outcries in Washington. After all, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the founder of Pakistan's nuclear military program is a national hero in a country that President Bush has described as a key 'ally' of the United States in the war against terrorism and the campaign to halt the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD). And Khan was a close associate of President Pervez Musharraf, the recipient of huge amounts of American military and economic aid." [2]

Sequence of Events

February 9, 2004: Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Pakistan's former Petroleum Minister and Acting Parliamentary Leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), addressed a joint press conference with Central Secretary of Information Sadiq-ul-Farooq at the PML office in Islamabad. Chaudhry Nisar said that a "mass contact campaign" was already "in progress" and would "intensify after two or three weeks" in regards to Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan and "Pakistan’s nuclear programme throughout the world."

Chaudhry Nisar said that "the former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto started the nuclear programme in 1975 and till October 12, 1999 six successive governments run the country and safeguarded and upgraded the nuclear programme. All scientists, army personnel and scientists [had] played the vital role in this regard."
He added that "Pakistani scientists kicked the lucrative emoluments in foreign countries and returned to their country for this great service. He said that he remained special assistant to Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and knows reality. He said that [the] nuclear bomb is the big achievement for Pakistan which it got in twenty seven years and declared itself as a nuclear state in Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s era."
Additionally, he said that "the present rulers spoiled the achievement in a few days of time as every body is talking about Pakistan’s involvement in nuclear proliferation."
Chaudhry Nisar said that "they," perhaps meaning former rulers, "considered Dr A Q Khan as a hero, but on the other hand he is being victimized. He said that those divided the country are free but action has been taken against those who made the country strong. The foreign media writes that Hero trembled into Zero. Today A Q Khan and tomorrow Pakistan. He said that those surrender on a single call plunged the country into crisis and at the verge of destruction."
He added that the "Indian nuclear programme was protected by Russia and no body enquired from Israel and South Africa about their nuclear programme. No inquiry was conducted against the Israeli scientists who were caught read handed in USA," he said. [3]

February 10, 2004: The next day, Chaudhry Nisar told the Dawn newspaper that Pakistan's President Musharraf had hired Frank Howard, Jr., "the man who managed President George W. Bush's election campaign in 2001, as his key lobbyist in Washington." The parliamentary leader also told Dawn "that Howard was running a public relations firm in Bethesda, Maryland. ... When contacted at his hotel, Howard confirmed that he was running a public relations firm named 'Eagle' and was [in Washington] on 'business'." [4]

  • It should be noted that the reliability of this information, although it made its way into the international media echo chamber, may not only be disinformation, but also, perhaps, deliberate propaganda.
  • First of all, George W. Bush was elected in November 2000, so an election campaign manager in 2001 would be unnecessary; secondly, information on Frank Howard, Jr., on the internet is conspicuous by its absence -- other than in this news announcement; and finally, Joe M. Allbaugh, who was Bush's chief of staff when he was governor of Texas, was his "campaign manager in 2000," not a "Frank Howard, Jr." [5]
The "Frank Howard, Jr." and the "Eagle" public relations firm are both a mystery. The question then arises as to what was behind this announcement allegedly released from a member of Pakistan's government.

February 10, 2004, Undersecretary of State for Arms Control John R. Bolton told the San Francisco Chronicle in a telephone interview that "Washington has accepted the Pakistani government's explanation that a small number of rogue scientists were acting on their own, without the government's knowledge, when they sold technology for enriching uranium as well as warhead designs to Iran, North Korea and Libya.

"But he said an urgent concern is whether other nations also may have acquired secrets from the Pakistani scientists and whether any of the buyers later resold nuclear arms technology to other hostile countries or groups. ... Bolton refused to provide details or mention specific countries, citing concerns about sensitive intelligence, but he said black-market rings trafficking in nuclear technology, parts and components are so wide and extensive that shutting them down, even after the admissions by the Pakistani scientists, is proving to be an enormous challenge." [6]

February 27, 2004, Matt Kelley reported in an Associated Press release that during the George H.W. Bush administration Pakistan had openly threatened to pass nuclear technology to Iran, and that the Reagan administration had been aware of Pakistan's goals of becoming a nuclear power, and their actions taken in that direction. [7]

"Pakistan warned the United States 14 years ago that it might give nuclear technology to Iran, but the administration of President Bush's father did little to follow up, former Pentagon officials say."
"Word of the 1990 threat from Pakistan's top general apparently was not passed along to the Clinton administration when it took office three years later, according to interviews by The Associated Press. ...
"Declassified documents and former officials say U.S. officials knew since at least 1983 about Pakistan's extensive underground supply network for its nuclear weapons program, which first tested nuclear explosives in 1998."

March 8, 2004, Seymour M. Hersh wrote in the article "The Deal" in The New Yorker: [8]

"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. 'It is state propaganda,' Samina Ahmed, the director of the Islamabad office of the International Crisis Group, a nongovernmental organization that studies conflict resolution, told me. 'The deal is that Khan doesn’t tell what he knows. Everybody is lying. The tragedy of this whole affair is that it doesn’t serve anybody’s needs.'"

August 27, 2004, New York banker Shaukat Aziz, a "former senior official of the Citicorp bank" and who had been Musharaff's finance minister since 1999, was elected Pakistan's 21st prime minister "in an election boycotted by the opposition." Aziz, who "survived an assassination attempt in July [2004] that killed nine people," is credited with "rescuing Pakistan from a possible economic collapse in 1999." [9]

"'We will not only continue Pakistan's nuclear program but will further strengthen it,' declared Aziz in his acceptance speech. The pledge was aimed at silencing opposition politicians who say that Aziz has been sent by the United States to close down Pakistan's nuclear program."

Setember 18, 2004, the Daily Times of Pakistan announced that Pakistan remained listed on an "annual US narcotics blacklist": [10]

"The president said the blacklisted countries 'failed demonstrably to make substantial efforts' during the previous 12 months to adhere to international counter narcotics agreements and take the counter narcotics measures specified in US law."

November 27, 2004, the New York Times reported that former CIA director George J. Tenet described Mr. Khan "as being 'at least as dangerous as Osama bin Laden' because of his role in providing nuclear technology to other countries." [11]

The mandatory annual update "Report to Congress on the Acquisition of Technology Relating to Weapons of Mass Destruction and Advanced Conventional Munitions" was "the first to assert that the designs provided to Iran also included those for weapons 'components'."
According to Tenet, the CIA "began to infiltrate Mr. Khan's network in the late 1990's."
"That operation led to the unraveling of the network's ties to Libya and the unmasking last year of Libya's illicit weapons program. Mr. Khan remains in Pakistan, where he was pardoned last year by President Pervez Musharraf. Libya turned over the design to the United States early this year, and it is now being examined at the Department of Energy, the custodian of the American nuclear arsenal. But American intelligence agencies are still pursuing questions about the extent of the role the Khan network played in providing assistance to North Korea, Iran and perhaps other customers."

November 28, 2004, the LA Times reported that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan had attempted through South African intermediaries, to sell a complete Uranium enrichment plant to Libya. [12] - (paid archive)

"Authorities pursuing traffickers in nuclear weapons technology recently uncovered an audacious scheme to deliver a complete uranium enrichment plant to Libya, documents and interviews show.
"The discovery provides fresh evidence of the reach and sophistication of Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan's global black market in nuclear know-how and equipment. It also exposes a previously undetected South African branch of the Khan network."

March 11, 2005, the Associated Press and many other wire services reported that: [13]

Pakistan admitted that "the scientist who headed its nuclear program sold Iran a crucial component needed to enrich uranium and produce nuclear material for warheads."
"The admission by Information Minister Rashid Ahmed was Pakistan's first public acknowledgment that Abdul Qadeer Khan provided Iran's secret nuclear program with completed centrifuges. But Ahmed said Pakistan knew nothing of his activities when they occurred and insisted that Khan would not be turned over to another country for prosecution."

March 18, 2005, it was announced that a "team from the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), the 44-nation alliance that polices global exports of materials and equipment that can be used in atomic weapons," should arrive in Pakistan in April "to assess whether controls are in place to prevent illicit exports of sensitive atomic technology." [14]

"Several diplomats from NSG member states said Pakistan's poor compliance with NSG rules is one of the group's biggest problems."
"Although Khan remains under house arrest, neither U.S. officials nor inspectors from the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been allowed to question him to learn the extent of his nuclear black marketeering."
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said "she wanted [to] be certain all of Khan's network had been rolled up" and to "make certain that its tentacles are broken up as well."

March 19, 2005, Pakistan test-fired a long range missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

"The test came two days after Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice visited Pakistan to encourage the peace process - and ahead of Pakistan's National Day on March 23, to be marked with a major military parade in the capital, Islamabad." [15]

March 20, 2005, The Washington Post Reported that the Bush administration: [16]

"In an effort to increase pressure on North Korea, told its Asian allies in briefings earlier this year that Pyongyang had exported nuclear material to Libya. That was a significant new charge, the first allegation that North Korea was helping to create a new nuclear weapons state."
However, "according to two officials with detailed knowledge of the transaction, ... that is not what U.S. intelligence reported ...
"North Korea, according to the intelligence, had supplied uranium hexafluoride -- which can be enriched to weapons-grade uranium -- to Pakistan. It was Pakistan, a key U.S. ally with its own nuclear arsenal, that sold the material to Libya. The U.S. government had no evidence, the officials said, that North Korea knew of the second transaction."

March 25, 2005, Reuters, as well as other major wire services, reported that: [17]

"President Bush has agreed to sell F-16 fighter jets to Pakistan in a major policy shift rewarding a key ally in the war on terrorism ... The Bush administration official said the Lockheed Martin Corp. F-16s 'are vital to Pakistan's security as President (Pervez) Musharraf takes numerous risks prosecuting the war on terror.'"

March 29, 2005, Robert Scheer wrote in the New York Times that the announcement "that the United States is authorizing the sale to Pakistan of F-16 fighter jets capable of delivering nuclear warheads — and thereby escalating the region's nuclear arms race — is the latest example of how the most important issue on the planet is being bungled by the Bush administration." [18] - (paid archive)

Scheer enumerates the "bungling" thusly:
1. "We have thrown away thousands of Iraqi and American lives and billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars after crying wolf on Iraq's long-defunct nuclear weapons program and now expect the world to believe similar scary stories about neighboring Iran.
2. "We have cozied up to Pakistan for more than three years as it freely allowed the operation of the most extravagantly irresponsible nuclear arms bazaar the world has ever seen.
3. "We sabotaged negotiations with North Korea by telling allies that Pyongyang had supplied nuclear material to Libya, even though the Bush administration knew that the country of origin of those shipments was our 'ally,' Pakistan.
4. "Now, Lockheed Martin has been saved from closing its F-16 production line by the White House decision to lift the arms embargo on Pakistan and allow the sale. The decision, which ends a 1990 embargo put in place by the president's father in reprisal for Pakistan's development of a nuclear arsenal, is especially odd at a time when we are berating European nations for considering lifting their arms embargo on China."

March 31, 2005, the Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction: Final Report was released.

Kathleen Shrader, writing for the Associated Press, said: "In a scathing report," the Commission said that "America's spy agencies were 'dead wrong' in most of their judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction before the war and that the United States knows 'disturbingly little' about nuclear threats posed by many of its most dangerous adversaries." [19]


April 9, 2005, China and The USA engaging in South Asia geopolitics.

The South Asia Tribune, citing the Israeli website DEBKAfile, offers a possible rationale for the Bush Administration's willingness to provide Pakistan with F-16s.

..."Pakistan's General Musharraf had agreed to US intelligence agencies’ need for a presence in Pakistani territory for gathering intelligence on Iran’s nuclear installations and in case of a decision to mount a military operation against Tehran.
‘There are strong intimations that Musharraf has already agreed to assist America in this eventuality.’ the Debka-weekly-Net said in a special report on Pakistan and US relations."

The article also describes the Bush Administration's deals with India to placate it over the Pakistani F-16's.

"...the deal for India would be a license for its home production of F-16s. Overcoming its extreme reluctance, the US has also offered to sell to India civilian nuclear technology and could end selling New Delhi a nuclear reactor.
The Bush administration has attempted to sweeten the bitter pill by demonstrating its aspiration to promote India as a major world power with an eye to its offsetting the growing economic and military might of China. There are more perks on offer to New Delhi: state-of-the-art F-16s and even F-18s, with 18 aircraft for immediately delivery and another 108 to be assembled in India via a technology transfer agreement." (see also SAT articles published March 26, and March 29, 2005)

The Pakistan Paper, Dawn published an article on March 9, 2005, detailing Pakistan's agreement with China for a new nuclear reactor.

"Dr Ishfaque Ahmed, special adviser to the prime minister on strategic programme, said on Friday Pakistan would build more nuclear power plants after the Chashma Nuclear Power Plant Unit-2 (CHASNUPP-2) to achieve its target of generating 8,800mw by 2020. He was speaking at the ground breaking ceremony of the Chashma-2project, which will be completed by 2011 at a cost of Rs51 billion.
The project, with a gross production capacity of 340mw, will be jointly built by the China National Nuclear Corporation (CNNC) and the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) under the monitoring of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)."

The stakes have now been raised to a higher level should any future conflicts arise between India and Pakistan.

August, 11, 2005, Pakistan launches a suprise test of their new cruise missle, on Musharraf's 62 birthday. Pakistan claims that it can be launced from Land, Naval(surface/submerged) and Ground platforms, has the capability to carry nuclear warheads, and its range gives it the capability of targeting all of India. Indian experts claim that that the technology is not of Pakistani origin, but Chinese export. The US media barely covers the event.

September 3, 2005, South Asia Tribune publishes article which reports that al Qaida operates openly in Pakistan's Waziristan tribal areas. The article also reports that Audio and visual CDs produced by the Communication Cell of Al-Qaeda and Taliban are being openly sold in the area markets.

Commentary

During the week ending March 27, 2005, mainstream media ignored this seemingly egregious contradiction of George W. Bush's rewarding a country that exported nuclear materials to terrorist states, and had made money from illicit narcotics by agreeing to the sale of F-16s to them. Instead, the media remained singularly focused on the media circus in Florida surrounding the tragic, but utterly overcovered, Terri Schiavo story.

Pakistan's Explanation for Its Nuclear Proliferation

In the February 23, 2004, Monterey Institute for International Studies report "Nuclear Tales from Pakistan," Gaurav Kampani presents Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's "four arguments to explain why Khan and his associates were able to proliferate nuclear technologies and secrets for nearly two decades without the knowledge of successive Pakistani governments." [20]

1. During the "covert phase" of Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, 1975-1998, Dr. A.Q. Khan and Kahota Research Laboratory relied on "shell companies, clandestine procurement techniques, smuggling networks, and middlemen for the purchase of equipment and technologies that were on the export control lists of advanced industrial countries. Thus the same networks that supplied the Pakistani nuclear weapons effort were redirected to meet the demand for similar technologies in the international market. Once Khan and his associates developed a successful model of clandestine trade in forbidden technologies outside formal governmental control, they were able to offer their services for financial rewards to other bidders in the international system."
2. In a February 2004 press briefing, "Musharraf explained that since Pakistan's nuclear weapons program was covert until 1998, civilian governments were out of the nuclear decision-making loop."
"But more astonishingly," Kampani writes, "he sought to peddle the line that even former army chiefs, who were supposed to exercise oversight authority over KRL, never knew of the intimate happenings within the entity. Musharraf's proffered explanation for successive army chiefs' ignorance: the KRL's near total organizational autonomy."
"Furthermore, Khan gradually capitalized on his successes and the state's mythologizing of his contributions to elevate himself to the status of a national hero. Hence, the organizational demands for success during the development phase of the nuclear weapons program, as well as Khan's nearly unassailable position within domestic Pakistani politics, made it difficult for successive army chiefs to confront him for his transgressions."
3. The United States "did not share intelligence on Khan's proliferation network with the Pakistani government until very recently. In the absence of such damning evidence, it was difficult for the Pakistani government to proceed against Khan and his associates."
4. "Musharraf insists that the bulk of the proliferation from Pakistan occurred in the form of intellectual property transfers; the implication of his suggestion being that it is easier for governments to safeguard industrial hardware and nuclear material than the transmission of software."

SourceWatch Resources

External links

Cato Institute - Pakistan: 1986-2000

Power and Interest News Report

1992

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006