Thursday, August 25, 2005

Messrs.Dr. No and Dr. Khan & The little matter of North Korea

In an interview Tuesday with Kyodo News Musharraf was quoted as admitting the following facts:

- 'Yes, [A. Q. Qadeer Khan] passed centrifuges -- parts and complete. I do not exactly remember the number,' Musharraf was quoted as saying when asked to comment on reports that Islamabad told Tokyo that Khan gave about 20 centrifuges to North Korea.

- Musharraf said Khan's help would not have been decisive to North Korea's efforts to become a nuclear power because he was not involved in other crucial areas of technology, such as a trigger system. 'So if North Korea has made a bomb... Dr. A.Q. Khan's part is only enriching the uranium to weapons grade,' Musharraf told Kyodo. He does not know about making the bomb, he does not know about the trigger mechanism, he does not know about the delivery system.' _______________________________________________________________

By his admission Musharraf has apparently opened up a new minefield for himself . Questions are now being raised demanding more answers.

New York Times asks today:

Pakistani and American experts have said it is plausible that Dr. Khan smuggled nuclear bomb designs and other small items out of Pakistan. But they said it would be virtually impossible for him to have removed large centrifuge machines from the country's nuclear labs and ship them out of the country without the military knowing.

"I think it would be absolutely shocking that they not have some idea," said George Perkovich, a nonproliferation expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington. "There were planes flying back and forth."


Well OK then, say if our heroic AQ Khan had the resources that were available to Dr No, such as:

  • A private island
  • Several dozens of (preferably armed) employees
  • A fleet of heavy load carrying trucks
  • One or two cargo carrying C-130 airplanes
  • A private airfield
  • An equivalent of Ursula Andress (then maybe not, as James Bond has yet to make his appearance)

Well then, AQ Khan could easily have packed off the centrifuges and more from Kahuta all the way to to North Korea or for that matter Nebraska, USA.


But if he didn’t have Dr No’s resources …umm…then try and imagine the following telephonic scenario:

"Hello, is that PIA Cargo? This is the Great Khan here."

"Really is that Imran Khan?"

"No you moron, not Imran. This is the Great ‘Atum Bum’ Khan!"

Sound of a crash/thump then a barely audible voice comes on: "Very sorry, Sir. It's just that my legs suddenly gave way."

"Boy, get off your knees now and listen to me carefully.
I need to send 20 tonnes of cargo to Pyongyang, North Korea."

"Deeply sorry, Sir. Our planes don't fly to North Korea."

"You don’t fly to North Korea? Well take it from me, as of now your airline does. Got that?"

"Yes, Sir, I understand you. Could you please tell me sort of cargo you are planning to send to North Korea?"

"What kind of cargo? Well it is top secret stuff from Kahuta so mind your own business. Any way all I can tell it is very heavy sort of stuff that needs to be picked up from here."

"We've got no trucks, Sir. Is there some way that you can arrange delivery to the airport?"

"What do you mean you can’t accept delivery from Kahuta because you've no trucks? You better buy the bloody trucks and pronto!"

Understood, Sir. Please tell me how can we arrange to get our newly bought trucks get into the high security at Kahuta?"

"Don't worry, I'll provide the truck drivers with the secret password that will let them through the security ring of missile batteries, ack-ack guns, armoured vehicles and heavily armed commandos."

(and so on and so forth)


Anonymous said...

I wonder how many Pakistanis have a serious understanding of nuclear weapons and their fall out. I know Pervez Hoodbhoy does but there is a general tendency to laugh over nukes and "atum bum" jokes proliferate almost as much as nuclear technology itself has proliferated courtesy Dr A.Q.Khan.

Has anyone seen a nuclear shelter in Pakistan, for example? How will we restart life as a nation if we end up in a nuclear exchange?

Also, today's article by Douglas Frantz about A.Q. Khan and his fall from the pedestal of national hero is also worthy of some debate and discussion.

A Different Drum said...

Dear 'Honest Desi'

In the 50s the USA spent millions building nuclear shelters to protect its citizens.

In Pakistan the governments have yet to provide basic amenities - such as a decent education or drinking water - to most of its citizens. Where are we going to get the money to build shelters for 160 million people?

You obviously live overseas. In Pakistan we have grown accustomed to our ludicrous state of governance. There is little we can do about it other than pulling our hair out in frustration.

Tell me when the Pak Army was readying its nukes after its misadventure at Kargill did it even bother to consult Nawaz Sharif - the prime minister of the day? The answer is: No. It was Clinton who informed Nawaz Sharif of what was taking place in his own backyard.

Our generals had decided to sacrifice the lives of millions of Pakistanis (and Indians) because of their asnine goof up at Kargill.

Because of our idiots-in-charge we and our children could be atomic dust tomorrow. And there is little we can do while the mighty Empire props up our banana republic generals.

So poking fun our dictators is the only weapon we have at our disposal.

Remember those who take themselves all too seriously hate being mocked and laughed at.

So right now we should be laughing loudly at them - 'atum bums' and all!

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