Pakistan's government is now trying to portray the sale of nuclear technology to Iran, Libya, and North Korea as the cloak-and-dagger work of a few, isolated rogues.But that's a lie, says Jane's Defense Weekly, in a report released today. Nuclear sales were so out in the open that underlings of Abdul Qadeer Khan -- the father of the Pakistani Bomb -- were handing out glossy brochures advertising their services at a 2000 arms conference.
One of the brochures, a 10-page catalogue from A. Q. Khan Research Laboratories' Directorate of Vacuum Science and Technology, offered virtually all the components needed to establish a uranium-enrichment plant. The specialised centrifuge pumps, gauges, valves and other components each have civilian uses, but together provide the means to enrich the rare uranium-235 isotope to a particularly pure grade so that it can be used to fuel a nuclear weapon.If there was any doubt as to what was on offer, a second accompanying brochure under the heading of "nuclear-related products" listed "complete ultracentrifuge machines" and other components needed to build a uranium-enrichment plant.JDW readily obtained the brochures on the spot and inquired whether all of the listed items were available for sale. Several KRL officials provided positive assurances that all had government approval for export...KRL was not the only Pakistani organisation peddling worrisome technology at the Karachi exhibition. Its rival laboratory - the National Development Complex - was also handing out marketing packages offering a variety of technologies useful in the development of long-range ballistic missiles. While Pakistan is under no legal international obligation to control missile technology sales, it has often pledged to do so.Moreover, Khan himself has alleged that he received approval for the Iranian transfers from officers in the Pakistani army. One former senior US intelligence officer agrees with this assessment, saying that the former Pakistani Chief of the Army Staff, Gen Mirza Aslam Beg, was "a crucial figure". The official added: "Whatever the network is, it has got to envelop part of the [Pakistani] military establishment."THERE'S MORE: Via Cursor, here's a link to one of Khan's nuclear brochures.