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Pakistan & Nukes

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  • Robert Sterling
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Pakistan s Nuclear Weapons At Grave Risk
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 2001
      Please send as far and wide as possible.


      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Pakistan's Nuclear Weapons At Grave Risk
      Pakistan News Service

      SAN FRANCISCO (PNS) - A report just released by Britains Telegraph
      quoting Ben Fenton claims United States has contingency plans to raid
      Pakistan's Nuclear facilities and steal it.

      The report further claimed U.S. special forces has been training for
      this mission. Although the report claims, CIA does not the exact
      location of Pakistan's warheads.

      Legal issues and International consequences of conducting such a raid
      on a sovereign country were not mentioned in the report.


      Pak Government Says 'No Danger' To Its Nuclear Arsenal
      By Mariana Baabar
      The News - Pakistan

      ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday totally rejected reports about
      Pakistan's nuclear weapons being in danger of being disarmed as
      claimed a US newspaper.

      At a joint briefing at the Foreign Office, military spokesman Maj-Gen
      Rashid Qureshi said: "This report is totally baseless and ridiculous.
      The statement by New Yorker just shows how ignorant they are of the
      procedure and have little idea of the system involved to safeguard
      (these nuclear weapons). There is no question of anyone attacking or
      coming close to them."

      When asked about reports that three Pakistani nuclear scientists had
      been handed over to American security agencies, the military
      spokesman once again brushed aside these reports. "Sultan Bashir
      retired in 1998 and then became involved with an NGO. In the process
      he had been to Afghanistan and certain questions are being asked from
      him about this and this process of questioning him is continuing. He
      is not under arrest but is presently unwell and in hospital," the
      military spokesman said.

      He added that the questioning was in line with the policy of trying
      to identify people running NGOs and Bashir was being asked as to why
      he had travelled into Afghanistan. He said that Bashir was not
      working in the making of nuclear weapons when he was in service.

      "Apparently he was involved in some land development research and as
      poppy (was not being cultivated inside Afghanistan) his efforts were
      to look for substitute crops," the military spokesman said.

      The spokesman to a query said that the KKH problems where tribesmen
      had laid siege for several days would be resolved today. "A thirty-
      member Shoora is holding talks with the government and we hope to
      resolve the problem today," he said.

      When asked what the problem was since the Secretary NWFP had been
      quoted on PTV as saying that there was no problem, but the federal
      government was saying that talks were going on, the military
      spokesman replied: "There are two issues. Some days back some people
      took over the airbase at Chilas, which is not being used and is
      deserted. If someone is sitting on it, I am not aware. The second
      issue is that some people had occupied areas disrupting traffic and
      talks are going on and things look hopeful."

      To a question regarding Pakistan's efforts for reconstruction and
      rehabilitation of Afghanistan when at the moment it was part of the
      international coalition, which was bombing and destroying
      Afghanistan, the military spokesman replied, "It is unfair to say
      that Pakistan is bombing the Afghan nation or the Afghan people. We
      are against terrorism. But I do agree that there is collateral damage
      and civilian casualties are increasing. Pakistan is committed to the
      welfare of the Afghans."

      Earlier, the Foreign Office spokesman said that Afghanistan had
      suffered over 20 years and its infrastructure was completely
      destroyed. He said that unless there was no reconstruction the Afghan
      refugees inside Pakistan would find no incentive to return.

      To another question, the FO spokesman said that saying that "moderate
      Taliban" were no longer part of Pakistan's Afghan policy, since there
      was no mention of them by the spokesman in his remarks, he
      replied, "This is a leading question,. I did not mention any special
      groups. For the political process there should be representation of
      all Afghans."

      He said that the special envoy of the UN secretary-general for
      Afghanistan, Lakhdar Brahimi, in his meeting with President Pervez
      Musharraf did not indicate any time-frame for a broad- based Afghan

      To a question whether there was pressure from the UNHCR on Pakistan
      to open its borders for Afghan refugees, the spokesman said that
      there was greater understanding by the UNHCR High Commissioner, Rudd
      Lubbers, that help could be provided to the Afghans within their own

      "There is no other example in the world of refugees like those inside
      Pakistan. According to the UN, there are at least five to six million
      people who are vulnerable. Such a large group cannot go to another
      country. The more prudent and economic way would be to assist them in
      their homes. Camps can be put up inside Afghanistan away from the

      APP adds: In reply to a question about President Musharraf's meetings
      with politicians, Gen Rashid Qureshi dispelled the impression that
      any idea of change in the government set-up was being discussed.

      "There is no question of change in the government. The president's
      meetings with politicians are part of consultation process," he said.
      Gen Rashid said that the president had very clearly stated that
      general elections in the country would be held according to the road-
      map in the year 2002.

      To a question, FO Spokesman Aziz Mohammad Khan said that Pakistan had
      always desired to resolve the core issue of Kashmir and all other
      outstanding issues with India through dialogue. Gen Rashid Qureshi
      said Pakistan is not responsible for increasing the tension in the
      region, "It is India doing all that."

      "We have taken minimum defensive measures," he said while responding
      to a question about Indian designs in the region. To a question about
      a meeting held to review the internal security today, Gen Rashid said
      the meeting was held to discuss certain proposals, which we need to
      implement for security reasons after Bahawalpur's incident. He
      reiterated that people involved in the Bahawalpur's incident would be
      traced and brought to justice whether they were from neighbouring
      country or from here.


      Bush Worried About bin Laden Nuclear Bombs
      By Richard Sale
      UPI Terrorism Correspondent

      The Bush administration is concerned that the al Qaida network of
      accused terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden might try to use a small
      nuclear weapon in a super-spectacular strike to decapitate the U.S.
      political leadership, according to a half dozen serving and former
      U.S. government and intelligence officials.

      "They believe it's a real possibility," said one former senior U.S.
      government official, adding that secret plans for protecting the U.S.
      president and his successors in the event of a nuclear attack were in

      The Bush administration believes that bin Laden -- the prime suspect
      in the Sept. 11 terror attacks -- may be in possession of one or more
      small, portable nuclear weapons, according to one former senior U.S.
      intelligence official. Other experts agree that the danger is
      real. "We're not at all discounting that possibility," agreed Rose
      Gottemoeller, senior associate and Russian weapons expert at the
      Washington-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

      Bin Laden's efforts to get hold of nuclear material are no secret.
      Peter Probst, an anti-terrorism analyst formerly with the Pentagon's
      Office of Special Operations Low-Intensity Conflict says the Saudi
      fugitive "has been obsessed with nuclear weapons."

      During his trial for involvement in the 1998 bombing of two U.S.
      Embassies in East Africa, Jamal Ahmad al-Fadl, an al Qaida operative,
      outlined bin Laden's efforts to spend $1.5 million to obtain a
      cylinder of enriched uranium. Plans were made, said al-Fadl, to test
      uranium samples to see if they could be made into a bomb. The project
      fell through, he said, according to court documents.

      But Monday, the Times of London cited unnamed Western intelligence
      sources as saying bin Laden had obtained nuclear materials from

      And there have also been several reports -- variously citing unnamed
      intelligence sources from Israel, Russia and Arab nations -- about
      bin Laden's attempts to purchase a small nuclear device from the
      arsenal of a former Soviet republic, through terrorist or mafia
      groups in Chechnya or Central Asia.

      According to Probst, what the U.S. intelligence community fears is
      that tactical nuclear weapons of one kind or another have been sold
      to terrorists via corrupt Russian military officers or the Russian or
      Chechen mafias with whom bin Laden is known to have had contact.

      Probst explained that portable nuclear weapons were developed by the
      Soviets in the 1960s. They were designed for use by their Spetznatz
      special operations forces against NATO command and control sites.

      Until recently, the best information the United States had about
      these weapons described them as "suitcase bombs," although former CIA
      counter-terrorism expert, Vince Cannistraro, says that they are the
      size of a footlocker and Gottemoeller adds that they actually come in
      two sections, "both rather cumbersome."

      Cannistraro denounces reports that bin Laden has obtained such
      weapons as "total crap."

      But a former senior U.S. intelligence and Eastern Bloc specialist
      cautioned that "the Soviets were able to build weapons of such
      smallness and lightness that they could be carried by one person,"
      pointing out that one U.S. nuclear warhead weighs less than 60 lbs.

      While much has been written about suitcase bombs, until now, nothing
      has appeared in any public report about these smaller "backpack"
      nuclear weapons, according to several U.S. government sources.

      One U.S. government expert said that the United States gained new
      knowledge of the backpack weapons in the 1990s through Russian double
      agents run by the CIA. One U.S. source familiar with the program
      said: "We had defectors who trained on backpack weapons and who
      bluntly told the agency that everything they knew about the devices
      was wrong. We didn't understand how they were assembled or how they
      were to be used."

      In 1998, this new information was put into a CIA "blue border"
      report, meaning it "contains material from a foreign source of the
      greatest sensitivity," a former senior U.S. intelligence official
      said. The report was presented to then President Bill Clinton and his
      National Security Advisor Sandy Berger. The report was so secret, the
      two men were only allowed to initial the document before it was
      returned to the agency's custody, U.S. government officials said.

      Berger's assistant told United Press International that he declined
      to comment because, "It's an intelligence matter."

      But the Federation of American Scientists says, "nuclear weapons that
      can fit in a very heavy, normal-sized suitcase are a real

      "The possibility that these devices have been stolen and sold to
      terrorist groups is nearly anyone's worst nightmare," said Carey
      Sublette of the Federation of American Scientists.

      General Aleksandr Lebed, the former Russian security czar, said in
      1997 that several nuclear suitcase bombs and tactical nukes had
      disappeared from the Russian arsenal.

      In testimony before the Congressional Military Research and
      Development Subcommittee in October 1997, Lebed said there were bombs
      made to look like suitcases that could be detonated by one person
      with less than 30-minute preparation.

      Lebed also said that nuclear bombs only 24 x 16 x 8 inches were
      distributed among Soviet military intelligence units. He made no
      mention of nuclear backpack bombs.

      Probst told UPI he believes that Lebed is accurate about missing
      Soviet tactical nuclear weapons. "I firmly believe that some were
      sold to groups by corrupt Russian military, probably in the Central
      Asian republics," he said. On Oct. 28, 1999, Rep. Curt Weldon (R-Pa.)
      said that he believed that some 48 Russian nuclear devices remained
      unaccounted for.

      "We simply don't know what was floating around out there when the
      Soviet Union dissolved," especially in the Central Asian republics,
      an administration official said. "That's one of the questions we need
      to ask: what are the threats?"

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