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AQ Khan hints Pak government was behind his nuclear bazaar

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By See-Dubya  •  April 8, 2008 07:38 AM

{Guest Post by See-Dubya}

If you don’t recognize A.Q. Khan’s name, you should. Hailed as a hero in Pakistan, he’s done more to put nuclear weapons in the hands of tyrants and terrorists than anyone alive. Pakistan, Iran, Libya, North Korea…maybe a few more we’ve missed, all got their nuke programs started with a little visit from Dr. Khan’s secret proliferation club.

Engineering, centrifuges, materials…it was one-stop shopping for atomic wannabes. Any of which could, by accident or design, leak one of their floor models to Al Qaeda or Hezbollah. And even though he’s been contained, the arms race he started continues:

Saudi Arabia most likely would develop nuclear weapons if Iran acquires them, according to a report to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

High-level American diplomats in Riyadh with excellent access to Saudi decision-makers said an Iranian nuclear weapon frightens the Saudis “to their core” and would compel the Saudis to seek nuclear weapons, the report said. The American diplomats were not identified.

Turkey also would come under pressure to follow suit if Iran builds nuclear weapons in the next decade, said the report…

There has always been speculation that the Pakistani government was involved to some degree with Khan’s project. Well, now a comment Khan made to an AFP reporter, quoted in Dawn, a Pakistani newspaper, adds some credence to that theory:

“I saved the country for the first time when I made Pakistan a nuclear nation and saved it again when I confessed and took the whole blame on myself,” Dr Khan told AFP in a telephone interview from his Islamabad villa late Sunday.

“Even Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (president of the PML-Q) and Mushahid Hussain (general secretary of the party that backs Musharraf) said I saved Pakistan by accepting the whole blame myself,” he added.

Is Khan saying he covered up Musharraf’s involvement in arming the Islamic world? Or was it Pakistan’s rogue intelligence service, the ISI, guiding him?

We don’t know the whole truth about what A.Q. Khan did and why he did it, because he’s been under house arrest since admitting his crime in 2004 and Musharraf has forbidden the CIA to interview him. Now there’s a chance he may be freed:

Members of the new government have indicated that they may consider freeing Dr Khan as they review Mr Musharraf’s policies over the past nine years and seek to roll back his powers.

Khan’s asking to be released himself. Well, if he is released, he should be extradited and face justice in the United States.

If a nuclear weapon goes off in Tokyo, Tel Aviv, or Chicago, it’s probably going to have Dr. Khan’s fingerprints on it. He has changed the world, and he should answer for it.

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