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ARTICLE ARCHIVE

International

Beyond Nuclear has added a new division -- Beyond Nuclear International. Articles covering international nuclear news -- on nuclear power, nuclear weapons and every aspect of the uranium fuel chain -- can now mainly be found on that site. However, we will continue to provide some breaking news on these pages as it arises.

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Friday
Aug202010

Nuclear Deception: Pakistan, the U.S., and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons

This harrowing book by Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark (2007, Walker and Company) lays bare the myth that "atoms for peace" and nuclear weapons are -- or can ever be -- kept separate. This comprehensive telling of the story of A.Q. Khan follows Pakistan's "Father of the Bomb" from his initial obscurity, to stealing "civilian" uranium enrichment centrifuge blueprints from his Dutch workplace in the early 1970s, to developing the key part of the Islamic Republic's secret atomic weapons infrastructure (unveiled to the world in nuclear test blasts in 1998), to his central role in the Pakistani government's and military's extensive nuclear weapons blackmarket. This worst ever proliferation ring involved, at various times, the likes of Saudi Arabia, China, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, and Libya, as well as Western European, North American, Middle Eastern, and Malaysian suppliers; despite Khan's downfall in 2004, tentacles of this network may still be in operation! 

A recurring theme in the book -- very little reported, and perhaps even less appreciated -- is that, in addition to the U.S.-Pakistani military/political alliance (first aimed against the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980s, and for the past decade against the Taliban and Al Qaeda), which led to the U.S. government, at the highest levels, "looking the other way" as Pakistan first developed "the Muslim bomb," then sold it or gave it away for its own mercenary or even more sinister reasons, there was the commercial nuclear power dynamic. U.S. atomic firms had wares to sell in such places as China and North Korea. Such "atoms for peace" commerce led to the necessity of pretending not to know how out of control the bizarre atomic weapons bazaar had grown.

An especially egregious chapter occurred during the White House reign of Bush Sr., with Dick Cheney as Secretary of "Defense." To clear the way for an F-16 jet fighter sale to Pakistan's military -- worth several billions to such firms as General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin -- Cheney Pentagon and State Dept. henchmen, including Paul Wolfowitz and "Scooter" Libby, and their bureaucratic underlings, ruined the career and life of the top federal intelligence officer monitoring Pakistan's nuclear weapons capabilities. They did so to block him from doing his job and interferring with the executive branch's false mantra, that not only did Pakistan not have nuclear weapons, but the F-16 could not be adapted to launch Pakistan's non-existent nuclear weapons. The opposite, in fact, was true. Pakistan's arch nemisis, India, for one, knew better, although the U.S. Congress was kept in the dark, greasing the skids for approval of the F-16 transfer, despite U.S. laws prohibiting such sales to nuclear weapons rogue states like Pakistan.

Another frightening area this book covers is the very close ties between the likes of Osama Bin Laden, and numerous other Islamic terrorists at work in such places as Afghanistan and Kashmir, and the highest echelons of the Pakistani military and ISI (Inter Services Intelligence directorate, its secret police). But more frightening still are the documented instances of such ties involving the Pakistani atomic weapons establishment, including A.Q. Khan himself.

Nuclear Deception should not be confused with The Nuclear Power Deception: U.S. Nuclear Mythology from Electricity "Too Cheap to Meter" to "Inherently Safe" Reactors, another excellent must read by Arjun Makhijani and Scott Saleska (Apex Press, 1999).

Friday
Jul232010

Traditional owners fight Australian nuclear dump

Traditional owners of Muckaty Station in Australia will fight a nuke dump on their land claiming that they were not properly consulted about the dump and that the government decision to construct it is void. See the story.

Monday
Jun282010

Australian union bans workers from nuclear facilities

"Fears of radiation exposure to uranium workers has led to the Electrical Trades Union in Brisbane, Australia, to ban members from working in uranium mines, nuclear power stations, and any part of the nuclear fuel cycle, according to a BBC report. Union leaders believe uranium exposure will replace asbestos as the high profile toxic workplace contaminant...the reasons stated for not allowing union workers in Australia be exposed to uranium recalls statements made by dying and ill workers in the United States who unknowingly made the ultimate sacrifice working at Cold War uranium diffusion and processing plants." More.

Wednesday
Jun162010

Hong Kong worried about leaking nuke on China's mainland

"The Hong Kong government said a radioactive leak occurred last month at a nearby nuclear power reactor in mainland China, raising concerns about safety and transparency at a facility 50 kilometers from the city's border." Wall Street Journal. (requires subscription)

Wednesday
Jun162010

Uranium in drinking water responsible for disabled children

High levels of uranium, perhaps from depleted uranium used by the US in the Iraq war, along with other heavy metals, has been found responsible for brain disabilities among children, according to Germany's Microtrace Mineral Lab. Punjab Newsline reports that hair samples of affected children contain these heavy metals, uranium being the only radioactive one. Children of the southern Malwa region of the Punjab are most affected.