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Libya's black market deals shock nuclear inspectors
Uk Guardian ^
| Jan. 17, 2004
| Ian Traynor
Posted on 01/16/2004 7:54:45 PM PST by FairOpinion
Colonel Muammar Gadafy of Libya has been buying complete sets of uranium enrichment centrifuges on the international black market as the central element in his secret nuclear bomb programme, according to United Nations nuclear inspectors.
The ease with which the complex bomb-making equipment was acquired has stunned experienced international inspectors. The scale and the sophistication of the networks supplying so-called rogue states seeking nuclear weapons are considerably more extensive than previously believed.
The purchase of full centrifuges, either assembled or in parts, marks a radical departure in what is on offer on the black market, sources said. While it is not yet clear where Col Gadafy obtained the centrifuge systems, at least 1,000 machines, believed to have been made in Malaysia, were seized last October by the Italian authorities on a German ship bound for Libya.
Diplomatic sources familiar with the results of a recent visit to Libya by nuclear experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the Gadafy bomb programme differed in crucial respects from nuclear projects in Iran, Iraq or North Korea.
"What was found in Libya marks a new stage in proliferation," said one knowledgeable source. "Libya was buying what was available. And what is available, the centrifuges, are close to turnkey facilities. That's a new challenge. Libya was buying something that's ready to wear."
As the climax to nine months of secret negotiations with British and US intelligence, Col Gadafy announced last month that he was renouncing his weapons of mass destruction programmes after purchasing what sources said were "a few thousand" centrifuges for enriching uranium to weapons grade.
Another well-placed source said: "We all now realise there is this extraordinarily developed and sophisticated market out there enabling anyone to get this centrifuge equipment."
Mohammed El Baradei, the IAEA chief, visited Libya a couple of weeks ago to view the Libyan equipment and take charge of the upcoming effort to dismantle the Libyan bomb programme. He described the experience as "an eye-opener".
A centrifuge is made up of hundreds of separate components. Typically, a country covertly seeking the uranium enrichment technology will seek to cover its tracks by obtaining a design blueprint and then purchasing the varied components separately from different suppliers.
The German ship was seized by Italians after a tip-off from the CIA. Knowledgeable sources said the centrifuges on board were "made-to-order" in Malaysia for Libya, based on designs directly or indirectly from Pakistan.
While US government sources have claimed that the seizure persuaded Col Gadafy to do his deal with Washington and London, diplomats and analysts closely following the nuclear trade are convinced that the ship was impounded because of information provided by the Libyans.
According to this version circulating in Vienna, headquarters of the IAEA, Col Gadafy told the CIA about the shipment as a goodwill gesture to convince the Americans and the British that he was committed to the deal being negotiated.
A Finnish expert leading the IAEA investigations into the Libyan and Iranian nuclear projects has so far been denied access to the equipment impounded by the Italians, apparently because of the tug-of-war between the Americans and the Vienna agency over how to dismantle the Libyan programme.
Senior US and British officials are due in Vienna on Monday to negotiate with Dr El Baradei over how to proceed in Tripoli. The Americans will be led by John Bolton, the hawk in charge of nuclear proliferation issues at the State Department. He has a reputation for scorning the UN agencies and his officials disparaged the El Baradei trip to Tripoli as a publicity stunt.
TOPICS: Front Page News
KEYWORDS: blackmarket; iaea; iraq; libya; middleeast; nuclearbombs; nuclearweapons; nukes; qadaffi; roguenations; un; unarmsinspectors; unfailure; unitednations; uranium; wmd
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Considering the above: the relative ease with which Libya was acquiring not just a few, but 1000 full centrifuges to enrich uranium -- can anyone believe that Saddam wasn't doing the same thing, namely acquiring WMD?
With the active help of Libya, we will learn a great deal about the secret under world of WMD production in dictatorships. What methods they use, how they get the equipment and raw materials. And the other nations involved. This is another reason why this is the preferred route to turning dictatorships away from WMDs.
I imagine the Israelis are quite interested in what Libya was upto, as they and the US were probably the primary targets of Libyan atomic weapons. What is scary is that Libya may have come clean now, because they know someone else is going to attack Israel or the US with atomic weapons and don't want any suspicion of involvement to fall on them.
posted on 01/16/2004 8:02:40 PM PST
(Have a Happy New Year!)
To: Matthew James; Tijeras_Slim
Nahhhh I ain't scared !.......Stay Safe !
posted on 01/16/2004 8:04:25 PM PST
(Cache for a rainy day !)
Let us hope that we also get to see how our "allies" the Russians, frogs, huns, and Pakis are involved. I also wonder about the Israeli mob and their South African buddies?
posted on 01/16/2004 8:06:13 PM PST
Seems like Khadaffi is smarter than Chirac and Schroeder, who must really be sweating, right about now.
I bet the trail will lead back to them and the Russians and the various ex-Soviet Republics.
I also willing to bet, that Libya also knows about who else was buying the stuff -- Iraq, Al Qaeda, Iran and who else.
I read somewhere, to my surprise that even Egypt has some WMD.
"made-to-order" in Malaysia
Ranting Mahathir anyone?
posted on 01/16/2004 8:14:06 PM PST
Egypt has chemical weapons supplied by the Soviet Bloc during the 1970s. Saif al-Adel, al-Qaeda's current military commander, is a former Soviet-trained colonel of the Egyptian Special Forces.
To: Angelus Errare
A related article -- I bet they found some things in those other interdictions, or they wouldn't be keeping them a secret.
Anti-WMD interdictions reach three
From correspondents in Washington
January 16, 2004
AT least three interdictions have been conducted as part of an international effort to track and intercept suspected shipments of materials related to weapons of mass destruction (WMD), a senior US defence official said today.
The best known was the interception in October of a German freighter carrying centrifuge parts to Libya, a success that some US officials believe helped persuade Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi to renounce his country's clandestine nuclear program.
But the official said there have been at least two other interdictions under the Proliferation Security Initiative, an 11 country effort to stop the trafficking of WMD materials.
The official said he did not believe the other interdictions yielded WMD technologies, but said those operations have been shrouded in secrecy.
"PSI has conducted interdictions," said a second senior US defence official, declining to say how many there have been beyond the Libyan interception, which was publicly acknowledged by the State Department December 31. http://www.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,4057,8405065%255E1702,00.html
One of the complications behind US efforts in particular with regard to nuclear proliferation is that in many cases our ally of Pakistan (or rather, the trifecta of rogue ISI, crazy nuclear scientists, and the MMA) has been behind them in some fashion or another, at least with regard to Libya, who allegedly purchased a great deal of Pakistani nuclear technology on the open market. Iran has also exploited the Indo-Pakistani rivalry as a means to acquire nuclear technology from both sides, as well as what they receive from North Korea as part of their unofficial anti-Western alliance.
So if it's from Pakistan, the US is likely keeping it quiet in order to take some heat off Musharraf. If it came from North Korea, we're keeping quiet because either 1) we don't want Kim to know that we are intercepting his WMD shipments or 2) we don't want to stir the Korean Peninsula until we've had time enough to shift the necessary troops to the region.
United Nations nuclear inspectors shock too easily
posted on 01/16/2004 8:30:33 PM PST
(Ashland, Missouri - lash me to the mast Captain)
To: Angelus Errare
It's a very complex situation and "game" indeed.
Puzzle pieces are starting to come together. Libya got caught red-handed & moramar decided he didn't want to be an oil spot in the sand. Object Lesson Iraq sure has sharpened GW's diplomatic skills.
posted on 01/16/2004 9:21:04 PM PST
There is nothing like that picture of raggedy Saddam in the rathole for diplomatic purposes. ;)
One may call it an object lesson to other terrorist supporting dictators.
Now we have two object lessons. Terrorist supporting dictators have a choice: do they want to end up like Saddam, or do they want to be smart and end up like Kadaffi.
Powell made that point to Syria.
US urges Syria to follow in Libyas footsteps
LONDON: US Secretary of State Colin Powell urged Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Friday to follow in Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi footsteps and abandon banned weapons programmes to forge better ties with the West. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=story_17-1-2004_pg4_1
WARNING: Censored Adult-Content Rant follows.
Send the kids away from the computer...
I apologize to the forum for my rant...but it's engendered by the thought
that the b@$tards who wouldn't lift a finger to help the Coalition Of The Willing
to bring Saddam and his Baathists to heel are now trying to OBSTRUCT
the process of cleaning up the sewers of international (even nuclear) terrorism.
The ease with which the complex bomb-making equipment was acquired has stunned
experienced NAIVE, PhD-Degreed. DUBYA-HATING, FRANCOPHILIC,
WEASELY, DEANIAC international inspectors.
Senior US and British officials are due in Vienna on Monday to negotiate with
Dr El Baradei over how to proceed in Tripoli.
"You can't expect the people who caused the problem to be the ones to fix it."
--aphorism attributed (probably apocryphally) to Albert Einstein
Dear Dubya and Blair...just tell these F---ING BLIND "international inspectors"
to "GET THE F--- OUT OF THE WAY".
Because they surely don't know how to lead or follow when it comes to making the
world or safer place.
Especially when it comes to regulating THUGS that the inspectors probably have over
to their villas for lunch.
posted on 01/16/2004 9:41:34 PM PST
I'm not very optimistic about the prospect of Syria getting smart. Unfortunately.
posted on 01/16/2004 9:42:47 PM PST
I agree with everything you say, but it's actually worse.
El Baradei and other UN inspectors are KNOWINGLY helping the terrorist supporting dictators to hide WMD.
Washington Targets Chirac and ElBaradai http://www.debka.com/article.php?aid=484
The Americans are sitting tight on the extremely valuable Iraqi intelligence archives discovered at Iraqi intelligence headquarters in Baghdad and at sub-departments of Saddams clandestine machine never before known to exist.
From this treasure trove, America has distributed to its war allies some materials relevant to their national security. But no decision has been taken as to the disposition of documents attesting to the clandestine ties of collaboration maintained with the Saddam regime by a whole range of foreign government and public office-holders, academics, media figures, financiers and industrialists the world over, many deeply involved in sanctions-busting. By and large, Washington is not inclined to bare these secrets or make use of them at the moment, except in some notable cases. One is French president Jacques Chirac; another is the head of the International Atomic Energy Commission in Vienna, Dr. Mohammed ElBaradai, who led the nuclear weapons inspection in Iraq before the war.
As for Dr. ElBaradai, our sources report that, even before the Iraqi archives were examined, Washington had compiled a dossier on the chief nuclear inspector from discoveries made in the course of crises over the North Korean and Iranian nuclear weapons programs.
In the meantime, US officials believe they have sufficient grounds for demanding Dr. ElBaradais removal
Apparently we decided to do nothing about El Baradei, at least not publicly.
Nuclear inspectors are a bunch of Harvard science majors, who drank wine from real crystal, who drive BMWs or Mercedes usually, who vacation in France, who have never used a power drill in their life, who have never repaired their own toilet ever, and who read only the New York Times. These are people that you simply could not appoint to run a major US company or a federal agency. And the sad thing is....we are depending on them to inspect nuclear facilities correctly.
In a way, I almost hope Syria doesn't see the light.
I think it would be nice to occuply it and dig up Saddam's WMD they are hiding.
It would be nice to turn it into glass but that's in my dreams.
posted on 01/16/2004 10:41:24 PM PST
It would be refreshing if that every company that was involved in some way with the sales of these supplies would be banned from doing any business with any company or individual in the United States for a period of one year. Or if they are in the United States that they would be forbidden from doing any international business for one year.
I don't care if they knew what they were doing or not - a year sitting on the side lines will end these backroom sales for good.
posted on 01/16/2004 10:44:53 PM PST
(Remember: Politicians and members of the press are going to read what you write today.)
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