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Adrian Levy: The US Secretly Helped Pakistan Build Its Nuclear Arsenal

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Adrian Levy on Democracy Now!:

Up until 1979, the whole of the world – the western world – was against Pakistan’s program and did everything it could to inderdict that program, fearing instability of Pakistan; fearing a nuclear arms race between Pakistan and India. In fact, at one point, the CIA and the Pentagon looked at sending over a team to destroy the program in a covert operation that was discussed in a meeting with General Brent Scowcroft. But, come 1979, things changed and really, this will completely alter the west’s attitude to the Pakistan program. In ’79, of course, the Soviets invade Afghanistan and prior to that, the U.S. ally, the Shah in Iran fleas enabling Khomenei, the Ayatollah, to come back and the CIA loses it’s listening stations, it loses a great ally; and suggestions are made to Carter for Brzyzenski, the National Security Adviser that America reconsider for the first time the gold standard of nonproliferation and shove it down the agenda in order to begin a new relationship with Pakistan that was struggling to obtain nuclear weapons. So the suggestion for Brzyzenski was the beginning of turning a blind eye, let’s say. But Carter runs out of steam. It will only be when Reagan comes in 1981 that effectively can lead to this policy being implemented. And then we will see ten years of what State Department people describe as U.S. permissiveness, but I think what the rest of us would describe as collaboration, covertly, between the Reagan administration and the Pakistan military, to cement security relationship, enabling their nuclear program and really — I suppose we can go back into some detail on this at a later point – but over that ten years, the whole program would be facilitated. They would cold test a bomb, which means computer simulate one in ’82. In ’83 they’d repeat that process. In 1984, the Chinese would take that bomb and hot test it, actually let it off in a [inaudible] test site. By 1987, that bomb, the Pakistani bomb, had been fixed under a U.S. supplied F-16 fighter jet and was ready to deploy. A jet sold on the precondition that it could never be used by Pakistan for the nuclear program. And one thing to remember here is that year in, year out, throughout that chronology that I’ve given you, President Reagan was telling the American people and Congress Pakistan has no bomb, Pakistan cannot deploy a bomb and is not seeking a bomb. And so, you know, the ground was created for the Pakistan weapons program. But it’s more overt than that even, there was actual direct U.S. covert aid to that program supplied to the Pentagon and the disruption of CIA operations to inderdict the weapons program by Reagan official appointees who were working with the Pakistanis, collaborating….We also know there is intelligence to show that they [Pakistanis] began negotiations very much with Saudi Arabia, Syria, and of course there are tentative contacts with Al Qaeda elements as well.

Irancove @ November 21, 2007

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