Nuclear “Security” and Nuclear Hypocrisy

05/01/2012

by James Corbett
GRTV.ca
1 May, 2012

When the nuclear “security” summit in Seoul, South Korea concluded last month with a politically safe communique about the participants’ resolution to make a “safer world for all” by aiming to “secure all vulnerable nuclear material in four years” and strengthening the IAEA as a means of “facilitating international cooperation,” even Reuters was quick to point out the blandness of the document.

Given the careful political platitudes about security and cooperation that dominated the summit itself, however, this was not an unexpected denouement to the meeting.

What the vague rhetoric language about securing nuclear materials, reducing stockpiles, and eliminating the threat of nuclear terrorism paper over, however, is that, exactly as in so many other political contexts, the operative definition of each of these goals is the exact opposite of what the politicians who are reading them off of teleprompters want you to believe.

For years now, politicians have been using the specter of nuclear terrorism as a type of boogeyman to justify all manner of draconian crackdowns in the ongoing “war on terror.” Left out of these grim assessments for obvious reasons are the pieces of evidence that detail how, quite contrary to the image of a beleaguered US government striving to keep nuclear material out of the hands of terrorists, that very US government has in fact been complicit in helping rogue networks and so-called nuclear terrorists to proliferate nuclear weapons to countries like Pakistan and North Korea.

The most well-known nuclear proliferator was Abdul Qadeer Khan, a Pakistani scientist working in Europe who passed detailed nuclear design information to his native government. The official history states that Khan was able to help Pakistan to gain the bomb, and then to spread that technology to the governments of North Korea, Iran and Libya without drawing the attention of the US intelligence apparatus. This runs precisely counter to Dutch Economic Minister Ruud Lubbers, who claimed that the CIA knew about Khan’s activities as far back as 1975, but did nothing to stop him. “The Americans wished to follow and watch Khan to get more information.”

Indeed, those who tried to stop such proliferation activities were actively hounded and prosecuted by American authorities. In the 1980s Pakistani government operatives were trying to purchase equipment for their nuclear program from American companies. When the CIA learned of the deal, a sting was set up to catch the Pakistanis in the act, but two high-ranking US government officials tipped the target off and he got away. When Richard Barlow, a CIA analyst, tried to blow the whistle on the illegal actions, he was forced out of his job and his career was derailed.

In 2000, Atif Amin, a British customs officer, independently discovered the AQ Khan nuclear proliferation network in action in Dubai. When he tried to present the evidence to his bosses, his investigation was shut down. The police raided his home and an Official Secrets Act investigation was started against him.

Time and again, the network that helped to proliferate nuclear weapons internationally to some of the west’s favourite arch-villains were allowed to continue with their operations unimpeded, despite being known about by western intelligence. Other signs that the US is not as committed to stopping the spread of nuclear technologies as they claim to be are unfortunately all too abundant.

From 1990 to 2001, former US Defense Secretary and long-time Washington insider Donald Rumsfeld sat on the board of ABB, a European engineering company. It was during his tenure on the board of ABB that the company closed a $200 million contract to supply components and design specifications for light-water nuclear reactors to North Korea. These reactors are capable of producing weapons-grade nuclear material that the nation, deemed part of the “axis of evil” during Rumsfeld’s reign as Bush’s Defense Secretary, can now use to hold East Asia hostage in its game of nuclear brinksmanship.

Perhaps most galling of all is a program that has operated in complete secrecy for decades, in which the US has illegally supplied Japan with over 70 tons of weapons-grade plutonium. The program broke the laws of the US and Japan, as well as the spirit of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, and was only recently uncovered after an exhaustive decades-long investigation by Joseph Trento of the National Security News Service. I had the chance to talk to Trento about the program and its inherent hypocrisies earlier this month.

Perhaps in a certain sense the title of last week’s conference in South Korea is not a misnomer after all. The US government, Israel, and other power players on the global chessboard are interested in nuclear security, after all. For them, however, “security” means the securing of a monopoly on the use of nuclear weapons. The securing of global governmental structures in the name of the nuclear scare. The securing of the IAEA’s dominance over the regulation of the nuclear industry that has so openly bought and controlled them since its inception. And, of course, securing the fear in the minds of the public over the possibility of nuclear terrorism that they themselves have fostered and encouraged over the decades.

Perhaps the most telling fact of all is that countries like Iran were not even welcome at the table during this summit. What better example is possible of the ways in which the nuclear powers think, act, and function as a monopolistic cartel. And exactly like any other cartel, they seek to secure the power to operate their racket free from competition by any other group.

While delivering platitudes about reducing stockpiles and securing materials, the real aim of the nuclear community is to insure that their extraordinary military power, the power to level entire nations and threaten entire continents at the push of a button, is kept out of the hands of the very peoples whom they constantly threaten with this power.

This is the nuclear “security” that they speak of at these events: security in their position of unquestionable military dominance. Security in their position as arbiters of what countries may have access to nuclear power, and under what conditions they can achieve that access. And security in the ability to terrorize the peoples of the world directly through their own arsenals, and indirectly through the implied threat of nuclear false flag terrorism.

Until the underlying hypocrisy of this gang of nuclear thugs is pointed out, and their noble-sounding term “nuclear security” is unmasked as a smokescreen for military hegemony, such conferences will continue to assuage the world with their bland rhetoric about securing the world, and the proliferation that they pretend to fear the most will become a weapon of last resort to the nations that they have so pointedly excluded from their gang.

 

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