I was alarmed, but not entirely surprised, that old Chinese documents that they gave to Pakistan to help them develop nuclear weapons have turned up in Libya. This seems to be from the 1980s. So perhaps we should be grateful that the nuclear genie stayed secret this long?
Weapons experts in Libya also found equipment used in making enriched uranium, the essential ingredient in nuclear weapons. That discovery helped expose a rogue nuclear trading network that, officials say, sent technology and parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea.
A central figure in the network, Pakistani metallurgist Abdul Qadeer Khan, last month said he had passed nuclear secrets to others. Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf then pardoned him.
What I find astonishing is that President Musharraf just pardoned him like that. I would have thought the Pakistani government might have been just slightly interested in having a little chat to Mr Khan and asking him a few questions, like, who else have you been dealing with on the side?
The sheer irresponsibility of the Chinese and Pakistani governments in taking such a blase attitude to nuclear proliferation is quite alarming.
UPDATE- More on that pardon.
Pakistani intelligence officials said Dr Khan had agreed to surrender the documents in return for a blanket pardon, but had failed to do so.
They believe his daughter will disclose their contents if legal action is brought against him by the country’s military government. Dr Khan, 68, a national hero in Pakistan, remains under house arrest in Islamabad.
Well, I’m surprised that the pardon was announced before he had surrendered the documents. Having said all that, I am curious as to what’s in them.