“An incandescent column of smoke and flame as bright as ten thousand suns rose in all its splendor: it was an unknown weapon, an iron thunderbolt, a gigantic messenger of death, which reduced to ashes. The entire race of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas…the corpses were so burned as to be unrecognizable. Their hair and nails fell out; pottery broke without apparent cause, and the birds turned white. After a few hours all foodstuffs were infected…to escape from this fire the soldiers threw themselves in streams to wash themselves and their equipment.”
That is how the impact of Brahmastra has been described in the Puranas.
The imagery of that weapon is eerily similar to the impact of nuclear weapons. Its use and responsibility of one who possessed was a serious matter. Very few had the ability and it required a lot of effort. Its sharing was done under very strict code.
When the power to destroy is so huge, then such a weapon should never be shared with one who looks at the world as a place for ideological revenge.
Worse, you accentuate that quality while you provide him with the ability to destroy the world.
Why? For what?
The story of how Pakistan got its nuclear arsenal is bizarre! No sane mind can even wrap around the decisions made by some powerful men and women in their swagger of power.
Decisions that will one day threaten the human race itself.
One man's life and Pakistan's Nukes
Richard Barlow had won the CIA’s Exceptional Accomplishment Award in 1988 and was a senior member of the counter-proliferation desk at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Today he lives in a trailer in Montana. A jobless destitute.
The story of how Pakistan got its Nuclear plan and how the American Presidents and State Departments helped them with it, is best told through the life story of one man.
AQ Khan - thief and a swindler - takes shape
We will come back to him in a bit. But let us first talk about another man.
Khan was born in Bhopal, India in 1936. He was one of seven children, the son of a schoolmaster.
He was arrested in 2004 for "selling nuclear secrets". The father of Pakistan's atomic bomb was freed in 2009. After 5 years. During those 5 years, he lived in his plush villa in Islamabad.
In 1961, Khan went to see a public exhibition on Eisenhower's Atoms for Peace vision. It dawned on him there that metallurgy was the key to a nuclear program. Pakistan had no metallurgy industry or specialization as such, so he pushed to get into a European university.
He borrowed some money from his brother in Karachi and went to stay with a distant cousin in Düsseldorf. No European university was interested in him.
It was in January 1962 that he visited Holland and The Hague and at that time he came across Hendrina Donkers (or Henny), a young girl from South Africa with Dutch parents at a post office.
In September 1962, he got an offer from West Berlin Technische Universität to attend a few introductory lectures in metallurgy. Henny was to join him there as well.
In September 1963, Khan and Henny moved to Holland and he moved to a course at Delft Technological University.
In early 1964, AQ Khan (27 years) and Henny (21 years) married each other at the Pakistani embassy at The Hague. The first secretary Jamiluddin Hassan conducted the ceremony. Ambassador Qudratulllah Shahab was the witness.
During these days, one of his classmates, Henk Slebos became a good friend of his. He would later help Khan with equipment for Pakistan’s nuclear program.
Finally, in 1965 Khan was accepted at Delft for a master’s program in metallurgy.
He got lucky when an internationally renowned Nuclear Physicist, Professor Dr. WG burgers became Khan’s mentor. Khan did a lot of small projects under him. He was just average - neither good nor bad.
He and Henny, however, returned to Pakistan briefly in September 1965 and then came back to Europe in 1968 when Khan won a research scholarship to the Catholic University of Leuven in Flanders.
The seeds for whatever Khan did later with the Pakistani nuclear program were sown during these years at Delft and Leuven. He made contacts that he would harvest later.
In March 1972, an Amsterdam-based Dutch firm named FDO asked Khan's mentor at Leuven, Professor Brabers for a metallurgist who could be a technical translator as well. The role did not need an expert metallurgist. Just superficial knowledge was enough.
Khan started his new job in May 1972.
Look at AQ Khan's luck when he landed at FDO.
FDO would supply parts and expert knowledge to Ultra Centrifuge Nederland (UCN). UCN was the Dutch partner of URENCO. A uranium-enrichment consortium.
On May 8th, 1972, within a week of joining FDO, Khan visited the advanced UCN enrichment facility in Almelo. he wanted to become familiar with URENCO centrifuge operations and information about his work on the strengthening of metal centrifuge operations. (Source: AQ Khan Nuclear Chronology)/Carnegie Endowment
Interestingly, he was not cleared to even enter the facility. But his superiors consented.
It was at this time that Dutch intelligence became suspicious of him because of his actions.
But the worst thing was that even when Veerman tried to report Khan to the Dutch authorities in 1973, he couldn't go past a secretary.
Meanwhile in Islamabad - and The Grand Nuke Theft
On January 20th, 1972, after the disastrous loss in the 1971 war with India, Pakistan's Prime Minister gathered a few scientists in Multan to discuss the making of a Nuclear bomb. When asked how long it will take, most scientists said 5 years. Some young ones said 3 years.
Nothing came about in the next two years. Ultimately, in 1974, Bhutto sent for Khan. He was in Holland. Pakistan's Ambassador JG Kharas took it personally.
Khan was a man of grand ideas of himself. That he was a descendant of Mohammad Ghauri and that he was from the royal family. Loud mouth megalomaniac. And he hated India and call Hindus bastards.
After 1971, and the inability of Pakistan to get its nuclear ambition going, a serendipitous letter landed with the government. Bhutto along with Kauser Niazi, the Information minister read the letter which electrified Bhutto. They decided there is no harm in pursuing him.
Khan discussed that centrifuges are being used in Europe to produce fissile material. And Khan offered to get that technology for Pakistan. How did he land there? He spoke English, Dutch, and German and had a technical background. This had enabled him to be employed as a technical translator for the URENCO consortium and brought him closer to the Dutch prototype being created known as CNOR.
Bhutto noted in the margins "He seems to be talking sense". And the Pakistani establishment got on board.
Khan started stealing classified plans for a centrifuge that would create bomb-grade uranium. Security at URENCO by most accounts was slipshod. They had a network of research centers and subcontractors to build its centrifuges and they would even pass top-secret blueprints to companies that would bid for the tenders. Engineers across Europe, if they wanted, could have easy access to those designs! Khan also got access to the most advanced designs.
When URENCO achieved uranium critical mass, at a fraction of the cost that the US had been able to do, Khan knew he had hit a jackpot.
He then went ahead and started building relationships with Almelo's scientists. In a rather strange maneuver of using the knowledge gained at Leuven, Khan made himself a critical part of the work that Almelo was doing. Soon the scientists were sending him classified designs and even details of the suppliers' lists who could provide these components.
He kept collecting as much information as he could. Finally, when India detonated its nuclear bomb in May 1974, he lost control and wrote to Bhutto come help. He received word from Pakistan's government back in September.
As his last act, he wanted to get a hold of complete information on G-2 (prototype centrifuge). He eventually was able to get a secret report from a typist at FDO!
He waited until December before he made his move.
His actions had started raising suspicion. But soon, AQ Khan took the blueprints and the supplier lists for uranium enrichment centrifuges and moved to Pakistan in 1975
In 1983, a Dutch court convicted Khan in absentia on the charges of stealing the designs. A conviction that was strangely overturned on a technicality! With influence from Washington DC. Per Ruud Lubbers, Dutch Prime Minister from 1982 to 1994.
That is how AQ Khan's empire of nuclear technology started and the foundation of his proverbial Nuke bazaar was laid. Thanks to Washington's active participation!
Barlow's Shocking Findings
Long before Putin insulted and compromised the integrity and security of the US, as Democrats would have us believe today, Pakistan had made it their national sport!
Barlow is now destitute and living in a trailer (Source)
So said Danielle Brian, executive director of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO), in a Congressional hearing in June 2009.
Now, who is this Barlow?
His name is Richard Barlow. Once upon a time, he was a rising star and a decorated analyst (CIA’s Exceptional Accomplishment Award in 1988) in CIA.
His greatest mistake?
He went after Pakistan’s Nuclear Program and the progress Pak had made in getting all the components from the US and Europe right under the nose of those administrations.
Worse all this was accomplished with the active collaboration of Ronald Reagan’s Government.
The evidence against Reagan’s administration was so damning that a high-level official once said, that if the US is ever attacked with a Nuke, you know WHO to blame it on!! - Reagan.
Danielle Brian also continued about Barlow:
As a CIA intelligence officer and later in the Pentagon, Rich Barlow learned that top US officials were allowing Pakistan to manufacture and possess nuclear weapons. Barlow also discovered that US officials were hiding these activities from Congress. Barlow objected and suggested to his supervisors that Congress should be made aware of the situation… he was fired. (source: 'US admn allowed Pak to acquire nuke tech' / Times of India)
These allegations and statements exactly mirror the assertions made by two British journalists, Adrian Levy and Catherin Scott-Clark in their Investigative book “Deception”.
Today let us go into them and see how Pakistan really got its nuclear arsenal.
When Barlow got interested in Pakistan's nuke program, and how the US seemed to be backing it up, he thought it was a case of clientitis!
The State Department had tons of damning information and intelligence on every aspect of Pakistan's nuclear program, but they chose to keep mum and worse stop other federal agencies from doing their job.
Up until this time, in Richard Barlow’s mind, it was a case of incompetence at best and being enamored by your client at worst.
Things changed as he discovered more and more damning material.
Then Barlow made a second, unsettling discovery. In addition to keeping back intelligence, he later discovered that the State Department had been facilitating back-door procurement, issuing scores of approvals for the Pakistan Embassy in Washington to export hi-tech equipment for its bomb that the Commerce Department had refused to license for proliferation reasons
So, it was not just incompetence but the State Department was in fact facilitating the transfers of the components for the Nuclear Plant to Pakistan. As Barlow was soon to discover, this was just the tip of the iceberg.
It ran deeper than that.
Washington's elite and the US nuclear secrets were on a firesale to the Pakistanis. Courtesy of the Reagan State Department!
Just let that sink in -
The State Department was sending communications to the Pakistani consulate when other federal would be ready to raid the front Pakistani companies being investigated for sending parts and components of a nuclear plant to Pakistan!
Quite obviously, the CIA or the Customs could never nail a covert Pakistani operation!
The US State Department was ensuring the security of the Pakistani covert operations.
Something bold and big was needed to blow the whole collusion.
So, in a plot right out of an espionage thriller, Barlow and the US Customs laid a trap for the Pakistani contact who had discussed doing a deal for a “Kahuta client”.
Kahuta was the Pakistani nuclear plant.
Arshad Pervez was the frontman. The real man - his handler was Inam ul Haq.
Haq was a Pakistani career diplomat.
He later went on to become Pakistan’s Foreign Minister! (Source).
Do you see how high and pervasive the mess was?
Anyhow, Pervez was arrested, but Haq got away.
Barlow found enough compelling evidence later that the entire operation had been sabotaged from within the US State Department and Inam ul Haq had been tipped off! Just like always.
On pages 167 and 169, Levy and Scott-Clark say this:
Dick Kerr looked over the evidence. Abraham Sofaer for State reviewed it too. Both had little appetite for another inquisition, and yet the men accused of blowing the Pervez (Arshad Pervez) sting were extremely close to the White House: Robert Peck, the deputy assistant secretary of state for Near East Affairs, and another official at the under secretary level. The accusations were devastating. The lawyer dryly put his thoughts to a criminal investigator working for the State IG, “I am fully aware of the cable traffic and documents on this issue”. There was cold proof of sabotage from within the State Department. The State Department’s lawyers considered their position, and eventually would argue that a Justice Department probe into Peck or his colleague would necessitate the spilling of state secrets and possibly invoke an independent counsel’s investigation. While they dumped the probe, the president made his annual Pressler amendment certification to Congress in December 1987, saying, “Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device”. (emphasis added) [Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons, page 167 and 169]
That is how the "Pakistan does not have a nuclear explosive device" charade kept on.
Pakistan got its nuclear plant at Kahuta thanks to the grand theft of AQ Khan and the unprecedented betrayal of the United States by the Reagan administration's State Department which colluded with the Pakistani government, consulates, and the ISI to hoodwink the American Customs and intelligence agencies.
Barlow of course resigned and left the job. His personal life devastated.
It was later, however, that the significance of Barlow's work was fully understood.
In 1989, Barlow, then working as a proliferation analyst in the office of the Under-Secretary of Defense for Policy, was forced to resign, under threat of firing, in what he alleges was retaliation for his persistent investigations into nuclear smuggling and his heated objections to yet another misleading congressional briefing on Pakistan. His allegations, initially written off as the mutterings of a malcontent, lately have been taken with increased seriousness by government investigators. In a recent interview, Sherman Funk, the Inspector General of the State Department, described Barlow as “one of the most brilliant analysts I’ve ever seen,” and depicted his forced resignation as an injustice. (Source: "On the Nuclear Edge" / New Yorker)
Richard Barlow, who brilliantly unearthed the whole plot had his life destroyed. Jobless, Divorced, and Destitute he lives his last days in a trailer in Montana.
Why the betrayal?
So what was it that made Washington DC jeopardize the world to enable Pakistan to not just get the nuclear weapons but even go around proliferating them?
Seymour Hersh, one of the top journalists, wrote about how since early 1950 (basically from Pakistan's formation itself), Pakistan had handed over the remote areas in northern provinces to the CIA and National Security Agency for espionage activities on the Soviets.
Basically, America had access to use Pakistan as it wished from 1950 onwards.
Nuclear secrets to Pakistan were the payment for how Pakistan opened up its own country for complete use by the Americans against the Soviets!
Thus started the journey of Pakistan's nukes and the global proliferation of nuclear technology.
The story, however, does not end there.
China's help with virtual DIY Nuke kits
A Pakistani military aircraft C-130 flew off from the western Chinese city of Urumqi. It had a very significant cargo.
Weapons-grade uranium for two atomic bombs.
Those five stainless-steel boxes were the result of a secret nuclear deal between Mao Zedong and Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
The DIY kit came not just with the uranium but also a blueprint and step-by-step plan. It is said that Pakistan later shared the design with Iran and also Libya!
According to Khan, the uranium cargo came with a blueprint for a simple weapon that China had already tested, supplying a virtual do-it-yourself kit that significantly speeded Pakistan's bomb effort. The transfer also started a chain of proliferation: U.S. officials worry that Khan later shared related Chinese design information with Iran; in 2003, Libya confirmed obtaining it from Khan's clandestine network. (Source: "Scientist: China gave Pakistan nuke blueprint" / NBC)
What was started in Holland, was finally completed with the help of the Chinese.
Nukes for Missiles Barter
In 1993, as Benazir Bhutto was to leave for North Korea, she was frantically shopping for an overcoat.
Do you know why?
Within its pockets, she had to carry CDs containing the scientific data about uranium enrichment that the North Koreans wanted.
In his book "Goodbye Shahzadi" Shyam Bhatia wrote about a conversation between him and Benazir Bhutto in 2003. The secret that Benazir shared with Bhatia during an evening drink session was "so significant that he had to promise never to reveal it, at least not during her lifetime. Benazir Bhutto was on a state visit to North Korea in 1993. In that visit, she smuggled crucial data on uranium enrichment to help facilitate a missile deal with Pyongyang per Bhatia's book. Why did Bhutto do it?
At that time, the secret services of India, Russia, and some western countries were closely monitoring every move on Pakistan's military research, Bhutto had decided to herself carry the sensitive material to Pyongyang to avoid detection.
He also asserts that Pakistan gave uranium enrichment technology to North Korea in return for missiles. This 'enrichment for missiles' barter took place in 1993.
The roots of cooperation are deep. North Korea and Pakistan have been engaged in conventional arms trade for over 30 years. In the 1980s, as North Korea began successfully exporting ballistic missiles and technology, Pakistan began producing highly enriched uranium (HEU) at the Khan Research Laboratory. Benazir Bhutto’s 1993 visit to Pyongyang seems to have kicked off serious missile cooperation, but it is harder to pinpoint the genesis of Pakistan’s nuclear cooperation with North Korea. By the time Pakistan probably needed to pay North Korea for its purchases of medium-range No Dong missiles in the mid-1990s (upon which its Ghauri missiles are based), Pakistan’s cash reserves were low. Pakistan could offer North Korea a route to nuclear weapons using HEU that could circumvent the plutonium-focused 1994 Agreed Framework and be difficult to detect. ( Source: "Weapons of Mass Destruction: Trade Between North Korea and Pakistan" / EveryCRSReport)
So when Pakistanis say their scientists have made their own missiles, one can only pity them.
For, if a country has an Intercontinental Ballistic missile program but cannot even send a rocket into space then you should know for sure that these missiles came from some other country that has a space program!
The science and technology of ICBMs and Space launch is very similar.
One may remember how this exact argument was used by the US used against India in the 1980s to deny ISRO the cryogenic engine.
The truth is that Pakistani missiles were North Korean missiles painted green!
Who gave the missile technology to North Korea?
That's a cozy relationship! While China provided bomb-grade uranium and bomb designs to Pakistan and missiles to North Korea. These two basket-case economies shared their gifts amongst themselves!
The Nuclear Armageddon
In 2008, the former US Secretary of State Madame Albright said something interesting about Pakistan.
Well, Nukes and Terrorism were the makings of the very block that Albright and her nation led!
Not only had the Americans equipped Pakistan with the nukes, but they also spent $100 million for the security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons. It seems the US has a "snatch and grab" plan. Something that the Pakistanis brush aside.
Pakistan's nuclear program will be the greatest blunder that the West allowed to happen even at the cost of their own security because they thought it would help them defeat the Soviets. Of course, China helped later with the DIY kits for the bombs and missiles that completed the loop for the Pakistani establishment. But all this was allowed to happen even when the world was lectured on the ills of nuclear proliferation.
The Nuclear Arsenal!
Nuclear arsenal - A setup and a threat that enabled them to create, sustain and unleash the largest terrorist program in the history of mankind.
Video Corner: How Shiva Purana documents Human Anatomy
“Uma-Samhita” is part of Shiva-Purana, which, in Hinduism, represents one of the eighteen Mahapuranas. Project Shivoham shares in this documentary how this scripture documents the human anatomy in astonishing detail. Worth watching this one video!
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