Here's a summary of an article by Joby Warrick on the growing problem of radioactive materials being caught up in illicit trade. Warrick points out that the trading of dirty bomb and radioactive components is particularly problematic in the Caspian Sea/Caucus Region of the Former Soviet Union. The worst offender among the FSU Republics is Georgia, where stockpiles of radioactive materials are constantly being discovered.
Radioactive materials are actively being sought on the black-market. One of the goals of terrorists is to obtain these materials in order to make a ‘dirty bomb.’ Dirty bombs use a conventional explosive to spread radiation over a wide area; hence, one can use any type of radioactive material – not just those like uranium and plutonium use in nuclear weapons. This type of weapon could render an area uninhabitable for months/years. New NDU analysis (not released at time of article) states that the long held view that dirty bombs will not pose a significant human toll may be misleading --- if radioactive particles enter through nose and mouth they may serious effect on the lungs, digestive system and immune system. Initially, the article retells a story of a man from Georgia being caught with seized with strontium and cesium. The Buyer's IDs were not discovered--he appeared to be a pawn in the process. At least three times since 1999, officials have discovered kilogram quantity caches of uranium leaving Georgia. Other devices that use radioactive material are also targets for the black-market, such as ‘well logger.’ Well logger is a device that uses radioactive material to probe through bedrock looking for oil. Tens of thousands of well loggers in use around the world. In Ecuador, criminals stole 5 well-loggers and held them for ransom. Only three were returned in exchange. There are also several other cases where well-loggers have been lost or stolen. One well logger stolen from Nigeria was found nine months later in a scrap yard in Germany.
From T.V. Paul's excellent book: Power Versus Prudence: Why Nations Forego Nuclear Weapons, here is an executive summary of his chapters on Japan, Brazil and Argetina.
Thesis:Non-nuclear policies were adopted in order to maximize economic and security goals within the constraints imposed by asymmetrical security interdependence with allies and adversaries.
• Three Phases of Japanese nuclear policy development:
o 1945-1970: Strong domestic opinion against nuclear weapons. A defensive posture allowed Japan to concentrate on their economy. The U.S. security guarantee helped make possible the Yoshida Doctrine of 3 non-nuclear principles: no producing, no possessing, and no nukes on Japanese territory (no written agreement = deniability)
o 1970-1990: Japan ratified the NPT in June 1976 after receiving IAEA agreement to less intrusive safeguards and treatment equal to Euratom. Increased Soviet activity led to re-examination of nuclear decision. First and second strike capabilities explored; ineffective effective deterrent due to high degree of urbanization.
o 1991 and beyond: Japan's Low-posture defense to project an image of benign trading state. Japan's Prosperity and economic security became enmeshed in global web of financial, production, and trading interdependencies. Nuclear weapons would be viewed with intense suspicion by regional states, potentially worsening security environment.
• Japan possesses a latent nuclear weapons capability and could go nuclear under the following conditions:
o A Worsening of security environment following a loosening of U.S. security commitment – unlikely in short and medium term.
o Power and prestige – unlikely, development of defensive technologies is more likely
o Rise of China as military power and threatening posture towards Japan – deterrent capabilities, nuclear weapons, or strengthening of relationship with U.S.
ARGENTINA AND BRAZIL
Thesis:Perceived utility of nuclear weapons changed when Argentina and Brazil resolved their territorial disputes; changes in domestic power structures accelerated and reinforced the process.
• Both states opposed the NPT because its discriminatory nature and its alleged negative impact on their independent nuclear energy programs.
• At the time they signed the NPT, both states (especially Argentina) were advanced enough to fabricate a small nuclear force quickly.
Argentina's Motive: to reverse Argentina’s decline; bring back the grandeur of the past. Competition with Brazil drove military component of nuclear program. Wanted military equality with Brazil and preponderance over Chile; prevent politico-military alliances. After 1982 and Falklands/Malvinas War they realized they could not take on Brazil and looked to them as more of a trading partner, not a threat – result policy of cooperation.
Brazil's Motive: Power and prestige and competition with Argentina. Robust military nuclear program in all services. Decided to give up program due to fear of provoking arms race with Argentina, Argentina’s lead in completing the fuel cycle – result policy of cooperation. Mutual recognition that economic integration would not be feasible if military competition continued. Non-nuclear through a bilateral process of agreements, inspections, and confidence building measures with little intervention/help from the U.S. or IAEA.
A simultaneous transition to democracy in the two countries increased the pace of cooperation.
Aid Encouraged Pro-Taliban Sympathies in Troubled Border Region
For More Information Contact: Barbara Elias: 202/994-7000 - email@example.com
Washington DC, August 14, 2007 - A collection of newly-declassified documents published today detail U.S. concern over Pakistan's relationship with the Taliban during the seven-year period leading up to 9-11. This new release comes just days after Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, acknowledged that, "There is no doubt Afghan militants are supported from Pakistan soil." While Musharraf admitted the Taliban were being sheltered in the lawless frontier border regions, the declassified U.S. documents released today clearly illustrate that the Taliban was directly funded, armed and advised by Islamabad itself.
Obtained under the Freedom of Information Act by the National Security Archive at George Washington University, the documents reflect U.S. apprehension about Islamabad's longstanding provision of direct aid and military support to the Taliban, including the use of Pakistani troops to train and fight alongside the Taliban inside Afghanistan. The records released today represent the most complete and comprehensive collection of declassified documentation to date on Pakistan's aid programs to the Taliban, illustrating Islamabad's firm commitment to a Taliban victory in Afghanistan.
These new documents also support and inform the findings of a recently-released CIA intelligence estimate characterizing Pakistan's tribal areas as a safe haven for al-Qaeda terrorists, and provide new details about the close relationship between Islamabad and the Taliban in the years prior to the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. Declassified State Department cables and U.S. intelligence reports describe the use of Taliban terrorist training areas in Afghanistan by Pakistani-supported militants in Kashmir, as well as Pakistan's covert effort to supply Pashtun troops from its tribal regions to the Taliban cause in Afghanistan--effectively forging and reinforcing Pashtun bonds across the border and consolidating the Taliban's severe form of Islam throughout Pakistan's frontier region.
Also published today are documents linking Harakat ul-Ansar, a militant Kashmiri group funded directly by the government of Pakistan, to terrorist training camps shared by Osama bin Laden in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.
Islamabad denies that it ever provided military support to the Taliban, but the newly-released documents report that in the weeks following the Taliban takeover of Kabul in 1996, Pakistan's intelligence agency was "supplying the Taliban forces with munitions, fuel, and food." Pakistan's Interservice Intelligence Directorate was "using a private sector transportation company to funnel supplies into Afghanistan and to the Taliban forces." Other documents also conclude that there has been an extensive and consistent history of "both military and financial assistance to the Taliban."
* August 1996: Pakistan Intelligence (ISID) "provides at least $30,000 - and possibly as much as $60,000 - per month" to the militant Kashmiri group Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA). Despite this aid, the group is reaching out to sponsors of international terrorism including Osama bin Laden for additional support, and may in the near future become a threat to Islamabad itself as well as U.S. interests. HUA contacts have hinted they "might undertake terrorist actions against civilian airliners." [Doc 10]
* October 1996: A National Security Agency document classified Top Secret SI, Umbra comments on recent Taliban military successes noting that even Pakistan "must harbour some concern" regarding the Taliban's impressive capture of Kabul, as such victory may diminish Pakistan's influence over the movement and produce a Taliban regime in Kabul with strong links to Pakistan's own Pashtuns. [Doc 14]
* October 1996: Although food supplies from Pakistan to the Taliban are conducted openly through Pakistan's intelligence agency, the ISID, "the munitions convoys depart Pakistan late in the evening hours and are concealed to reveal their true contents." [Doc 15]
* November 1996: Pakistan's Pashtun-based "Frontier Corps elements are utilized in command and control; training; and when necessary - combat" alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan. [Doc 17]
* March 1998: Al-Qaeda and Pakistan government-funded Harakat ul-Ansar (HUA) have been sharing terrorist training camps in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan for years [Link Doc 16], and HUA has increasingly been moving ideologically closer to al-Qaeda. The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad is growing increasingly concerned as Fazlur Rahman Khalil, a leader in Pakistan's Harakat ul-Ansar has signed Osama bin Laden's most recent fatwa promoting terrorist activities against U.S. interests. [Doc 26]
* September 1998 [Doc 31] and March 1999 [Doc 33]: The U.S. Department of State voices concern that Pakistan is not doing all it can to pressure the Taliban to surrender Osama bin Laden. "Pakistan has not been responsive to our requests that it use its full influence on the Taliban surrender of Bin Ladin." [Doc 33]
* September 2000: A cable cited in The 9/11 Commission Report notes that Pakistan's aid to the Taliban has reached "unprecedented" levels, including recent reports that Islamabad has possibly allowed the Taliban to use territory in Pakistan for military operations. Furthermore the U.S. has "seen reports that Pakistan is providing the Taliban with materiel, fuel, funding, technical assistance and military advisors." [Doc 34]
Here is a summary of a 2004 article, entitled "Standards of Evidence," about China's role in furthering Pakistan's nuclear capability....
Thesis: Despite legal requirements and tremendous rhetoric and finger waving the United States has repeatedly and consistently found ways around enforcing our legally mandated non-proliferation provisions.
Since 1960s Pakistan has endeavored to develop nuclear weapons. Their tests of 6 nuclear weapons in 1998 immediately following India’s test of 5 indicate a clear failure of US national policy regarding non-proliferation.
Following Pakistan’s defeat in 1971 Indo-Pakistani war and 1974 nuclear test by India, PRC began supporting Pakistan’s efforts to go nuclear.
Despite clear legal mandate to impose sanctions against those involved in any such proliferation, the US repeatedly ignored information and intelligence that would have led to sanctions against China and securing assistance to Pakistan.
Geopolitics would consistently trump nonproliferation concerns. In the 1980s during the Reagan administration it became commonplace to prioritize foreign policy concerns in Pakistan due to the ongoing Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Evidence has been shown that the Reagan administration may have deliberately misinterpreted facts to allow major military support for Pakistan despite numerous indicators of proliferation.
In an attempt to force action, the Pressler amendment of 1985 required the President to certify in writing that Pakistan does not possess a nuclear explosive device before any military aid could be provided.
The Reagan administration clearly prioritized anti communist concerns over anti-proliferation and continued to sign the certification allowing military aid to continue to Pakistan throughout his presidency despite evident progress in the nuclear arena.
In 1990, after Soviet troops had withdrawn from Afghanistan, President Bush refused to make the written certification required by Pressler and the US suspended its military assistance to Pakistan. However, Pakistan was still allowed to purchase munitions and spare parts needed for their military equipment.
Throughout the 1990s US policy officials turned a blind eye toward substantial Chinese assistance with missiles. Geoeconomics became the driving factor that superseded non proliferation. Pakistan obtained M-9 and M-11 missilie technology from China that gave them MRBM capability out to 600 kilometers.
Despite intelligence reports that China was involved in numerous inappropriate technology transfers no substantial actions were taken by the first Bush administration.
The Clinton administration frequently attacked President Bush for being soft on China, however, his administration quickly fell into a pattern similar to the Bush administration and China’s missile and technology transfers to Pakistan continued. The burden of proof in the transfers kept rising despite continued intelligence and evidence, “firm, conclusionary evidence” could not be confirmed so sanctions against China were not imposed.
Finally in 1996 intelligence officials reported they were virtually certain that improper missile transfers from China to Pakistan had occurred. Despite unanimous agreement, reports were toned down, China denied the transfers had occurred and no actions were taken. Clinton’s priority of engagement took priority over enforcing non proliferation.
Conclusions:Despite all the US posturing, statements and legal mandates to preclude proliferation of nuclear weapons, it basically occurred right under our noses with amle evidence presented and reported. The choices of each administration from Reagan to Clinton resulted in both India and Pakistan detonating nuclear weapons in 1998. It appears that had we enforced our mandates properly both these nations could have been precluded from becoming nuclear armed nations.