Did you know the cold war isn’t over?
No, in fact the secret swapping of intelligence and the black
market network it travels on is still dangerously alive today.
On Tuesday, Pakistani investigators concluded investigations
into two senior nuclear scientists who supplied Iran and Libya with
the intelligence and blueprints to manufacture equipment to enrich
Last November the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
reported the construction of a gas centrifuge plant by the Iranian
government, after opponents of the current Islamic government in
Iran revealed the highly guarded secret. It also placed much
international pressure on Iran to open its doors to nuclear
inspectors, which it did last month.
The inspectors have since been able to determine that Iran
received assistance from Pakistani scientists who provided
classified designs and components for uranium-processing gas
centrifuge machines. These complex centrifuges machines are
designed to extract small amounts of fissile material from natural
uranium by spinning it at supersonic speeds.
The fissile material extracted from the centrifuges becomes
enriched uranium, which is used as nuclear fuel for power plants.
It can also be transformed into a more concentrated form known as
highly enriched uranium, which can be used to build nuclear
According to the IAEA report, the centrifuge machines found in
Iran are covered with Pakistan’s fingerprints.
In the 1970s a Pakistani nuclear scientist, Abdul Qadeer Khan,
now known as the father of the Pakistan bomb and one of the
scientists suspected of selling top-secret nuclear information,
stole centrifuge designs from the British, Dutch and German
In the decades following, Khan studied the designs and made
modifications to them constructing the machines to be more stable.
The centrifuge technology found in Iran recently has the same
modifications and capitalizes on the same technology found in
Khan’s designs, and at times even uses old, castoff parts from
outdated Pakistani centrifuge machines.
Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf is investigating Khan
and Mohammed Farooq, a senior scientist and high-ranking manager of
Pakistan’s nuclear weapons laboratory, for trading the nation’s
nuclear secrets for money.
The investigation has determined that real estate holdings along
with millions of dollars were transferred to bank accounts
controlled by the two scientists around the same time Iran was
gaining its nuclear technology.
Khan, who is a national hero among all ideological political
parties in Pakistan, most likely sold top-secret nuclear technology
to Libya and possibly to North Korea also, making himself and
Pakistan one of the world’s leading nuclear proliferators.
Musharraf, who hit politically unstable times after Sept. 11,
2001, has been put into a difficult political position. The Bush
administration has been increasingly reliant on Pakistan to aid in
the war on terror.
It is believed that Osama Bin Laden continues to trek back and
forth between the Pakistan and Afghanistan borders, putting the
administration in desperate need of Pakistan’s help if they want
any chance of capturing him.
Musharraf has been pro-America recently, in hopes of gaining
political favor with Washington and acquiring international aid.
Islamic hard-liners have rallied against Musharraf in defense of
the scientists however, believing that Musharraf is pandering to
the Bush administration and in turn making the scientists a
These opponents believe the Pakistani government directed the
scientists in the late ’80s and early ’90s, before Musharraf took
office in 1999 after a bloodless coup, to sell the technology.
The protestors are probably correct in believing the Pakistani
government had every intention of selling nuclear technology to
other nations 15 years ago.
However, the fat bank accounts and extensive real estate
holdings of the scientists, almost all of which are not located in
Pakistan, give credence to the Musharraf government’s investigation
and probable indictment of the nuclear scientists.
The cold war has been a fading remnant of an era the world
outgrew and left behind almost 20 years ago. Sept. 11, brought an
awakening to United States, pushing the American agencies away from
cold war operations and has restructured intelligence tactics for a
new type of threat. But is the cold war really over, and is America
really safe from the threats many believe are outdated?
The IAEA has strong evidence supporting the belief that North
Korea leapfrogged many technological hurdles by buying intelligence
from Pakistani scientists. Many in America believe that North
Korea, who does not hide their developing and testing of nuclear
weapons taking place today, is the biggest threat to our
At the very least, North Korea’s nuclear prowess is a major
global concern to the countries of eastern Asia, mainly South Korea
and Japan. If North Korea continues to develop nuclear capability
Japan might begin arguing that it must also go nuclear to protect
itself against the other nuclear powers in the unstable region.
If this occurs, then China, North Korea, India, Pakistan, Russia
and Japan would all have nuclear weapons pointed at each other.
Soon, the uneasiness of the situation would lead to mounting
threats among each country.
It is unlikely that any of them would ever actually use a
nuclear weapon on the others, for fear they would be hit relatively
soon afterward. This paradox has a name – mutually assured
It is highly unlikely a shot will ever be fired, but everyone is
still arming themselves just in case. Wow, all of this sounds
eerily familiar. Who exactly was it that said the cold war was
Jason Kosena is the assistance campus editor for The Collegian.
He is a senior majoring in technical journalism.